Education

Confessions of a Tech Recruiter (interview)

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Image Credit: iCIMS

This sponsored post is produced by iCIMS.

Whether you are a job seeker, currently employed, or looking to switch companies in the tech sector, the recruiter is usually the facilitator between you and your next career move. Although recruiters play their cards close to the chest, there are definitely ways top talent can stand out and be discovered.

Nicole Tucker, a technical recruiter at iCIMS, is responsible for attracting and recruiting top tech talent that will develop, sustain, and improve upon iCIMS’s suite of talent acquisition products. Although Tucker recruits for all tech-related fields, she specifically focuses in on hiring software developers, test engineers, and U.X. architects.

iCIMS, the leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions for growing businesses, had a strong first half of 2013 of which was paralleled with the on-boarding of 54 new employees, a 25 percent increase from 2012.

What is your background and experience with tech recruiting?

I started out my full-time career in a boutique agency-side recruiting firm in NYC that specialized in recruiting for startups. It was there that I realized tech recruitment was my professional niche, and after four years I transitioned to in-house recruiting at iCIMS. I have filled over fifty positions in my year and a half at iCIMS and it has turned out to be an amazing experience so far.

Besides hard skills gained through experience and education, what do you look for in candidates?

We definitely look for passion and enthusiasm. These qualities are innate to personality and therefore, very hard to teach. You can learn and be taught hard skills but soft skills are a little bit harder.  That said, we hire 90 percent for culture and 10 percent for hard skills. Our CEO, Colin Day, constantly connects our recruitment strategy to our continued success: “I am extremely proud of the culture that we’ve been able to create. In my view, a business can only be as good as its people and therefore, hiring the right people is imperative”.

As a tech recruiter, do you search for job candidates on sites other than LinkedIn? What techniques do you use?

I use a lot of different methods to find the best and the brightest. I am constantly networking with various local community leaders and attending local technology meet-ups. On the university level, I work directly with professors to develop partnerships with departments, student organizations, and alumni networks. I actively connect with technical talent via knowledge-sharing websites and industry-specific message boards, and I use various social media avenues like Facebook Graph Search, GitHub, and Google+ to reach out to the greater technical community. As a job seeker, I would recommend putting yourself out there as much as possible, whether online or offline, to increase your visibility and become part of a recruiter’s professional network.

Recruiters use software tools that aggregate all content that job seekers post on the web into an easily digestible profile. If you want to be discovered, you have to be on the web because your digital footprints act in part as your resume in the new world of virtual recruiting.

How can a job seeker make sure their resume will stand out and catch your attention?

Nine out of ten job seekers are overlooked because they applied to the wrong job. Their background and experience aren’t really related to the role that they applied to or there’s no indication that they have sought further education or training. Because of this, job seekers with more relevant experience tend to win out in those situations. For instance, those who apply to programming positions but don’t perform well on our coding assessments are obviously not a good fit.

If you really are trying to change directions in your career, but you aren’t sure how to demonstrate that desire or gain experience, take some classes and include that in the cover letter or resume so recruiters know your goals and what you’re doing to get there. Online classes and curriculum like coursera.org, Code Academy, SlideShare, and various Google hangouts are a great way to gain new skills or keep your skills up to date. Just keep learning!

What is the worst mistake job seekers make during the interviewing process?

The worst mistake I repeatedly see is when tech candidates, as well as with all candidates, do not prepare well enough for the interview. I always start off my interviews by asking what the candidate knows about our company and how they heard about us. During the interview process, it’s your responsibility as a candidate to show me, the recruiter, why you want this job and why you want to join the iCIMS team.  Even if you may be a solid match in terms of skills and experience, it is hard for me to submit you to a hiring manager when you did not show the initial effort or care to research us as a prospective employer. Although a candidate doesn’t need to be an expert on the firm by any means, make sure you can share what the company is about on a basic level and have a general understanding of the industry.

What are your thoughts on nontraditional resumes like infographics, online portfolios, personal websites, etc.?

Considering how fast, flexible, and easy to use applicant tracking systems are for recruiters and hiring managers, particularly our very own “Recruit” software solution, I don’t see these formats replacing the traditional resume anytime soon. They are, however, great ways to set yourself apart and really show what you know, especially considering the time and effort it takes to put them together.

I also think that it also depends on the type of job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a creative marketing job or U.X. role, having a HTML5 resume would be really cool. It shows the recruiter you really know your stuff.

Recruitment technology is changing rapidly.  What do you see as the future of recruiting, and how will that impact job seekers?

Social recruitment is definitely not going away anytime soon so make your social media profiles as professional as possible because recruiters are stalking tech individuals that are in high demand. Also, expect to see more of your contacts posting jobs on your social feeds as this is becoming the new norm.

Technology will continue to play an even bigger job in the recruitment process. At iCIMS, we are currently using video cover letters, and the results have been very impressive so far in terms of quantity and quality of candidates. Job seekers now have the opportunity to represent themselves beyond a piece of paper in order to make a stronger impression on recruiters and show they are dedicated to investing time and effort.

Any last bits of advice?

Yes! A helpful tip – if you’re applying for jobs, keep track of where you send your resume so you can both continue to follow up as well as know the opportunity you are being contacted about should you get a response. As a recruiter, it’s a major turnoff when job seekers respond to my call or e-mail by saying, “I have applied to 150 companies, which one are you?” That may be true, but it is your responsibility to know where you sent your resume and which companies have responded.

Also, another secret – when a potential employer asks about your future, avoid saying things that have no bearing on the company you are being recruited for, like going back to school full time in X years. Think about it from the company’s perspective – companies don’t want to train you knowing that you’ll leave in six months to a year. Therefore, answer questions honestly but also with the company’s objective in mind.

About iCIMS:

iCIMS, a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions, is an Inc. 500 and Software Satisfaction honoree focused on solving corporate business issues through the implementation of easy-to-use, scalable solutions that are backed by award-winning customer service. iCIMS’ Talent Platform, the industry’s premier candidate management solution, enables organizations to manage their entire talent acquisition lifecycle from sourcing, to recruiting, to on-boarding all within a single web-based application. iCIMS is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent acquisition system providers with offices in North America, U.K., and China. To learn more about how iCIMS can help your organization, visit www.icims.com.


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