I joined Bee Talents recently as a recruiter and noticed how different the career paths looked for my teammates and I. It made me wonder – is it actually valuable for a Tech Recruiter to have varied career experience? What does that even mean?
Before settling in the Bee Hive I worked on three continents. Somehow, I always actively sought jobs as different and as geographically far from one another as possible. Among others, I did real estate, worked in an airline, performed market research and worked in HR. Varied career to me is not only changing departments in a company or any horizontal moves. I always believed deep inside, that those radical changes are beneficial to my development, both as a professional, and a human being. However, I never cared too much about proof of the validity of this theory.
I think the data is in! My current job shows quite well how not holding on to a single job can give you skills and attitude to succeed in recruitment. Let me offer you several key reasons why I think a varied career can be beneficial for IT sector recruiters.
Different careers open you to challenges
After working for over 3 years in airlines as a Flight Attendant, I changed occupation and became a Real Estate Agent. The decision to make a change came quick! And it required me to deeply analyze who I am as a professional and what I can and want to do.
General communication skills I have earned during exhausting conversations with unruly passengers, needed an update to match what real estate negotiations looked like. The openness with which we treat passengers needed to be transferred onto my personal experience in a new job. Thanks to this experience, I am very sympathetic to people who embark on a journey to change who they are and what they do. I appreciate those who challenge themselves to do more. And I think that empathy and the ability to understand the other person’s journey is key to recruiting well.
Studies show that it takes two ingredients to successfully form new habits. First is to start. Second, is to keep doing it. For at least some time.
Starting a new job is no different, and you need to adjust your habits on the fly. Before, I learned not to crack under the pressure when severe turbulence hit, or a passenger had a mid-flight heart attack. Now though, I had to be organized from the inside out! You know, focus on KPIs, or work under a more open deadline environment where I had more leeway into how to actually accomplish a task. But all that seemed so much less stressful after my first experiences, that I was able to take it in stride.
To think outside the box, you need to have seen the outside before
In 2015 I moved from Dubai to Dublin. Asia became Europe and everything changed again. Change is good they say, but what if you are not ready for it?
I got a nice job at a market research company and had to gather data, mainly from IT professionals. A lot of cold calls were in my future and I could not stand limited success I had early on. But then I took a step back and analyzed what was limiting my efficiency, and figured out which skill I had, but was not applying.
In the air you need to be a master conversationalist – passenger needs are different and sometimes extremely specific! You need to dig in deep into their real motivations, interests and pet peeves. When I was handling special needs passengers I always tried to have a friendly conversation to ease the interaction for both of us. That got me thinking! Why am I talking to my current targets as business clients, instead of real human beings, which was emphasised for us as airline employees?
So I started to try to make my conversations actually interesting. It was much less about building some long-term rapport with those IT specialists – usually, one survey was enough. But to get good, engaged answers, I engaged with them on a more humanizing level, which improved their comfort with me as their actual, even if momentary, friend who wanted to discuss their pains and their stories. I was elated that I found a flaw in my approach, applied past lessons and improved measurably.
And this is where previous, differing experience is key – it is harder to think outside the box if you were sitting in this box forever and do not know other boxes. Unconventional ideas usually merge different worlds together!
Acquired soft skills foster easier communication with any client
Convincing others is not easy. It’s common knowledge for anyone in a customer-focused role, like salespeople or customer service specialists. But it is a skill like any other, that needs work and constant education.
Human beings are astonishingly different from each other in terms of their communication styles and preferences. Chilean farmers, United Arab Emirates airline managers, Irish real estate agents and Polish startup recruiters – even my former bosses barely share any traits.
But again, you accumulate different soft skills where you would least expect it. My extensive travel and working in different cultures makes me open and sensitive to important differences. Usually – between cultures, groups and individuals, and I learned to talk to nearly everybody. At Emirates Group we had a motto, “Never stop caring”, and trust me, some commuters make caring hard.
Fortunately, my open mind in every discussion proved fruitful both in my market research and in real estate agency experience. When my first candidate calls came by, I was more than ready to dig in deeper and with practised care. I knew that by making this conversation as normal and as pleasant and interesting as possible we all win.
Emergency is focus, not panic
In the middle of 2017 I started my adventure with the recruitment sector, in one of the largest companies – Indeed. I already knew how to weather most storms, including those that happen in the lower stratosphere.
Coming from a varied background and seeing different kinds of stressful situations is great training in how to handle outsized cortisol shot into your arteries. After you have seen real-life emergencies, a missed deadline, an unhappy client or unfulfilled KPIs are no longer an earthquake. You immediately go into disaster recovery mode and learn immediately not to dwell on the crisis moment itself. You may not look like you care enough, but you have the ability to be reasoned and meticulous in situations where others see only chaos. A seasoned vet has seen it all and knows how to make sure the main objectives survive the onslaught.
How Tech recruiters work
But ok – how does it all together actually make me a good Tech Recruiter? How does preparing for new challenges, being able to adjust your habits quickly, breezing through emergencies and having a malleable tongue combine into a great recruitment experience? The answer lies in what a Tech Recruiter actually does.
First, a Tech Recruiter needs some in-depth knowledge of the industry he/she is recruiting for. Here, in Bee Talents, we rigorously train in all aspects of not only recruiting but IT industry as well. My knowledge of programming languages, tech stacks, dev’s life and how they work grew by leaps recently. Next, armed with this knowledge, you talk to different people and merge their expectations together.
In IT changes are a daily thing. New tech emerges, others wane. Frameworks appear every two weeks. It is not enough to ask a candidate if he/she is up to speed, you need to be able to verify it with reasonable accuracy. Hence Tech Recruiters need to have a habit of learning and being open to new challenges. It’s simply about keeping up with our environment and our clients, who demand to receive only top-notch candidates with proven basic skills for this position.
Next, people you talk to will constantly be different. Startups are sprouting from the ground like after heavy rains, and they cover the tiniest of industries. One day you are recruiting for a large corporation seeking executive level IT director, but your next assignment may be for a little startup with completely different culture and goals. You cannot therefore recruit in the same style for both, and you will need to search radically different people for them. Which will require different communication styles and techniques! Another thing – the constant churn of change in IT means that specialists will change jobs often. I understand the stress of switching careers. This makes me better suited to talking to them when they are about to make this crucial decision.
To sum up, work as a Tech Recruiter is much more dynamic than one can imagine from the outside. Your Monday will not look similar to your Tuesday. You will need to find unorthodox solutions all the time, as the market is difficult and its arcane are constantly changing. Creating your new boolean strings or location where PHP admins are spending their time online is gold! Talking to completely different groups of people will be your routine. And in all of that, you need to sail through stormy seas from time to time and keep your main objectives in order.
I hope I made it clear, that there are many ways to become a Tech Recruiter. Yes, you can spend years as an HR intern, but if you do not see real growth – find it elsewhere. Every job you have is a learning experience. I can’t wait to see what more can Bee Talents teach me!
And finally, if you want to share your story with me – I’m always happy to talk!