IT recruitment is a fast-paced, unpredictable career — and for those who are tech-savvy and have people skills, it's a dream job.
Do you possess impeccable communication skills and a commitment to understanding the needs of both the company and the candidate? Are you interested in the fast-growing (and lucrative) tech industry? Then IT recruitment could be the perfect role for you!
Read on for our full breakdown of what it takes to become an IT recruiter and whether you have the skills and attributes necessary to succeed in this unique career path.
What Is an IT Recruiter?
To better explain the role of an IT recruiter, we should start by explaining how recruitment works. It is sometimes confused with Human Resources (HR) as they are both involved in hiring new employees. However, there are some distinct differences between HR and recruiters.
Firstly, HR is more involved with employees beyond the hiring process. Their role is to motivate workers and ensure they are comfortable in their new environment.
On the other hand, recruiters are solely concerned with finding the best possible candidates for the role. They do this by sending emails, reaching out to specialists, conducting interviews, and handling a series of negotiations.
How Does an IT Recruiter Differ From a Regular Recruiter?
Fundamentally, an IT recruiter is distinctive from a general recruiter as they must have a firm understanding of everything related to information technology (IT). The reason is that their job is to hire people who are experts in that field. To know for sure that a candidate has the IT know-how necessary to benefit the company, you (as the recruiter) must also possess an extensive understanding of what IT involves.
Some key reasons why an IT recruiter must possess specialist knowledge include:
- They must frequently communicate with IT specialists, which requires an ability to keep up with their expertise.
- They must analyze the capabilities of candidates to ensure they have adequate skills to meet customer requirements in an IT capacity.
- They must conduct highly technical interviews with IT specialists to ascertain their competency and understand how they could benefit your business.
The job is far more diverse than these three examples, but these are critical elements to the role that all aspiring IT recruiters must prepare for when entering the field.
Without a keen understanding of IT, you could not possibly know what you are looking for in prospective candidates.
Is the Role of an IT Recruiter in Demand?
Yes. As the world grows increasingly reliant on technology, most companies must keep pace with the rapidly changing economy.
This business adaptability requires the distinct expertise of IT specialists in the many forms that they take. Given the complicated and diverse nature of jobs in IT, a company needs to know it is hiring the right person.
That's where IT recruiters come in to help steer businesses in the right direction. These specialized recruiters provide the critical reassurance to companies that they are hiring the right experts, fully capable of carrying out the business's technical needs. IT Recruiters can be both independent contractors or work in-house as part of a wider HR team. It entirely depends on the nature of the company and the turnover of their IT specialists.
What Are Some Key Responsibilities of an IT Recruiter?
We touched on this slightly above when we discussed why possessing extensive IT knowledge is essential to this role, but let's look at it in more detail.
Listed below are just some tasks you can expect to complete as part of your daily role as an IT Recruiter.
All recruitment roles require a large amount of research. Attracting applicants can be either a passive or active process. Both require a comprehensive vetting system, but the methods used to pursue those means can play out differently.
Active candidate research would require some investigation into the capabilities of the prospective candidate. It could involve utilizing networking sites such as LinkedIn or visiting the specialist's website (if applicable) to confirm their professional history and qualifications. The recruiter might also search for candidates through colleges or similar training institutions.
Passive candidate research is more common and relies upon the IT specialist sending in their application to be reviewed by the recruiter. It is the latter's role to evaluate whether the candidate's qualifications align with the company's expectations.
Once a recruiter has found an ideal candidate, it is time to reach out for an interview. The recruiter is not always a part of the interview itself, but they are responsible for the scheduling and time management. This includes timing, location, and who will be in attendance to interview the candidate.
The interviewing panel will usually consist of key staff from the company. It can include department managers and supervisors working closely with the IT specialist following their employment. Recruiters may also sometimes attend interviews, though this is not always the case.
Following a successful interview, the recruiter helps negotiate a contract with the prospective candidate. The contract should cover salary, duration of employment, expected responsibilities, and any further benefits the company may offer.
The recruiter is not responsible for deciding these benefits or terms. That is up to the company. Instead, a recruiter is needed to discuss the details of the employment contract and negotiate terms as necessary. The job terms usually follow the guidelines the company has already set.
Now that you understand what an IT recruiter is and their role, let's talk about what you may need to fulfill the role.
Qualifications for an IT Recruiter
There are many attributes required to work as a successful IT recruiter. Most of these relate to how you communicate with others and how you manage your time.
We have listed some important elements below to help you better understand what it takes to succeed in this role.
Let's start with the most obvious and potentially the biggest roadblock to your success as an IT recruiter if you don't have it: a college education. Due to how competitive and specialized this job role is, a college education is a must in most instances, if only to increase your earning potential. If you have worked your way up through the company, there may be exceptions, but a degree is a huge benefit.
The good news is, it doesn't particularly matter what your major was. As long as you have a degree, you will be looked on favorably by employers. Of course, a technical major or coursework relating to IT would be beneficial, but it isn't an absolute must-have.
Strong People Skills
If you have your college degree, you already have your foot in the door. Now you need to make sure you have the people skills to back it up. IT recruiters talk to people day-in, day-out. Not only are you in frequent communication, but you also need to judge a candidate's character exceptionally quickly.
The ability to think on your feet is especially vital when considering how a candidate may fit into the company's existing culture. Possessing the knowledge and efficiency to complete their role is one thing, but how will they work in a team? You need to ask the right questions and pick up on the right signals to ensure you don't accidentally recruit the wrong candidate.
A Discerning Eye
Working as a recruiter could be perfect for you if you can see what most others can't, especially in social situations. You'll need to quickly (and accurately) discern information from someone in relatively little time. This information should include how they react under stress, how confident they are within their field, and how well they work with others.
Think about a job interview. In most cases, they last between thirty and sixty minutes. As a recruiter, you need to use every minute of that time to assess the candidate's fit for your company. That takes a level of social awareness some don't possess, but it is integral to the success of the recruitment process.
The relationship between IT recruiters and specialists can sometimes be tense. Due to the high demand, IT specialists are often inundated with requests from companies seeking their expertise. On the other side, IT recruiters are under pressure from their respective companies to find the perfect specialist fast. This demand inevitably leads to friction.
An ideal recruiter can temper these stresses and locate the middle-ground to satisfy both parties. If you think of yourself as a good mediator, you would probably make an excellent recruiter. There is more to this job than finding candidates; you also need to establish a strong connection with them. This is vital if you work as a freelance recruiter, as you will work as the bridge between the company and the candidate.
Solid Understanding of Information Technology
You don't need to be a qualified information technology specialist to succeed in IT recruitment. However, a strong comprehension of IT is enormously beneficial. It is almost impossible to truly discern the quality of a specialist if you, as the recruiter, don't understand their field. Without the proper preparation, you won't know whether a candidate genuinely excels in their craft or just has excellent interview skills. It is impossible for you to become an expert in all IT specialty fields, but cursory knowledge in many of them could greatly benefit you. It will allow you to more accurately uncover whether a candidate meets your company's requirements by asking precisely the right questions (and understanding the answers!)
The Ability to Work Without a Strict Routine
There is no defined beginning or end to the work of an IT recruiter. You work until your company has the candidate they want. The remote nature of recruiting for this job can also often occur across multiple time zones. It means, in terms of forming a schedule, you need to be open to plans changing and adapting to them.
If you are the kind of person who likes a set routine, this career path isn't necessarily for you. Flexibility and adaptability are a must.
Adept Listening Skills
Last but not at all least, the ability to listen effectively is imperative. This qualification could fall under “good people skills,” but we think it deserves its own section. Why? Because effective communication cannot rely solely on what you express; it must also rely on how receptive you are.
Building a rapport with specialists, negotiating employment contracts, and pairing a company with the perfect candidate all require receiving and retaining detailed information.
How to Become an IT Recruiter: Step-by-Step Guide
Knowing you are capable of the job is one thing, but finding work is a whole different situation. Thankfully, we're here to help.
Listed below is our step-by-step breakdown for becoming an IT recruiter, starting from the very beginning. Let's get into it.
Step 1: Obtain a Degree
This step should technically come before step one, as it isn't necessarily a requirement, but it is a huge benefit. As we mentioned before, you don't need a degree to work in IT recruitment, but it can improve your marketability. This is especially true if you have your degree in a technical field, business, or one that deals with personal relations (such as psychology or social care).
Some degrees to consider include information technology, business administration, human resources, communication, or psychology.
If you don't have a degree but still have your heart set on becoming an IT Recruiter, don't feel disheartened. It is still entirely possible, provided you use the proper channels.
Step 2: Develop Your Skills Outside of Education
Whether you have a degree or not, developing your professional experience is a huge plus. There are many ways you can achieve this. Whether through internships or an entry-level IT position, your marketability doesn't depend solely on your education.
You can learn a lot in the workplace, even if it's on a volunteer basis. Given how much IT recruitment requires practical communication skills, volunteering, internships, and work experience are enormously valuable.
Step 3: Develop Your Understanding of Recruitment
When most of us consider recruitment, we aren't necessarily thinking about it beyond the simple concept of someone finding a job. In reality, recruitment is a multi-faceted process that requires a myriad of skills.
If you want a career in recruitment, try to get hands-on experience recruiting people. It might not be for an IT job just yet, but test your skills in networking with people, talking to them, identifying their needs, and promoting an opportunity that gets people interested.
Also, research the technical side, such as median salaries for a given IT job, different types of background checks, and all the other practical components of recruiting.
Even if you initially test these skills with family and friends, it will ultimately help you in interviews. You can expertly demonstrate to the interviewer why you want this career and what you can bring to the table.
Step 4: Start Building Contacts
This stage is crucial if you plan to be a freelance IT recruiter. Networking is everything in self-employment. It keeps you booked and busy, in addition to cementing your place in the world of recruiting. The more you can prove to companies that you are the recruiter they need, the better.
How do you do this? Start looking up recruitment meet-ups and conferences in your local area. This experience can be invaluable. Even if you walk away with no new contacts, you will still have bolstered your understanding of the world of recruitment.
Step 5: Achieve Your First Recruitment Position
With education, experience, and exposure to the world of recruitment, you are sure to find your place in it all. You might start with an internship, but that's just the beginning. The possibility of working your way up is possible. If you feel nervous about taking the next step, take comfort in knowing everyone feels that way. You've got this!
Final Thoughts: Become an IT Recruiter
That concludes our guide on how to become an IT recruiter. Hopefully, you learned something helpful! The critical skills necessary for recruitment are effective communication and an ability to connect with your audience. If you have both of those down, then you're good to go!
At ScoutLogic, we know all about connecting with people. Our screening processes put the very best candidates forward for companies. If you are interested in learning more about what we do and how our screenings can help your recruitment process, don't hesitate to reach out via email or our website!