Kissing lots of frogs is no way to find your PrinceII – why specialist IT recruitment has the edge

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Adam Morrell
Adam Morrell CIPD, PRINCE II, is Head of Recruitment Operations at Access Talent Ltd. Adam is currently responsible for leading Programme and Project talent acquisition services. Access Talent specialises in IT recruitment across the UK, combining the search capability of a recruiter, with the selection skills of a subject matter expert- created by employers for employers, we think like you do to provide only the very best candidates.

Kissing lots of frogs is no way to find your PRINCEII

In many respects, the way a specialist IT recruitment firm will go about the business of securing the right talent will not differ greatly from mainstream recruitment agencies. They will use job boards and social media and a range of industry standard tools.

It is what happens beyond that ‘industry standard’ that gives most specialist IT recruiters the edge.

Rightly so.

IT and IT Project Management are niche endeavours. If you were the CIO of a bus company would you expect the same recruiter you use to find bus drivers to search and recruit drivers of transformational change through IT? Probably not. And yet many companies are using the same methods, the same agencies, the same tools …

Here are 7 Reasons Why Specialist IT Recruitment Has The Edge.

1 – Stronger More Focussed Talent Pool

Specialist recruiters keep in touch with top talent. If the best person for your role is in work elsewhere and not actively seeking a new opportunity they may miss your job ad. The best specialist IT recruitment firms keep a database of interviewed talent and maintain regular contact with them. They get to know how top talent works and where and how they fill fit into hiring organisations.

This gives you a more focused search.

When you hire a ‘one size fits all’ agency or use job boards or social media, you are invariably recruiting from a larger pool of potential interest than with a specialist recruitment partner. This may seem like a good thing; many IT professionals have brought transferrable skills from other sectors having seen a ‘scattered seed’ job post. However, when business strategy success is riding on effective project delivery, for example, you really have to be more targeted. As one CIO puts it, “Kissing lots of frogs is no way to find your Prince2.”

2 – Better Advertising

When a specialist IT or Project Management recruitment firm advertises for candidates its industry-specific knowledge comes to the fore. Whereas a more general recruiter may rely upon matches of general keywords leaving you with scores of CVs to review, your specialist partner should create bespoke ads that are specific to the role you are advertising. What’s more, they probably already have the right person for you on that extensive database.

3 – Fewer Candidates For You To Review But Candidates of A Higher Quality

Using a general recruiter for specialist IT roles can yield hundreds of candidates. Which sounds like great value until you have to review all the CVs and you find that the majority are not suitably matched to your role. Or worse, you hire the wrong person and then have to start the whole process from scratch six months down the line.

With a specialist recruiter, you will get fewer candidates’ CVs but they will all be perfect matches leaving to choose from the best of the best.

4 – Culture

The IT industry has its own culture. The IT Project Management sector has evolved its own culture within that and, if you drill deeper, your organisation has a different culture to that of your competitors. Understanding the nuances of these different cultures is key to finding the right candidate. General recruiters are less effective at achieving cultural matches. To be fair, a specialist IT Project Management recruiter would potentially be less effective at filling other general roles. Cultural alignment could be your best hope of retaining talent, more so for specialist roles like IT Project Management.

5 – Knowing Me, Knowing You

As well as better knowledge of what makes you tick, with industry specific knowledge comes a much better understanding of the needs of candidates. Think about this. Recruitment is a partnership – two parties both with needs that are met by the opportunity. Knowing the needs of the candidate is AS IMPORTANT as knowing the needs of your business. As a result of industry knowledge specialist recruiters achieve a consistently better match of candidate to specific jobs.

6 – More Personal

One inevitable side benefit of a recruitment partner getting to know you well is that, usually, you will have one constant contact with whom you can build a tangible, honest relationship.

When you call up and talk to the same person you hit the ground running each time. When a call centre handler has to read through your account notes or you have to explain a situation over and over again it is not only frustrating but costly too in terms of your time and your organisation’s effectiveness.

7 – Shared Risk

The best specialist recruiters are so confident that they will find you the right person that they will share the risk of hiring them!

Sometimes hiring doesn’t work out and you have to start the whole process again. That can be costly but when your recruitment partner shares the risk or has a process in place to minimise the impact of a failed hire those costs are mitigated and manageable.

That’s just seven. When I sat down to compile this post, many more sprang to mind, each as compelling as the one before.

I suppose the best way to experience why specialist IT recruiters have the edge is to experience one at work for yourself. When you call, ask them great challenging questions. Ask them to demonstrate how they will share your risk and ask how they will set about finding the right talent for you.

Perhaps, most crucially, ask about WHY they set up their business in the first place.

If you find that your prospective recruitment partner identified similar recruitment frustrations to your own, if they too were an IT employer struggling to access talent appropriate to their specific needs… if they’ve ‘been there too’ then you already have some crucial common ground.

A partner who was looking for the solution, couldn’t find it and so decided to BE the solution, may give you the significant edge you need for your next IT or IT Project Management hire.

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