How to Become an IT Recruiter
An information technology (IT) recruiter specializes in hiring individuals to fill information technology positions in a variety of industries. The recruiter may fill either permanent positions or temporary, project-based jobs. These recruiters will seek job candidates who have the specific skills the employer wants, such as programming skills or technical expertise. Usually, the recruiter is an independent contractor who finds prospective employees for client companies, rather than being an in-house employee.
IT recruiters may work on attracting applicants passively, or may actively reach out to some prospective employees individually, perhaps through schools or programming boot camps. In either case, once an individual expresses interest and enters the application process, recruiters screen the candidate for the client company's job requirements and qualifications, as well as checking to ensure a good fit with company culture.
If the candidate passes the initial stage of assessment, the recruiter arranges interviews between the job candidate and key staff within the client company. After the decision is made to offer the position to the candidate, the recruiter explains the compensation package the company is offering and helps navigate any negotiation over salary and other benefits.
The IT recruiter acts as a liaison between the client company and the job candidates throughout the entire recruitment process and is compensated by the hiring employer either directly or indirectly. Recruiters who are not employees of the company itself may either work for recruiting firms that are hired by client companies, in which case payment comes through the recruiting firm according to its own compensation policies, or they may be individual consultants who work on a contract basis directly with the company.
Information technology recruiters work to fill both in-house and contract jobs. They may specialize in one type of position or type of candidate, or they might be generalists who can do it all. Most have acquired the technical expertise and knowledge to fully understand the nature of the jobs they are hiring for. To evaluate an IT candidate properly, a recruiter needs his or her own information technology skills.
A college education is a minimum requirement. Most IT recruiters have bachelor's degrees, and a smaller percentage have master's degrees, although such advanced degrees are rarely required. What you major in isn't necessarily important, although a technical major, or at least related coursework, might give you an edge down the road.
A LinkedIn survey found that the most common majors of recruiters, in general, fell somewhere in a spectrum from psychology to political science, to business. That same survey also found that most recruiters started out in some other field and then switched to IT recruiting. Many started out in sales, but other initial jobs included research, operations, and administrative positions.
The path from that first job to IT recruiting often involves picking up the necessary skills on the job in other fields or through a personal interest. Many such skills are not technical. For example, soft skills are very important in recruiting, because you need to both read potential candidates for a good cultural fit and entice candidates to work for the company you represent.
The most important soft skills include a strong social aptitude, the ability to communicate effectively, relationship building, and top-notch organization. But, as mentioned before you will need some level of technical knowledge in the area you are recruiting for so that you can talk the talk with job prospects, answer their questions, and determine whether their particular qualifications match what the employer is looking for.
Jobs Marketed by IT Recruiters
Information technology recruiters find qualified candidates for a wide variety of jobs. Some examples include technology deployment, IT asset management, cloud computing, security systems, network design and integration, network maintenance, end-user services, communications technology and applications for business analysis, reporting, and data science.