We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the IT sector sees recruiters as a necessary evil. In our blog series investigating the state of recruitment within the industry, we shared the key issues brought to bear by thought leaders, identified in our industry survey, which we supported with pragmatic solutions to facilitate better relationships and recruitment processes. The blogs covered the challenges facing IT recruitment around new hires and graduates, infrastructure and specialist recruitment. What we did not draw attention to however, was candidates’ perspectives about recruiters – and the things they hate.

To be fair, it’s less about what technical candidates hate and more about what they want when it comes to the process of job-hunting. This in itself is a misnomer, because when it comes to skilled engineers, designers and other sector-talent, current scarcity dictates that it’s more about the process of headhunting.

1. Parlez-vous Techie?

Recruiters, and indeed HR professionals, need a precise skill set when it comes to the recruitment of anyone with a technical background including how to speak jargon. While this is not just about understanding the sector’s language, it’s also having a grasp of the candidate’s particular focus and abilities and being able to distinguish between a programmer and a designer. In addition, not all engineers were created equal, so recruiters will have to be able to navigate the landscape of acronyms. When it comes to SQL, ASP, C# or SVR, there is a world of difference and not recognising this not only wastes everyone’s time and effort, but also highlights a company’s failure to understand its own technical requirements.

2. Keep it Personal

It’s not just about the job specifications and the candidate’s skill set. It’s personal, therefore recruiters need to understand the candidate’s needs beyond their CV. When approaching a potential candidate the recruiter’s gambit should be tailored to that person both on a professional and personal level. Front-end the pitch with direct questions about how the candidate likes to work, what they require to manage their family situation, and what aspects of the company culture appeals to them.

Individualising all outreach to candidates negates the washout factor that results when highly-niched specialists receive a generic LinkedIn INmail message or email. Why should a talented individual take the time to respond to this bland approach? Apart from it demonstrating that they were not identified as a good fit for either the job or the company, being the rare talent that he or she is, it’s likely that they are well connected with their cohorts, who no doubt received the same spam-like communication.

3. Size Doesn’t Matter

Just because a company is big, it doesn’t mean it’s better at attracting technical candidates. Smaller companies, especially start-ups, tend to be at the cutting-edge when it comes to innovative technology and, by their very nature, can offer unique challenges for the technically-minded to solve. Mid-level and senior techies often complain that they don’t always get considered as a candidate by SMEs, yet the kind of stimulating environment these companies can offer is exactly what they are looking for at this stage of their career.

Mid-career candidates often become stale in large corporations that perhaps were fledgling firms at the time they started their careers. These global brands can often be hindered by turbidity when it comes to innovation and growth, so are not able to offer the opportunities and energy of smaller firms.

We are not suggesting that solving the challenges faced in IT recruitment is as easy as 1-2-3, but we are mindful that specialist recruitment needs cannot be addressed by a generalist approach. Outsourcing to RPOs such as Omni will ensure that the bespoke skills required to headhunt scarce talent is available to in-house recruiters. But if recruitment process outsourcing is not an option, then follow these suggestions as provided from the experts.