IT recruiters are in high demand with increasing opportunities in the industry. Get a competitive edge with these five essential IT recruitment skills.
In late 2009, Meebo co-founder Elaine Wherry set up a “recruiter honeypot” using a fake online persona named Pete London. In the hopes of hiring a great recruiter to fill engineering vacancies at her company, she wanted to test how recruiters would interact with a fictitious engineer.
The problem was, every single response disappointed her. From boilerplate emails to white lies and conflicts of interest, Wherry was so dissatisfied that she ended up not selecting any of the 382 recruiters in the hiring process. Instead, she simply hired more engineers as hiring managers and asked them to start recruiting “on the side.”
This is the exact type of outcome you want to avoid if you’re an IT recruiter. Luckily, it is more than possible to achieve success on the job once you’ve mastered the right techniques.
What Is an IT Recruiter?
If you’ve just started your recruiting career, you may be wondering if the IT niche is worth pursuing.
An IT recruiter, or technical recruiter, specializes in information technology (IT) and other tech-related fields. Many recruiters are independent professionals or work for recruitment agencies. Others work “in house” at a single company.
Like other recruiters, an IT recruiter’s responsibilities include finding and screening qualified candidates, arranging interviews, and acting as a liaison between companies and prospective employees. Ultimately, recruiters are responsible for finding a good fit for an open position.
What Are Some Important IT Recruitment Skills?
Most recruiters aren’t experts in the nitty-gritty of tech, but they should have at least a basic knowledge of current technologies. It’s also ideal for IT recruiters to have well-developed soft skills. Recruiters spend much of their day dealing with people, so being personable, empathetic, and open-minded is essential. Here are some crucial skills for IT recruiters:
1. A Willingness to Learn
In IT, stagnation isn’t an option. According to Michael Clegg, CEO and Managing Partner at Q Works Group, “the ability to learn is critical [as an IT recruiter] due to the fast-changing technologies.” You’ll need to keep up with the latest developments in the field, or risk being left behind by competitors.
2. Persistence and Determination
Chris Beazley, director of the IT recruitment firm Edison Hill, reminds recruitment rookies that “it's never a done deal until someone is sitting in that seat, so persistence and commitment are essential.” As a recruiter, you’ll need to follow up politely but persistently, and you should be able to quickly pivot if things aren’t working out as planned. These skills are especially essential in the highly competitive tech world, where 81% of professional developers are already employed full time (according to Stack Overflow’s 2021 developer survey).
Nadya Kanarieva, Global Technology Recruiter and Founder at Phoenix Career, cites patience as a desired quality in IT recruiters. “You need to invest the time in really familiarizing yourself with the technological areas you will be recruiting in: the popular IT solutions and skills in the sector, the major players, the market dynamics, the terminology used by industry insiders … [and] the latest industry developments.”
4. Organizational Skills
Like recruiters in any field, IT recruiters should have an organized process. This includes targeting suitable candidates, creating a specific and enticing job description, looking for talent in the right places, and ensuring that screening and interviews are effective.
Data offers some interesting insights to help you optimize your recruitment process. By making some small changes, you may be able to improve your results. For one, DevSkiller Top IT Skills Report 2022 shows that you’ll get the fastest response time if you send candidates a coding test on a Wednesday. This might be because such tests are labor intensive, and many developers prefer to finish them before the weekend.
Another tip is to think creatively to find hidden talent. An estimated 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates, so recruiters who look elsewhere will have an advantage. By checking GitHub, partnering with local universities, or using talent networks, IT recruiters can reach candidates who are less likely to already be saturated with offers.
5. Communication and Relationship-building Skills
One of the main takeaways from Elaine Wherry’s Pete London experiment was the failure of many recruiters to develop genuine relationships with candidates. Most of the messages that the fake engineer received were generic or looked similar to one another. The ones that stood out were tailored to Pete’s interests and skill set, highlighting the offer’s benefits to him and his career by using the second person (“you”).
For effective IT recruiting, building relationships with clients is also important. Claire Williams, former Technical Recruiting Manager at The Phoenix Group, suggests using great listening and communication skills, and taking the time to understand each client’s needs and culture. “Each client has a unique environment. A good IT recruiter ‘gets it’ early on that it is way more than a tech skill set that companies are looking for—they want candidates that share their passion and vision.”
Improve Your IT Recruitment Skills For Successful IT Hiring
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% job growth for computer and IT occupations between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the average for all other occupations. By taking the time to improve your IT recruiting skills and build your career, you can position yourself as an expert in this profession.