PrincePerelson & Associates

The History and Evolution of the Recruitment Industry

Believe it or not, employee recruitment as we know it today originated as a product of World War II. It came about from the gaps in the workplace that resulted from the call for men to join the war efforts. A lot of vacancies emerged in the workplace, which gave birth to staffing agencies. There followed a mad scramble to hire the men and women who were not called into military service in a desperate need to fill the vacancies left by departing soldiers. Even after the war ended, professional job recruiters continued to find work for the returning soldiers.


During the following decade, a new practice emerged: the creation of resumes that showed the applicants’ profiles and skills. Staffing companies at this stage became even more focused on efficiently linking qualified applicants with the right jobs. There were a number of limitations, though, including the fact that recruiters had to work through newspaper ads. Applying and hiring were very cumbersome at this stage because applicants had to submit their typewritten resumes by hand or mail, and recruiters had to keep track of a slew of non-digital resumes.

Computers and the Internet

The entry of computers into the workplace drastically altered the staffing process by introducing software such as the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and applicant databases. This made storing and searching through application files a lot easier and quicker.

The introduction of the World Wide Web further revolutionized the recruiting process. While recruitment before was localized, the internet allowed for placement firms to look for candidates on a global scale. Different websites and social media platforms gave staffing agencies a wide reach, allowing them to find the best candidates from around the globe.

The emerging technologies transformed recruitment agencies into tech-savvy companies that rely on the latest technology to recruit the best candidate for any position in a company. Companies could call on administrative assistant recruiters, executive search firms, and more. Using their big databases, recruiters can connect employees with employers in limited time and with greater skill than ever before.

It’s a great, new world for job applicants who can apply for employment in their robes and slippers from the comfort of home. No more traipsing around from business to business with resume in hand. People can submit their resume online through the job sections of companies, to recruitment agencies, or through various social media platforms.

Recruiters of days gone by would find today’s processes to be downright wondrous. With all of the technology and resources in place, the entire hiring process can now be completed in a matter of days, including background checks. It’s an exciting time to be looking for an employee or a job.