The 5 Best Qualities of Top IT Recruiters
Simpsons character Helen Lovejoy is right. A lot of chatter about software developers’ best qualities, recruiting processes, and HR in general…
But nobody thinks of the poor recruiters who spend their time and energy on finding the most talented programmers!
So, in today’s article, we’re going to give them the attention they deserve.
Who are they? What do they do? But above all, what are the essential characteristics of an excellent IT recruiter? This is our finest selection:
- Technical expertise
- Community participation
The role of an IT recruiter
IT recruiters, as you might expect, are basically recruiters who specialize in information technology.
Captain Obvious vibes detected.
The responsibilities of an IT recruiter are not unlike those of their colleagues in other fields: they involve finding and contacting potential candidates, organizing interviews, and selecting the most promising talents.
In-house vs freelance and agency recruiters
Recruiters can work for a single company as “in-house” professionals, or operate for multiple clients as independents or members of recruiting agencies.
Larger and more prominent companies tend to hire one or more full-time in-house recruiters, who will work closely with the HR department and guide candidates through the recruitment process.
These professionals are required to be competent in a wide range of technologies and roles, having to select employees for numerous company positions. They also must have a clear understanding of their company’s needs and culture in order to operate properly.
The bad side of internal recruiters is that they should face various administrative and routine tasks, which usually slow down the acquisition of new skills and career growth in general. On the other hand, they can enjoy a fixed salary and relative economic stability.
Freelancers and agencies
Anyone who works as a freelance professional or for a recruiting agency enjoys much more flexibility and control over their career. By working for many clients on different projects, these recruiters gain experience quickly and this often results in rapid career advancement.
Such advantage is maximized by working in an agency rather than as a “pure” independent, thanks to the support of more experienced colleagues.
At the same time, however, this kind of job is known to be much more stressful. The pace is tighter and the earnings, although potentially greater than operating in-house, could be less stable as they are mainly based on commissions.
Another flaw is the lower relevance of these recruiters in the final hiring decision. In fact, freelance and agency recruiters are only marginally involved in the interview stage and can only offer suggestions, while the final decision rests with HR managers.
What you need to be a cool IT recruiter
Whether you are in the first or second category, being a good IT recruiter requires some fundamental qualities, certainly technical but first of all human.
Let’s talk about them in detail!
This concept is so trivial that I didn’t plan on adding it to the list.
But yesterday I heard an interviewer dismiss a (not too good) English-speaking applicant in Zoom with something like “at this point, it’s not even worth continuing the conversation”.
So let’s face it clearly. The first requirement of an excellent IT recruiter is a high level of professionalism.
Ps: it was not our company
Ps 2: what an a ** hole
Recruiters are the company’s business card
Recruiters should always maintain professional and impeccable behavior because they are the IT company’s ambassadors and represent the first point of contact between their team and the candidates.
And you know… the first impression is crucial. You may not want to recruit a candidate now, but you also don’t want that person to go around complaining about their experience with your company.
You could even need him/her in a different moment or for a different role. Right?
Dealing with people and behaving appropriately is not just a matter of professionalism. Or at least it shouldn’t. It also involves a good dose of empathy.
This quality is essential for at least two reasons. The first and most utilitarian is that it allows us to understand who is sitting in front of us.
What does the candidate think and feel? What makes him feel more comfortable about him?
This can give us useful insights to decide how the interview will flow and to understand if we have found the right person for our company.
Be kind to candidates
The second reason is that an empathic recruiter will be able to put himself or herself in the candidates’ shoes, be more understanding and treat them with respect even (and especially) when we have to dismiss them.
We are all humans and we’ll never know if someone just had a bad day, is severely underqualified for the role, or is simply a sociopath… like many developers.
As mentioned earlier, If you turn down a candidate rudely, he could badmouth and ruin the reputation of your company.
He might even be a serial killer and “have you for dinner”. So don’t make him angry.
In addition to not mistreating poor candidates during the interview, it would also be nice not to show up two hours late for lack of organization and punctuality.
Organizational skills may be considered as a complementary quality to professionality. Being organized means having excellent planning and management skills, such as arriving on time for appointments but above all arriving well prepared.
A great recruiter will always be in control of the interview, with a lineup of questions ready in advance but also the ability to improvise and manage the flow of the conversation.
Possibly without breaking the rhythm by checking notes on the laptop every five seconds.
Improving recruiting performance with data
The organizational skills of a good IT recruiter don’t just show up in interviews but in every aspect of their job, from the targeting process to more administrative tasks.
An important role in recruiting planning is played by data. Knowing how to leverage data ensures precious insights and improves the performance of well-organized recruiters.
For example … Did you know that the best day to send candidates a coding test if you want to minimize their turnaround time is Tuesday?
That’s probably because such tests are quite demanding and time-consuming. Therefore, many developers prefer to complete them before the weekend.
4. Technical expertise
It doesn’t matter what role you play in the great IT game. Every professional will not only deal with people but also with software, AI, and many other cool techs.
This implies that basic knowledge of current technologies is, although not the most important, at least one of the fundamental characteristics of a good recruiter.
Didn’t we already mention that professional recruiters should be well prepared and ready to answer applicants’ questions, including those coming from software engineers?
Well, the first step to do that is by having a reasonable familiarity with the fundamentals of IT.
I said “reasonable familiarity”, not “omniscience”
Of course, recruiters are not expected to know every technical aspect in detail. Senior developers who routinely assist HR managers during interviews will handle that.
Still, showing that you know what you’re talking about and projecting an image of competence and professionalism will benefit your company’s reputation.
Not to mention the fact that knowledge of IT (especially AI) will help you collect data and boost your performance.
We recently published an article regarding the contribution of artificial intelligence to human resources management. Check it out!
5. Community participation
IT technologies evolve rapidly, as you may have noticed from all the money you spend on new smartphones.
Wanna know the best way for an IT recruiter to be constantly updated on the latest advancements, other than reading thousands of specialistic articles online?
It’s easy. Be involved in the software engineering community!
Playing an active role means organizing or joining workshops, hackathons, and expos, cultivating relationships with influential members within the community, and taking care of your professional network in general, both virtually and in person.
OK, more virtually than in person … at least until this pandemic nightmare is over.
The social approach to recruiting talent
This highly social approach pays off not only in terms of technical skills but also through an increase in opportunities to find potential new recruits.
With the rise of tools like Linkedin and other social media, we tend to downplay the importance of other recruiting methods. This is a very bad mistake.
It is true that social networks can be actually efficient. According to Jobvite Report 2016, “the overwhelming majority (87%) of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process, especially those under 45 (90%)”.
But connecting directly to talents overwhelmed by job offers through “authentic” human relationships often allows you to skip the queue.
The role of IT recruiters is something that should never be underestimated. When candidates apply for an open position at your company, the first face they see and the first hand they shake is likely the recruiter’s one.
Considering that first impressions are critical to a company’s reputation, it is essential to leave such responsibility in the hands of highly skilled and knowledgeable recruiters.
Just as it is essential to rely on them for the selection of talented developers, who will largely determine the success or failure of your business.
After all, it’s a matter of soft skills
In addition to technical knowledge, these tasks require empathy, intuition, sensitivity, and many other human qualities known as “soft skills”.
Good recruiters will need them to fulfill their duty, which is basically to deal with people.
And not just normal people, but nerds and techie guys, the worst categories EVER!