A look back at what has changed since the origin of First Interview

  By Bob Werrbach  |    Wednesday October 14, 2020

Category: Productivity, Recruiting


First and foremost, First Interview is a split network focused in the Sales and Marketing arena. Membership is composed of Independent Recruiters that in most cases work nationally and often find it timely to partner with others to fill their client’s needs. 

The Network’s focus is in a number of areas, anywhere a client company would have a outside sales force. Specialties that we encompass are; Technology, Medical, Industrial, Pharma, B2B, Services etc.

Originally, the network was founded and driven by Job Orders, where an individual recruiter had the Job Order and either did not have the geographic experience where the candidate was needed or simply did not have the time and was willing to split the fee to meet the client’s needs. Today, the network has migrated to being both job and candidate driven. With a number of tools to help all recruiter in the sales and marketing areas with their specific needs.

In our 40+ years we have seen significant changes in the recruiting industry. Such as a number of economic highs and lows. We have seen the tools used to attract candidates migrate form Newspaper Ads to LinkedIn. Watched the fax machine come and go only to be replaced by the Internet, email and texting. It has been a great ride. So, what do we see looking into the future?

Often the past is a great source of information on what is going to happen in the future. In the world of Sales and Marketing, we are somewhat different than the operations that are based in the “Home Office”.  First of all, Sales often drives revenue and therefore is usually one of the first areas to have personal added in growth period and one of the last to experience cuts when the economy is moving towards a recession. This has always been a great help in forecasting what our business model will be looking forward, if we simply watch what client companies are doing with other departments in their business model. One area we watch very closely is venture capital, when money is available, we see new technology enter the marketplace and that is always healthy. Medicine and Technology are two markets to watch very closely for this trend. This is always a great time as we see a number of new client companies develop and most need to market and sell their products, which results in a number of opportunities. Several years after this market starts, we often see a transition that leads to mergers and acquisitions. This is simply were the big get bigger.  When we see the market move in this direction it often can be very complex, with any corporate sale or merger there is a restructuring which can be a recruiter’s best friend form a growth standpoint or result in the end of a relationship as the client company makes management changes. Often during this phase, we see HR get much more involved in the hiring process. The involvement of HR in many cases is somewhat less impacting to field employees as the hiring manager is also in the field which in many cases allows them more flexibility. Within the HR budget the cost of recruiting is the single largest budget issue and often when budgets are a factor, we see the control of the field hiring process shift to HR. In many cases this action is the first sign that change is coming. It can be specific to that client or it can be because of subtle shifts beginning in the economy.

Over the years we have seen the market shift many times from a client driven market to a candidate driven market. These changes have often been directly tied to demand as driven by the economy. That was almost always the case, but during the past decade we have seen a shift where it changed to a candidate’s driven market. This change has not been economically driven. But simply driven by the fact there are less candidates in the market. There are several reasons for these changes all leading to a dynamic that may not change for years. Some of the factors that have contributed. There are not as many potential candidates joining the workforce as there are not as many students graduating from high school or college as there where is the past. In fact, there are not as many freshmen enrolling in college as a decade ago. Candidates today weigh changing jobs based on a number of factors today. In years past a change was most often driven by potential income and upward mobility. Today the family dynamic plays a significant part in deciding to make a change. Insurance, retirement packages, expenses, auto allowances, travel etc. all are key components that are taken under consideration. In many cases it simply comes down to what you know versus what you don’t know, and many are comfortable simply staying where they are. 

As far as what is the current situation and looking forward, the pandemic is something we have not experienced so this road is not charted. During these tough times some areas have boomed, and others have simply been suspended. In fact, some clients are adding head count at moderate levels as they service markets in demand in these strange times. Overall, many client companies are now finding that they have to move forward and sales and marketing positions are once again being seen as priority.

Since our inception there have been a number of different tools introduced into the recruiting process to find candidate. Example; decades ago, a recruiter or client company would often run a local newspaper ad for candidates. Technology caused that to change with the entrance of Job Boards, and then, specialty Job Boards. Much like the big box retailers the Job Board effectiveness changed as well with the creation of LinkedIn. It has become the largest database of potential candidates worldwide. It was/is amazing to see how many recruiters made this option their primary research tool in finding candidates. It did not take long for both LinkedIn and the client companies to realize that they could cut out the recruiter and now we see that many client companies and recruiters are all fishing in the same LinkedIn pool of candidates. The real winner has been LinkedIn as their prices have increased significantly over the past 5 years. They say if you stick around long enough you will see all things come back around. In this case, for many recruiters to have value helping clients find that hard to find superstar they are now forced to source candidates the way it was done decades ago. This is much more time consuming and therefore costs more, but it truly has been an interesting dynamic.

For the independent sales and marketing recruiter many can provide all the services a client company will require. This is based on a consistent and steady flow of opportunities. That is the catch there is no steady flow, what most see, is nothing but peaks and valleys in the volume of work and that is why First Interview has been around for five decades to help the independent meet the client’s needs in a timely fashion.

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