If you’re a follower of PSCI on social media or have read either of our latest newsletters (the IT Industry Rundown or the Consultant Connection) then you know this month/year marks a significant milestone for PSCI. As has been mentioned in those spaces, we are in the midst of celebrating our 25th anniversary!
So in honor of our silver anniversary, we thought it might be a fun exercise to look back through the years to see how the IT landscape has changed over that time – and how we’ve changed/adapted with it. As you move through our list, there’s one common theme you’ll continue to notice – the speed at which the tech industry now moves (hint: it’s fast).
Let’s take a look:
Identifying Candidates – Top technical talent doesn’t grow on trees. In today’s landscape, you oftentimes need to exhaust all of your resources (job boards, LinkedIn connections, referrals, internal databases, etc.) to find that diamond in the rough. And you need to do it quickly because the advent of new technology has enabled the process to speed up.
Back in the day, however, the techniques used to find that talent were drastically different. For starters, the internet (more specifically, the World Wide Web) was still in its infancy, so finding candidates there wasn’t an option. What did exist, though, were newspapers and job fairs.
Once a firm like ours received a job requirement, they would place an ad in the newspaper. For this region the go-to paper was The Philadelphia Inquirer, whose Sunday edition would run a comprehensive list of open jobs in their classified ads section. To have your job posted, you’d need to contact the paper by 5pm Thursday afternoon (via mail, phone or fax) and dictate to them how you’d like your ad to read. This could be a costly venture, however, so you needed to be concise with your wording – unlike today where you can post whatever you want, wherever you want (social media), for free or at a minimal expense. Then you’d wait for the responses (resumes) to come filing in by either mail or fax.
The other avenue to find candidates was through job fairs. While these still exist today, and are great ways to find and meet candidates, they used to be much more heavily relied upon. PSCI used to make our presence known at job fairs at least once a quarter. We’d set up shop for the length of the event (usually 1-2 days) and speak with hundreds if not thousands of job seekers. By keeping a consistent presence at these events we were able to grow our list of contacts (consultants) exponentially.
Communication – Speaking with candidates and deciding whether or not they’re a fit for a position is more or less the same today as it was twenty years ago – once you’re able to get somebody on the phone that is. Today, everyone has a cell phone and email address that they routinely communicate through. Twenty plus years ago, however, only a select few had access to a mobile phone or even a car phone. So those weren’t the numbers you’d find on a resume – it’d be their home numbers. That means most conversations with candidates would take place before or after work hours and many times on weekends. While we still communicate with our candidates during those times, the advent of email has made it much easier and quicker to communicate during regular working hours.
The Interview Process – Most clients still prefer to meet candidates face-to-face, and a face-to-face interview is still the same process today as it was twenty-five years ago. What we do see more of today, however, is phone interviews (made possible with mobile phones) and video interviews. This has resulted in an increase of non-local candidates interviewing for positions – something that was more of a rarity back in the 90’s.
Identifying Clients – It was a challenge then and it remains a challenge now. When our company was founded, we very much relied upon our known contacts and referrals to identify potential clients – and that’s remained true even to this day. When those avenues ran dry, however, we would rely on lists purchased from vendors. One particular publication, Red Book, would provide us with local companies who employed IT departments and they’d list the high-level decision makers along with their contact information (name, title, phone number). Most phone numbers, however, would not be direct lines so you’d have to sell yourself first to the administrative assistant in order to be patched through to the manager.
Today, avenues exist that allow you to do much of that research on your own (namely LinkedIn). There are also other companies that provide a similar service to Red Book such as DiscoverOrg.com which make available to you complete organizational charts. The main difference, however, is that along with the contact’s name, title and company number, also comes their email address – the all-important direct line to your contact.
Our Promise – So while much has changed over the past quarter century, there’s one promise we’ve held true throughout all these years, and that’s our promise to always deliver qualified candidates for your organization’s needs. Never have we and never will we submit a candidate that hasn’t been properly vetted by our highly trained staff. While today’s technology allows us to do it more quickly, it’ll hold true that we will never sacrifice quality for the sake of speed.