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Back to the Future!


Recruitment in the 1980’s..Seems to be such a long time ago. No computers, no internet, no social media.

Myself and Ian Walker have seen some extra-ordinary changes in the way recruitment of specialist Engineers has been carried out over the years.

The 1980’s was all about advertising, filing cabinets and the strength of each agencies own database. You truly did know your contacts and you really got to know your candidates well.

Selling advertising campaigns was very important to securing the best candidates and gaining commitment from clients to find and secure the talent that they needed. It was all about associating with the right recruiting firm and the prestigious firm that you were recruiting exclusively for.

Remember that an advert of any acceptable size in the Daily Telegraph or another specialist publication could be as expensive as £4,000 - £10,000+  and as a consultant you were often retained by the client on a 3rd payment basis after the client had paid for the advert as well.

You often tried to run the advertisements in a campaign over different publications or as a specific theme with interviewing days at hotel locations.

If you could secure advertising from a client it often resulted in a mountain of paper CV's to look through on the following Monday from adverts run on Thursday and Sunday in many cases .

This was your talent pool to fill the job but it also created your own unique database, different from your competitors (there were no job boards in those days).

We can remember the first job boards which we presumed would never catch on... the first fax machines never mind the first computers and email. How will this work?

The pace of recruiting was still as frenetic in the 80’s but you had time to recruit usually six weeks from start to finish of a campaign or receiving a job, often but not always exclusively with your own candidates.

We as recruiters still had declines, candidates not arriving at interview and people not starting jobs but as consultants it was a much more satisfying experience than the job is today.

Making money was just as important. However image and the professional image were as important to success, candidates would want to be on your recruitment books and be represented by you and your recruitment company. They would also expect to be interviewed by a recruitment business no matter at what level the job was for, altogether much better for all parties.

However times move on technology and even the pace of life has accelerated at an incredible pace ,however knowledge and service levels still remain fundamental to good recruitment and a good recruitment partnership with candidates and clients is still very important  and is still at the core of Technical Networks approach to doing business with both candidates and clients

This was a trip down memory lane for me and Ian but experience and expertise in your chosen field of recruitment can be worth a lot to both candidates and clients alike.

Written by Peter Bradford


Peter Bradford and Ian Walker can offer over 30 years each of recruitment knowledge we look for to hearing from you soon.

To speak with Pete or Ian or any of our other consultants please call 0121 450 5020.


Technical Network Recruitment Ltd:
117 Hagley Road
Birmingham B16 8LB
Tel: +44 (0)121 450 5020
Fax: +44 (0)121 450 5021

Our Recruitment Partners:
Part of the Pertemps Network Group

Call 0121 450 5020
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