Tech recruiter tech training

Talking with a friend today, I was reminded of an idea I shelved (temporarily) several years ago.

The tech recruiting world is going through a bit of a shakeup; tens of thousands of layoffs just a year or two after years of a hiring binge in the industry. Large tech companies have traditionally had the pick of top talent. Many people orient their careers around getting in to one of the big tech companies (Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc). Indeed, there’s an industry around interview prep/training specifically for these companies.

There’s then a second and third ‘tier’ of companies that need tech workers, but can’t afford to compete on salary/perks/prestige. Regional companies may need to do more targeted outreach to fill specific roles. Some companies may be large enough to do all their recruiting efforts in-house. Many will use third party staff augmentation services to help fill roles.

It’s these staff-aug companies I’ve had the most experience with, and even then, not a large amount of experience. I’m only one person, and have only worked with a few companies over the past 25 years or so. Well… let me rephrase that. I’ve responded to and engaged a handful of companies.

Like many folks in the tech world, I’ve gone through seasons of being bombarded with calls/emails from various agencies, sometimes multiple all pitching the same role at the same company. The majority are just blasting emails; there’s little effort to research anything about the specific recipients. We’re all just getting dozens of emails with no thought put in to it.

But there are some agencies who’ve reached out who are real people, who have done some research, and are trying to make connections between what they need and what my skills are.

This is the type of company that could use some sort of tech training. These recruiters do not need to know the ins and outs of coding, system administration, containers, or anything like that. BUT… having a better and more updated understanding of what various tech terms are, what they represent, and how they relate to other tech items will have value for recruiters that care.

If a request comes in for 3 .NET developers, you probably don’t need to reach out to someone like myself with 25 years in the Linux/LAMP world. That doesn’t mean I’ve never done .NET stuff – I’ve done a couple very small items years ago (and enjoyed it), it’s not my main bread and butter.

Now… I’m aware that many Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can and do help filter resumes. I don’t think they’re doing a great job, based on the emails I still seem to get. And based on some discussions with a regional niche agency this morning, their input was that “all the ATS we’ve tried aren’t very good”.

A common line I’ve used (and heard first years ago) is that you wouldn’t trust a waiter who confused “hamburger” with “ham” when ordering; if the recruiter you’re talking to doesn’t understand the difference between “java” and “javascript”, they’re going to be wasting a lot of peoples’ time (mostly their own).

ATS may help, and maybe ATS will get upgraded over time to be smarter about finding relevant tech matches. In the mean time, some form of ancillary education/training support for folks in the tech recruiting world seems like it would fill a void. I’ve been told very large agencies do have some in-house training (but again… based on my own experiences, it doesn’t seem to be that useful). It may be that no amount of training beats out mass emails and a whole lot of outbound dialing. I suspect that’s not the case, and that focused education/training would help, but it’s just a suspicion at this point.

Thoughts? (email me!)

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