2) Know Your Product and Your Industry

Unfortunately it is the very success of this sector that has also contributed to the industry’s downfall on certain occasions. When IT recruitment is this buoyant it tends to attract thousands of wannabe consultants who see the job as just another lucrative sales role. But regardless of whether the market is a candidate-driven market like the one we see today (i.e. a market where companies are seeking out new and hard-to-find talent, and the candidates are the ones holding the power) or a client-driven market (where the jobs are thin on the ground and the candidates are battling it out for each vacancy), HR and IT staff still want to interact with someone who knows what they are talking about when they discuss their CVs and job specs. Traditionally the old crutch of “I’m not technical, I just source the CVs for you…” was always a nice fall-back position for the consultant. But, as has always been the case, the minute a decision has to be made as to which supplier to go with, IT and HR think upon things carefully. Ask yourself this.

Who would you side with? The person who, although pleasant enough, seems to be more like a word-matching administrator type; or someone who seems to be truly passionate and enthused about the industry they are working in? It’s patently clear. There is no substitute for that special individual who can sit with an IT Manager and ask questions about their IT setup and have at least an inkling as to what the technologies do and how each role takes part in the delivery of the end result. So, when they come across someone who actually seems credible. Who loves the industry and is tapped into newsletters and newsgroups about their IT vertical. Someone who seems to know the broader landscape of IT, and sounds as if she can engage with candidates and really sell the job with passion and enthusiasm. It’s as if they are hearing an angel sing!

3) Don’t be afraid to become an expert

Lack of knowledge about your product leads to insecurity in conversation and all effort is then aimed at skirting around the critical things to be discussed, and you desperately try to turn the conversation around to soft skills and where they went on their holidays. Conversely, an understanding of the product, the roles, and the industry means that you are happy to dive deeper in order to get a better understanding of the client’s need and get to the true source of the client’s pain. You are more likely to understand the reason for the requirement, and will be better at knowing which elements to focus on. You will also be more confident in qualifying in your own mind whether or not this vacancy is worth spending your valuable time on.

Don’t worry. If you’re worried about the IT terminology and roles aspect. It’s easier than you think. I’ll start you on the road to understanding that side of things with subsequent articles.

4) Fire on all six cylinders

As I always say on my training, this job is a multi-faceted one. Regardless of where you end up in years to come, in our out of the industry, you will acquire skills and build muscles that you will be able to bring to bear in so many areas of your life. But you need to know that recruitment is not one single skill. It is a combination of a few key attributes that, when working in harmony, can propel you forward. So here’s my IT recruitment engine. I could write an entire article on just this topic. Your job is to make sure your engine is firing on all six cylinders:

If you’re failing or finding the going rough, look at each of these and tweak where necessary.

That’s all for this session – but read the next article in the series to learn more.

Ayub Shaikh.