If some of the comments weren’t so politically incorrect, online forums that foster exchanges among information technology job seekers would be rife with more of the ugly truths about staffing agencies specialized in IT recruiting and the things that IT recruiters do that annoy candidates and employers.
Let’s start with the way IT recruiters handle resumes and how they present top candidates to employers. Some IT job candidates have resumes that are about as engaging as schematic drawings are for a social worker. IT professionals’ resumes contain every operating system, application, language, hardware, framework, tool, widget – and, if that’s not enough, an alphabet-soup list of certifications. Why? Because “exacting” and “detail-focused” are qualities that define highly sought-after IT professionals who don’t want some obscure talent they left off their resume to mean they don’t get the job.
That said, IT staffing firms would be easier for candidates and employers to work with if the recruiter simply prepared a condensed version to overlay the candidate’s own resume when they present candidates to employers. The reason many IT recruiters don’t construct an easy-to-digest summary is because IT recruiters typically don’t know the first thing about what IT professionals really do. Many of them couldn’t tell you the differences between a core java developer vs. a java flex developer, or explain what Ruby on Rails is, if their jobs depended on it. Good thing they don’t, but herein lies the perfect segue into our thoughts about an IT recruiter’s wheelhouse.
Knowledge is Power
Recruiters that specialize in IT usually have not actually been in information technology roles or have extensively studied IT duties. To be minimally competent, recruiters specializing in IT ought to know the difference between architecture and infrastructure, or the importance of a legacy system in system modification or data conversation. Some are unfamiliar with qualifications an IT candidate needs to manage SaaS cloud computing versus NaaS cloud service. Absent this level of expertise, it’s impossible for the IT recruiter to pre-qualify the best candidates – he’s merely forwarding a list of qualifications and not performing any kind of assessment or evaluation as a middleman hired to present the best candidates. If IT departments and IT staffing agency clients simply wanted to collect resumes, they can do that in-house without the expense of hiring an IT recruiter or staffing firm. Or, they could hire a cheaper, non-specialized staffing agency that warehouses resumes and that’s all.
Qualifications are just part of the equation, however. Education and, in some cases, certifications are just as critical to identifying the best IT candidates. But, finding an IT professional who really fits the workplace culture is a challenge that a run-of-the-mill IT recruiter or IT staffing firm struggles with. As an employer, you need someone whose ramp-up time is minimal because the prospective IT employee’s professional ethics and goals align with your business philosophy and mission. That means you need an IT professional who “gets” your organizational culture – you deserve an IT staffing agency that understands your organizational culture so you can make your selection among the best-qualified candidates.
The dynamics of U.S. workplace culture are vastly different from our offshore counterparts. Despite Thomas “The-World-is-Flat” Friedman’s prolific arguments for offshoring and global connectivity, an IT department in Sao Paulo, Brazil, just isn’t the same as an IT firm in Mountain View, California. An IT recruiting firm in Raleigh, North Carolina, can differ from one in Palo Alto, California. Likewise, an IT staffing agency on this side – 8,000 miles west – of the Arabian Sea is more likely to produce candidates who aren’t thrilled at the prospect of being vetted by an information technology worker in a developing country who doesn’t know jack about U.S. organizational culture.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.