The history of recruitment is as old as human settlement. Ever since man settled down, domesticated animals and built permanent shelters, we have been in the business of assigning specialized tasks 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 to any soldier that brought another soldier into the Army with a bonus of 300 sestertii. Aren’t you amazed that this was the first employee referral program?
Romans were in that senses where the first known recruiters who had a structured reward based recruitment process. They are also having similar problems as we have today in recruitment. Since Romans needed people in large numbers on a regular basis as turnover of people were high people of casualties on the battlefield. Romans created a lot of Recruitment Practices what we still in direct or indirect ways use.
Romans recruitment standards were very high and had a precise Job description like the candidate must be a Roman citizen must be capable of walking 20 miles with weapons. Because of dangerous and hazardous work culture, not many people were keen to join the army. Roman Army recruitment teams were to travel across the country to do walk-in interviews and headhunting to find right candidates.
Later on, Roman army promoted Equal Employment opportunity for people and removed the class structure and also started developing its employer brand with a golden eagle which was the logo of the military. Even today it is relevant when companies develop their brand.
Since it was not possible to hire enough skilled people by Romans, they started hiring people on a temporary basis from Germany, Arabia, Armenia, etc.; they were used more as backup candidates for the Roman army.
Around 50 B.C loyalty of the soldier moved from Rome bureaucrats to Army commanders who made the whole recruitment process smooth as the commanders could hire locally and that made recruitment faster.
Even our ancient Scriptures have mention of recruitment or hiring at many places. Recruitment has been one of the oldest ways in which humanity engaged with various individual and communities for mutual work objectives.
Interestingly, World’s first recruitment agency was started by Henry Robinson in the year 1653. After this historical event, it led to creating a whole new industry which we know today as Recruitment Industry which is now 400+ years old. Who would have imagined that this move can create an industry worth 500+ Billion Dollar?