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Ancient Recruitment

Ancient Recruitment

​This short piece by us at Found is about Ancient Recruitment – we don’t mean the ancient methods of recruitment many still utilise (although we can talk about this at length too 😊!), but rather the actual recruitment millennia ago and it’s role in the geopolitics of the past.

We all know about recruitment nowadays…the messages, phone calls and various marketing strategies to attract your attention to a particular position or company out there. While recruitment is something traditionally associated with modern times and jobs, the essential concept has been in play all the way back to ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

Ancient Egypt

The earliest recruitment practices described in sources date as far back as 2686 B.C. in Egypt, otherwise known as the Old Kingdom. Most professions in Ancient Egypt were hereditary and passed down through certain families and dynasties, however the military roles were not.

By 1550 B.C. recruitment was a formal requirement for Pharaohs as described by the reign of Amenemhat II from Memphis. One thing that brought this change was the insufficient quality and quantity of military talent, sounds familiar today doesn’t it?

Ancient Greece

The Greek states had their fair share of conflict, and many of the smaller ones had to rely on Mercenaries to defend their interests and territory. As you can imagine, a supply of capable warriors was an absolute priority for Greek leaders and recruitment agents were sent out with significant sums of money to go and find the necessary forces, even if they weren’t of Greek origin.

In time, demand for mercenaries in most parts of Greece became so great that some started integrating them into their societies, granting large parcels of land to compensate for the transactional nature of their relationship.

Ancient Rome

We have all heard of Gaius Julius Caesar, his triumphs, visits to Cleopatra and his bold political moves. However, one thing that may surprise you is that his administration was responsible for some of the first Job Descriptions out there. When preparing for the Gallic Wars, Caesar realised the invasion could be too ambitious for the size of his legions, and failure of any kind would be detrimental to his image and political career back in Rome.

He came up with a wide-spread recruitment strategy, utilising veterans and others well-acquainted with the military life, to recruit troops for which he paid 300 sestertii per new soldier. His administration issued each of those agents a job description with concrete requirements such as: “unwavering discipline and patriotism” and “being able to walk 20 miles a day with armour and weapons on”. It could be argued it was a very successful and popular move, the man was met with a triumph at the end of the Gallic Wars.

For us, the interesting (and refreshing) take from this is seeing how the concept of recruitment, in both plan and execution, has been on the mind of great leaders for pretty much as far as records go back. So whilst the industry has a somewhat mixed reputation these days, the very essence of what we do was started and has been shaped for thousands of years. Cool, right?

Jan Tegze – Full-stack Recruiter: The Ultimate Edition (2020)
History of Recruitment – Raghav Singh -,a%20high%20level%20of%20organization

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