Twenty Years in Recruitment!

Wow, where has the time gone, in 2019 I celebrated 20 years in recruitment. They say time flies when you are having fun, and it has been a rollercoaster of a ride in the recruitment world. Although there are many changes in the environment, including a recession, the recruitment industry has transformed significantly since I first began just before the Millennium in 1999. The landscape of recruitment has improved considerably with revolutions in technology, communication, the recruitment process and a much busier market in general with new competitors, modifications in company legislation as well as the shortage in the supply of talent.

So, let me give you a few insights into my journey so far.


Twenty years ago, coming from the Accountancy field, a profession that was technical and hard, the opinion was that recruitment was a much softer industry to enter. I quickly realised this was not the case! Recruitment is dealing daily with people’s lives and helping them with their career choices to find work that will motivate them and drive them forward. As well as supporting businesses with their recruitment needs to get the very best talent in the market to meet their strategic goals. We are dealing with humans, and as a recruiter, it is paramount we must always have the best interests of all parties at heart.

Client Led V Candidate led

Over the years the recruitment market has altered. Previously, it has been very much a client-led market where businesses could choose which candidates they would like to offer too. Now, it is pretty much a candidate-led market due to the diversity of careers in the market and the lack of investment from businesses in accountancy training, and a shortage of high-calibre candidates within the finance field. The sought-after candidates are also assessing firms to see if it is the right type of company they would like to work. They will negotiate better terms before accepting an offer and may have multiple offers and counteroffers from their existing employer.


Being a recruiter back then was completely different from modern-day recruitment. For starters, there were no computers or internet, just a phone, fax machine and use of the postal service. The process may have been longwinded and slow; it did, however, give us (recruiters) the time between receiving a vacancy, sourcing and speaking to suitable candidates and then posting or faxing the best CVs to the client. While the client was reviewing the CVs, we factored in the time to get on with other aspects of recruitment such as business development, client engagement and account management. Nowadays, the recruitment process is more instantaneous, with some expectation of finding a suitable candidate in a relatively short period.  Rarely, is this the case, most of the time, an ideal person takes time as we utilise several sourcing techniques to ensure we get the right person for the right job at the right time. I always favour time over urgency to get the right solution for all.

Communication – Multi modes

The modern recruitment consultant has to be super-efficient and is busier than ever before. Today, the connection comes in from all directions. With online methods such as social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook), job boards as well as our database to source suitable candidates.  Previously, communication between client and recruiter was either phone calls or face to face meets.


The Data Protection Act of 1998 has just become law, as I entered into recruitment in 1999.  Although Data Protection has always been within the recruitment industry, the new legislation of GDPR 2018 alters how businesses can handle the data of their customers. It also boosts the rights of individuals and gives them more control over their data. The modern recruiter is more conscious and very mindful on the use of personal data and what details are necessary.


At the turn of the century, the barriers to entry into the recruitment market were very high. With high set up costs. There were only a handful of recruitment agencies, 4-5 large companies and a handful of smaller independent businesses. With transformations in technology and the lowering of entry costs, the market is quite saturated with approximately 85 financial recruiters in just the West Midlands alone. With many recruitment companies to choose from, the differential tends to be price.  However, I am a firm believer getting the best individual for the role and providing an exceptional quality of service is more important.

Although there has been plenty of variations in recruitment in the past 20 years, recruitment fundamentally has not altered. Recruiters still require a full understanding of the needs and vision for the business they are recruiting for — equally the drivers and motivators of the candidate to ensure that both parties are happy. People still want to find fulfilling careers and feel valued within their role. Clients wish to access the best candidates on the market and want to see a demonstration of their skills and contribute to creating a positive team environment as well as growing their business.

I hope that you have enjoyed my insights on the variations in recruitment in the past twenty years. I am very excited to see how the recruitment landscape and processes will adjust in the next 20 years with AI and more analytics. Here at Athwal Resourcing, we believe in human-to-human relationships. As it was 20 years ago and will continue to be, after all, we deal with people daily, and we have the candidates and client’s best interests at heart.

A heartfelt “thank you” to all the hiring managers, candidates and collaboration of recruiters that I have worked with over the years, here’s to the future!