Getting started as an Junior IT Recruiter
After a recent interview where Dominika and Inez compared models for working with a recruitment agency, we at itMatch decided it was worth continuing the series. In today's article, we will ask Wiktoria Gers about her memories and tips for getting started in this industry. After all, you have to know that her journey in recruitment began less than a year ago!
Valentyna Martyniuk: What was your path towards this profession?
Wiktoria Gers: It started rather unusually, because I can say that recruitment itself found me. I like working with people and somewhat accidentally came across the HR thread on the Internet. Of course, the decision to choose this occupation was not spontaneous, as it was preceded by reading books and branch blogs. Before I started looking for a job in recruitment, I appeared at several events. Mentoring was also very important - I came across a person who has been associated with recruitment for many years and gave me really valuable tips.
Valentyna: What about the information technology itself? Have you had any contact with the IT industry before?
Wiktoria: I have never worked in companies related to technology development before, but it has always interested me. While meeting the environment of recruiters, I also learned a lot about the IT industry, but by far I gained the most from onboarding at itMatch and in my first weeks on the job. Beginning recruiters without any knowledge of the most popular technologies and programming languages will face many difficulties, but it is possible to start from scratch.
Is working in a recruitment agency for me?
Valentyna: And what made you decide to apply for the offers related to IT recruitment? What are the requirements for young recruiters?
Wiktoria: I think the diversity of the industry and contact with people finally convinced me. I am communicative and learn quickly, and these are very useful qualities for this type of work. This also matched with the requirements that are placed on candidates for recruiters. Many employers don't focus too much on technical skills or knowledge of particular tools, because these are things that can be easily acquired. Much more important is the ability to communicate efficiently, foreign language skills, good time organization and negotiation capabilities. I can't deny that while recruiting for itMatch, I was a bit surprised by two tasks. The first one tested the way I plan my workday, while the second one aimed to determine my thinking and logic of decision-making. I think it's the soft skills that are the most important, but without English at B2 or preferably C1 level, the chances of getting hired are very low.
Valentyna: Did you have doubts about your choice when you started working as a Junior IT Recruiter?
Wiktoria: I wouldn't describe it as doubts, but the beginnings were sometimes stressful, by the way, I still feel it sometimes. Right after the internal training and onboarding, I was directed to the Wroclaw branch of Ocado, one of our clients, and very soon I started contacting the first candidates. Of course, I am supported nearly all the time by more experienced teammates who can advise me if problems arise. Nevertheless, this is support instead of taking over, so I learned practically everything on the fly. I think that if doubts are to arise in someone, it is at the stage of the first training at a new employer or during interviews, because they require quite a lot of determination from candidates.
Valentyna: You mentioned your mentor, who significantly helped you in taking your first steps. Could you say more about the role of networking and connecting with people in your professional development?
Wiktoria: Networking is certainly very important. On my favorite recruiting blog I read the phrase "Want to become a recruiter? Surround yourself with recruiters!" and I think it's definitely accurate. Industry events not only allow me to meet new and very interesting people, but also motivate me to work. Someone will tell me about interesting tools or practices used, someone else will inspire me with how they have optimized their work. If a beginning recruiter is looking for employment, it's also worth showing up at such places, because you can find really interesting offers, including internships. I met my mentor at the networking event!
Valentyna: What about the people on your team and the company you currently work for?
Wiktoria: I'm a junior recruiter, and as I mentioned, I often receive support from others on the team I work in. At itMatch, we have a strong feedback culture, both to candidates and colleagues. It's very helpful, because when I make a mistake, others not only point it out, but help me prepare a solution, and when I achieve successes, my co-workers notice it too. This is undoubtedly motivating. When it comes to the client's employees, I meet with a very positive attitude and willingness to cooperate.
Valentyna: Does your age and less work experience affect your interaction with candidates? How do you evaluate it?
Wiktoria: I think there are pros and cons of this. As the youngest member of my team, I have the best sense of social media trends, which comes in handy, especially for branding activities for the client. The IT industry is dominated by young people, so I have no difficulty finding my way in this environment.
Which skills to focus on?
Valentyna: Would you like to reveal what skills you are currently developing? What would you recommend to people who are taking their first steps in recruitment?
Wiktoria: At the moment I'm focusing on improving my language skills. I'm attending an English for business course, and I think it's useful for practically everyone. I'm also focusing on communication skills; after all, you can always write slightly better messages to candidates, speak in a more persuasive way, or simply build better relationships with people at work. Early on in my recruiting adventure, I learned that being comfortable with people is not enough. Not all candidates are communicative, they have vastly different characters, and sometimes it is necessary to direct the conversation to very specific areas. Mistakes also happen, and you need to be able to get out of them quickly. Such skills seem obvious, after all, practically every CV will find "communicativeness," but in practice it's not so good.
Valentyna: And speaking of specific activities or courses that you should take before applying for job offers?
Wiktoria: In addition to the languages I mentioned, I would suggest learning to organize your day. It is impossible to work as a recruiter without this, especially at the beginning. If you are a visual learner, it will be very useful to note down your schedule with colors, some people find the Eisenhower matrix helpful. Many employers pay attention to organizational skills, that's why it's worth taking care about it. It's unlikely there are courses to teach this, but you can use everyday life and college studies to practice, if one is still educating. In terms of social skills, it certainly helps to have experience in other jobs, and when applying for a junior recruiter position, it's worth including this in your resume. The key is to adequately "sell" your skills and experience, even if you think it won't be enough for a potential employer.
Valentyna: The technology industry has been entering a recession for several months, so the job market has clearly slowed down. Have you felt these changes when looking for a job?
Wiktoria: Although I haven't felt the market slowdown, but from what I've noticed, entry-level recruiters actually have trouble finding jobs. When I applied to various companies, the lack of response was certainly disappointing, but unfortunately, you have to go through it. Statistics show that up to 90 resumes are submitted per offer, and seven people are invited to interviews. Of course, for each industry these numbers will look a little different, but there is no denying that the competition is high. That is why you need to be persistent and apply to multiple companies.
Valentyna: And when the job offers run out?
Wiktoria: Most junior recruiters look for jobs on 2 or 3 popular websites, where, by the way, many offers overlap. To increase your chances, it's a good idea to approach your job search in a non-standard way. Make use of Facebook groups, ask your friends and go to job fairs. Search skills, by the way, are key in the recruiting profession. It's good training!
Working in recruitment is a great adventure. If you are just starting out in this industry, there are bound to be failures and stress, but this is a natural part of any recruiter's career path, regardless of the chosen specialty. Are you interested in working in a profession that is growing all the time? Read our other articles, share this post and follow our social media profiles!