The history of recruitment & executive search

By Cristina Caramizaru, Senior Talent Adviser @Amrop Romania

We are called different names in our industry – recruiters, headhunters, consultants, advisors, HR people etc. Beyond these tags, I believe we are simply storytellers, specialized in telling mostly professional stories, about brave companies and executives that develop, improve and finally bring us….well….choice, I think – in products and services, in lifestyle, beliefs. I believe that the Recruitment and Executive Search job, if it is done well, connects people through stories, and bridges experiences which finally impact us all. It’s a privilege for me to be part of this industry, because if you stay long enough in it, you start seeing how everything connects – not only businesses, but finally you start understanding how people connect everything in this world.

Having spoken with many people in my work, I have noticed that many do not understand the mechanisms of this business and the benefits it brings to all parties involved (directly and indirectly). So, I have recently started to explore the history of Recruitment and Executive Search and discovered many interesting facts about both formal and informal recruitment forms across the continents. Like a miniseries, I will share my findings here, with the hope of bringing more understanding about this wonderful profession.

So here it goes!

It seems that the oldest forms of CVs date back to ancient Rome and were ‘written’ on rock and wooden tablets, having engraved information of what a person worked on (like a listing of a person’s professional details).

Another form of early recruitment dates back to Imperial China, c. 1500 B.C. during the Han dynasty, in the form of ‘Imperial Exams’ for the recruitment of civil service candidates.

In the Roman empire, only citizens coming from the top social class were entitled to be recruited into the army. By the end of the Social War (87B.C.), as the recruitment needs for soldiers increased considerably, most of the free men in Italy were entitled to enroll, finally extending to the entire Roman world.

In more recent history, linking recruitment again with war, one of the most well-known recruitment campaigns was Uncle Sam’s calling the best in America for enrolling in the army during WW2. As youngsters joined the army in droves, the available workforce for arms and ammunition production dropped significantly. This crisis was solved by the development of the first recruitment agencies that came forward to help, by sourcing people through job boards, print media, interviews and skills assessment, and guiding people towards a certain set of employers. Because of the reduction of available males in the workforce, those early recruitment agencies approached mostly women, helping them to obtain jobs which were not previously available to them.

The recruitment industry developed even more after the war ended – while the veterans returned, having no jobs, the recruitment agencies asked them to create CVs, sharing details of their skills and experiences. These resumés were than shared with industries across the state/region, based on their needs. Thus, recruitment agencies became an ideal bridge between candidates and companies/industries.

And that was only the beginning of an industry which is now worth 200+ billion EUR worldwide, with 12+ billion EUR of that in Executive Search.

Stay tuned for more stories about Recruitment and Executive Search!

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About Amrop

Amrop is Market Leader in Executive Search & HR Advisory since 2017 in Romania. Amrop is also one of the world's largest Executive Search firms & Leadership Services solutions provider. Amrop Romania helps you build your business by finding the "Leaders For What's Next" - top talent adept at working across borders, in markets around the world. Provided services are: Executive Search, Leadership Assessment & Team Effectiveness workshops and Boardroom Consulting. Amrop covers all industries, especially: Consumer Goods & Retail, Life Sciences, Technology & Media, Automotive & Industrial, Financial Services, Family Business, Energy and Defence.