As an IT recruitment agency, we are often asked what makes a successful IT recruitment consultant. While there is some variation depending on the market sub-sector (software development, data, cyber security etc.) there are several key characteristics and traits which are common across the board.
When using an external IT recruitment consultant different employers may want to engage with them in different ways – from simply a source of CVs to a full advisory role. But regardless of the employer's preferred working relationship, a good IT recruitment consultant should earn their fee by adding value and expertise throughout the hiring process.
Ultimately, they need to deliver top technical talent. But that’s a given. This is what else you should expect from a good IT recruitment consultant:
Willingness to Spend Time Taking Your Brief
It takes time to fully understand an employer’s requirements and the nature of the role they are seeking to fill. A 10-minute phone call is not enough to get across the complexity of most IT jobs. A good IT recruitment consultant should spend at least half an hour building an understanding of what you are looking for and figuring out how they will sell your company to candidates.
This goes both ways. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to paint a detailed picture of the role for the recruitment consultant. How can they be expected to return suitable candidates if they don’t know what they are looking for? There are many great IT recruitment consultants out there, but none of them is mind readers.
The intricacies of fields such as cyber security, big data, and software development cannot be absorbed by a cursory glance at a few job descriptions. For positions that require specific skills and knowledge, life is easier when you work with a recruitment consultant that speaks your language. Regular agency consultants might not have the first clue about the factors separating an average software developer from a truly great one. As a result, their clients often end up swamped with unqualified or unsuitable CVs.
But with years of industry experience, specialist IT recruitment consultants can look at a candidate’s CV and intuitively determine whether they are a good fit for the company’s needs. This is of huge benefit to candidates and clients alike. Their time isn’t wasted by consistently poor employer/employee matching. Obviously, no recruitment consultant is going to openly admit their lack of market knowledge. But if they are asking odd questions (or no questions at all) this is an indicator that they don’t know what they are doing.
Emotional intelligence is vital to enable a recruitment consultant to do a good job assessing and influencing candidates on your behalf. Fundamentally recruitment is about people. And people have complicated and nuanced lives. This means tricky problems often arise during hiring processes. Recruitment consultants need to be able to weigh up these scenarios and respond in an appropriate way. If your IT recruitment consultant doesn’t seem to be ‘on the ball’ and comprehend the subtler aspects of what you are discussing with them, they may struggle to navigate problems that crop up during the hiring process.
Same Day Return of Calls and Emails
Occasionally this can’t happen for a good reason. But if your recruitment consultant is consistently unresponsive you should probably reconsider working with them. However, you should also ask yourself: is this them or me? If you seem to be one of the last things on your suppliers' priority list, is there a reason why that might be?
Direct and Honest Communication
In order to really delve into the role, your recruitment consultant should not be afraid of asking difficult questions. If there are aspects of the company, salary, job, or candidate spec that are a concern they should tell you tactfully. If your recruitment consultant never offers thoughts or input on the specifics of the role, it calls into question their understanding of the IT job market.
Your IT recruitment consultant is essentially an extension of your brand and company. So when working roles (particularly senior roles) it is important they represent you in a professional way whether that be through their spoken or written communication, appearance, or integrity.
Attention to Detail
Everyone makes typos now and again. But if email correspondence from your recruitment consultant is consistently littered with spelling mistakes or inaccurate information, how can you be sure they’ll get the time and address right when confirming an interview? Or when relaying the details of the job offer to the candidates. Furthermore, following on from the above point, it comes across to candidates as highly unprofessional.