My first experience with recruiting came in the 1990's. It was my job to wrangle up some friends and get them to come work for a local catering outfit. $8-10 for them, and I wasn't paid, but it was social networking nonetheless.
My second experience was hiring employees for Abercrombie and Fitch. We'd bring in young folks in college (SLUH primarily), and those on break, and hire them to work because they had a certain look. There was actually a "look book" that was put out. It was my first experience with sexual harassment. When a really hot girl came in, all the male managers would interview her. And then of course there was the jean folding. They weren't bad guys - they were just young guys, and no one stood up to them. Truth is - many of the women liked it, which is why they dated the managers. Still - the hiring was interesting, because the brand was the best at the time. People worked at Abercrombie because it was cool. You made minimum wage, and had to buy the clothes, but people worked there because their employment branding was effective.
My third experience with recruiting was as a manager's assistant for a call center. I was the first level of interviews for an inbound sales team, and my filtering was horrible. Of course, so was the level of resumes. The company decided to pull people off the floor and use them to bring in resumes. They were incented with $10 a resume. After making thousands with no hires, they moved on. Turns out they were calling Apple Temp Staffing offices and asking them to fax over resumes. Easy money. That was my first experience with how incentive programs are useless if they aren't managed well. The resume scam was like a corporate version of the Sorceror's Apprentice, but the funny thing was it continued for two months after I reported it. No one I reported to cared - because it wasn't their budget.
And that was my first lesson in office politics.
What makes all of this interesting, at least to me, is how these practices are commonplace. Small businesses still look for friends and family to staff. Retail hiring is all about the brand and the look. And high-turnover jobs will always be subject to internal scams as managers seek to alleviate the hiring problem with a "system."
Understanding how this works is the first step to being a better recruiter, or manager.