Birth and Evolution of Recruitment Agency.

Birth and Evolution of Recruitment Agency.


During the outbreak of World War II, Recruitment as an Industry took birth because a huge number of soldiers were needed to be recruited. It was born to fill the vacancies created by the people who went to war. And once it was over they worked to find suitable work for the soldiers by re-skilling them. The world‘s first Recruitment Agency was started by Henry Robinson in the year 1653. This historical event led to the creation of a whole new industry which we know today as the Recruitment Industry.

With the Industrial Revolution of the early 1900‘s, …companies started having fully fledged Recruitment Departments because most of them were finding it difficult to hire large number of skilled people. It is quite difficult to believe that up until the 20th century, that is the past couple of thousand years, the structure and form of recruitment did not change much. Recruitment industry as we know it has only taken form after the Second World War. Recruitment in its current avatar only emerged when the American men left to join the army and the lack of talent available to fill in their positions sparked the creation of the structured recruitment agencies.

Recruiters started to contact people to fill in these positions, often employing women as well even in the factories, offices etc… When the soldiers came home after the war, the staffing companies were able to cash in on the utmost profitable positions that were now open for the skilled soldiers to retake. In the 1960-1970‘s, recruitment agencies started moving out of UK and to other locations in Europe to expand global operations. Till the late 1980‘s, the things were the same in terms of how recruiters operated and where they were majorly focused through telephone, fax, etc… We did not have email communication during those times. The only way to recruit people was through the conventional means of Advertisements given in newspapers.

Recruitment agencies steadily thrived and evolved into headhunting operations. Slowly, over the course of the next half a century, the recruiter’s focus shifted from the employees towards contacting better paying employers first. This is the phase where recruitment companies enjoyed a great amount of prosperity until the labour laws changed in the mid 1980‘s with the classification of jobs and the formation of labour unions. Sometime in the 1990‘s, the Internet boom created jobs for system analysts, programmers, coders and software and hardware engineers. With these new jobs coming up, the slow but steady trickle of online recruiters also emerged. Once the Internet boomed, job boards and aggregators cropped up – e.g. the monster board. This digital progress ushered in a new era of smart recruitment.

The period between 1990‘s till 2004 was of the Job Boards and Applicant Tracking Systems that had an objective to make the whole recruitment process much more effective. This was what gave rise to the phase of the early digital revolution where more and more companies started exploring and ventured online to post about job availabilities and search for appropriate candidates.

If you’re looking for more such information, feel free to go through Amit Sharma’s ‘Social Recruiters’ book. Amit Sharma has 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry. You can find his book on Amazon or on this site –



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