History of Digital Recruitment

Let’s get digital – recruitment continues to change as technology improves.

By: Kaitlyn Humbert

Only 25 years after the introduction of the Internet, the Information Age has fizzled out and a new Age of Experience has taken over. During this span, individuals have incorporated technology into their everyday routine – whether that be during work, school, or free time. Everything you want to know is available at the click of a button or even a statement like “Ok Google.” The digital world has certainly shaped how things function, especially in job recruiting.


ATS and SaaS

Job automation became popularized in the 90s with the emergence of personal computers and simplified software. Among the most impactful software are applicant tracking systems (ATS), which TechCrunch claims to be the CRM of recruiting. An ATS automates the hiring and recruiting process through storing information through a database. Streamlining the application process eliminates time spent searching for the right candidate and diminishes administrative costs.


Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is as ubiquitous today for companies as McDonald’s at interstate exits. SaaS enables users to access information from a program through the internet, generally available through subscriptions. SaaS software can be stored on external servers, meaning the software doesn’t need to be installed. Customer relationship and vendor management systems are heavily impacted by SaaS, take Salesforce and Bullhorn for instance. Integrating SaaS software can be beneficial to most companies.


The pioneers and early adopters of these systems were Taleo, iCIMS, and Jobvite. These trailblazers shaped how companies track applications, interviews, and payroll today.


Networks and Job Aggregators

The early 2000s were a sensitive time for Americans. Disasters and war began to fall one after the other; 9/11, Iraq War, and Hurricane Katrina all shook the nation. In the business world, interconnectivity and accessibility were values that came about shortly after the dot-com boom. Companies surfaced online to compete in the fast-paced culture of the Internet. Networking became easier with sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Indeed and SimplyHired transformed the way businesses could source candidates and post opportunities.  



Recruitment has a rich history of its own, which we discussed in detail here. Job boards and aggregators simplified recruiters’ tasks and created larger databases to pull candidates from. Agencies were forced to either transform their processes or invest in companies to integrate into their platform. This shift allowed for a new system to emerge. Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) allows for an employer to transfer selected portions of their recruitment processes to an external service provider. The Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association described RPO as a “people-process-technology solution with an element of consultative work.” Companies like Sourceright and Cielo – formerly Pinstripe – have redefined what it means to recruit utilizing RPO.


Mergers and Acquisitions

Moving up and adapting to the landscape of the market is crucial for survival, especially in tech and recruitment. Numerous companies in recent years have decided to take the plunge into acquiring startups during this new wave of information:



– Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion

– Oracle acquired Netsuite for $9.3 billion

– Randstad bought out Monster for $429 million



– ZipRecruiter acquired JobBoard.io

CareerBuilder acquired by Apollo Global Management and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board



– Recruit Holdings Co. Ltd. acquired Glassdoor for $1.2 billion

Resume.com acquired by Indeed



The future of digital recruitment is one filled with acquisition, integration and specialization. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) have disrupted the recruiting industry. AI can reduce bias from interviews, simplify sourcing, and highlight better talent.


tilr’s unique algorithm advocates for the future of digital recruiting. We recognize that matching on titles and keywords doesn’t work, and that traditional search technology is broken. Check out more on why algorithms matter here.