The History of Recruitment is as old as the human settlement. Ever since man settled down, domesticated the animals and built permanent shelters, there have been instances where we, humans, have been in the business of assigning specialised tasks according to their skill set to our fellow human beings.
Early written records show that around 55 BC, Julius Caesar, the leader of the Roman Army signed a decree offering a generous reward of 30 sestertii to any soldier that brought another soldier into the Army. This was the first employee referral program that has ever been known. Romans were in that state of mind where the first known recruiters functioned by a structured, reward based recruitment process. Then, during those days, they were also having similar problems to the ones we have in today’s time in recruitment. The Romans needed people in large numbers on a regular basis because turnover of people – of soldiers in the army – as casualties in the battle field was extremely high. Romans created a lot of Recruitment Practices that we still use for recruiting in direct or in indirect ways.
The Romans’ recruitment standards were very high and had a very specific job description like – (i) the candidate must be a Roman citizen, (ii) he must be capable of walking 20 miles with weapons, etc… Because of the highly risky and often hazardous work culture, not many people were keen on joining the army. The Roman Army recruitment teams were to travel across the country to do walk – in interviews and head hunting to find the right candidates. Later on, the Roman army promoted Equal Employment opportunity for people and removed the class structure. The army also started promoting its employer brand with a golden eagle which was the logo of the army. Even today this practice of keeping a logo is relevant when the companies promote their brand.
Since the hire of enough skilled people by the Romans was not possible from Rome itself, they started hiring people on temporary basis from Germany, Arabia, Armenia etc… The people hired from these places were used more as backup candidates for the Roman army, than being used in the army itself. Around 50 BC, the loyalty of the soldiers was moved from the Roman bureaucrats to the Army commanders which made the whole recruitment process a smooth one as the commanders could hire locally. That also made the recruitment process comparatively faster.
Even our ancient Scriptures have the mention of recruitment or that of hiring at many places. Recruitment has been one of the oldest ways in which humanity engaged with various individuals and communities for mutual work objectives. The world’s first recruitment agency was started by Henry Robinson in the year 1653. After this historical event, it led to the creating of a whole new industry which we know today as the Recruitment Industry. The industry is now 400 + years old. Nobody would have imagined that the starting of a recruitment agency could create an industry worth 500 + Billion Dollars.
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 – www.amitsharma.net.