Is it necessary for a recruiter to be familiar with technology?
Many people considering starting a career in recruitment ask us whether an IT recruiter needs to know technology to get hired. By logic, it can't be other than that, but it's worth digging deeper into the topic and paying a little more attention. How does familiarity with technology impact recruitment results?
Is technological knowledge a must-have in a recruiter's job?
In general, it is possible to become a recruiter without deep knowledge of the technologies used by clients. Although such knowledge makes it much easier to get started in IT recruiting, many recruitment agencies do not require it, as this is information that is usually learn anyway during onboarding and the first few months in the workplace.
However, If we take into consideration recruiters who already have experience, the situation is completely different. While no one requires the ability to create or interpret code, familiarity with terms is crucial. Technology is constantly evolving and an increasing number of programmers specialize not in specific languages, but in their standards or frameworks. Without the ability to distinguish nuances, a recruiter will search for candidates blindly.
Small details, significant differences
While most external recruiting efforts focus on common programming positions such as Java, C#, and Python, an IT recruitment agency must also be prepared to fill specialized and niche roles. Candidates in the tech industry almost never apply on their own because they are either satisfied with their current position or receive multiple offers directly. The result is that the recruiters have a lot of work ahead of them before they reach the right people and get their interest in an offer.
In such cases, recruiters with more knowledge of the technology are more likely to succeed - first, they contact people who meet the client's technical requirements, and second, they ask more precise questions about those requirements or the role itself, so they can assess whether the candidate will be a good fit for the role.
Referring to my personal experience, I have to admit that my knowledge of technology came in most handy when I was recruiting for a Search Engineer position for one of our clients. Let's add that this is an extremely niche role - only a few people in Poland have it listed on their Linkedin profile. I was greatly helped in my search by the Hiring Manager employed by the organization, as he provided me with key information regarding the technologies and solutions used by his team. With this knowledge, we were able to find a person with the right qualifications who fit perfectly with the team's technical needs.
Another equally apt example would be the role of DevOps Engineer. Although many companies recruit specialists for this position, their requirements sometimes vary widely, sometimes to the point that the only common element in these offers is the role name. With knowledge of the specifics of the job, the tools used and the technology, the recruiter is able to find properly matched candidates even if their current job title is different. This makes us able to reach more people who meet the client's requirements.
With the right level of knowledge and understanding of technology, the IT recruiter also becomes a legitimate partner who understands the needs of both the Hiring Manager and the candidate and is able to connect both successfully.
A recruiter with tech knowledge is an effective recruiter
The technology labor market is not always friendly to recruiters and employers. While there are individuals who are actively seeking employment, it is still necessary in many cases to first convince the candidate of the company and the role. While soft skills and a well-constructed offer really allow us to achieve a lot, a real understanding of technology can give a recruiter a competitive edge.
Above all, our knowledge of technology makes it easier for us to talk to programmers.
We are able to talk comprehensively about the position and requirements, as well as answer potential questions from candidates. Knowing what we're talking about and knowing the technical nuances, we also conduct a more detailed pre-verification. In addition, we match the candidate to the role - if we know what the person does and it's not exactly what we were looking for we can offer another, more suitable position, even if we initially contacted the candidate for a different role. Knowing the technical details usually (but not always) also narrows the scope of the search, resulting in a smaller but more matched group of candidates. As a result, the recruiting team is able to conduct interviews in less time and get the right candidates to the client faster.
Your technical background will also help the client. By participating in the creation of an ad, you can help create a better job description or modify the name of the role to better reflect market trends. One word can significantly affect the attitude of candidates!
How should an IT recruiter learn about technology?
As you can easily see, knowing what technologies your company's customers use is very useful. The question remains - how to obtain such knowledge?
Networking and internal trainings
An extremely important part of a recruiter's job is to constantly evolve and follow market trends. Although recruiters directly employed by an IT company are in a much better position (they have daily contact with technical personnel, it's easier for them to understand the product and the technologies used in it), those working in recruitment agencies should also make sure that they receive proper training. Talking to your co-workers will also really gain you a lot - after all, each of us has separate experiences and can boast of having conducted an unusual or very niche recruitment. It is also a good practice to organize meetings where you can exchange experiences and knowledge gained. Who knows, maybe in your organization there is a passionate enthusiast of technological innovations who knows exactly when a new version of java is coming out and is willing to tell the rest of the team about it? "He who asks does not wander!"
Press and professional sites
The publishing market - both traditional and online - is abundant with resources related to technology in its broadest sense. If you're looking to quickly gain knowledge about programming languages, frameworks and technical nuances, spend a few hours browsing the web. No one expects you to be an expert - general knowledge counts! GlossaryTech, which we wrote about in an article titled Tools in the Work of an IT Recruiter, will also be invaluable.
Managers and technical staff
Don't be afraid to ask. If the client's representatives care about effective recruitment, they should be ready to provide you with all the necessary information. If you are unsure about an issue, asking them to be more specific is highly advisable. Many specialists in the fields in question also have knowledge of other technologies, and they won't be offended at all if you ask for a few details or for sources that will expand your knowledge. It's also a good idea to ask candidates during recruitment, from my own experience I know that they are eager to share their knowledge and can explain a very complicated issue with a simple example.
And what does this look like at itMatch?
At itMatch, we pay special attention to knowledge of technology, as well as the software development process. Each of our recruiters, when they join the organization, undergoes training on technology, which in total lasts more than a dozen hours.
In addition, when starting to recruit for a new role, we organize a brainstorming session, during which we break down the requirements into factors and try to understand as much as possible.Very often we approach technical people to get a better idea of the profile of the new position. Every recruitment starts with a kick-off where we gather all the information regarding the specifics of the role, the technologies the person will be working with, and the product they will be developing.
Thanks to this approach, we were able to successfully close the recruitment for such positions as Infrastructure Specialist, DevOps, Search Engineer, Design Ops Manager, Machine Learning Specialist, Data Scientist or MLOps.
Even though it may seem that detailed knowledge of technology is of little importance when working as an IT recruiter, it's worth constantly educating yourself to stay up to date with everything. This will make it easier for you to both interview candidates and work with clients yourself.
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