Earlier this year, Computerworld published an interview with Recruit IT director John Wyatt, which discussed whether IT firms were specific enough when writing job descriptions for roles they seek to fill.
Many of the positions Recruit IT is asked to fill don’t have formal job descriptions attached, Wyatt said. He added that the IT industry could benefit if job vacancies assigned to recruitment firms contained more precise details of what the candidate is expected to do.
When it was posted online, the article attracted 47 comments. Some of the issues raised in the comments (besides the lack of detail in job descriptions) were the low barrier to entry in the IT recruitment field, whether salaries should be more clearly stated in job ads and how useful candidate databases are.
One online post asked: “Any comments from ITCRA?”. So we asked ITCRA, the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association, the industry body for IT recruitment firms in New Zealand and Australia, about some of the issues raised in the online feedback to the article.
Here is ITCRA business manager Julie Mills’ answers to Computerworld’s questions:
The candidate’s perspective
What qualifications do you need to become a recruitment agent?
There are no specific requirements for qualifications. ITCRA encourages and provides avenues for all consultants to become ITCRA certified.
There are a number of training providers for the recruitment industry and individual companies have their own. The market is highly competitive and only the best practitioners can make a success of the job.
In general terms successful IT recruiters are multitalented with requirements including an ability to communicate well, to write well and to present well, as well as the ability to learn about new technologies quickly. There are new IT technologies constantly coming onto the market and someone in New Zealand will want a person with that knowledge. They need to have an ability to read people. They must also have the ability to understand the cultural, economic, organisational and technical aspects of the roles. To be successful they need to be creative and tenacious; and committed to the task.
What is your response to prospective candidates who say that salaries are often overstated by recruitment agencies?
No response as any statement with respect to salaries would be made at the request of the clients, in most cases, who have engaged the agency to source their staff.
Why is the salary range hardly ever in the advertisements, it can be difficult to determine if this is a junior, intermediate or senior role?
Salaries are usually the result of negotiation between the candidate and the client. They are generally the last item to be decided in the employment process. Recruiters cannot be definitive about the level of salary the client will pay at the beginning of the process, because it will often depend upon the candidate’s level of skills and experience. This is also in reference to the question above.
What is the point of an agency conducting psychometric testing, when the prospective employer carries out logic (or similar) testing themselves?
Recruiters who conduct testing may be checking to see if the candidate is suitable to be put forward to the client.
Clients often have their own specific tests that they require, in addition to the tests already undertaken by the agency. The agencies key role is to assess applicants to provide a shortlist based on a range of assessments.
Why is the nature of the project hardly ever disclosed, for example if this will be an existing or new project, one system or multiple systems?
Clients are generally reluctant to make the details of their projects known publicly and then only to candidates who they are seriously considering hiring who have progressed through the hiring process.
Databases – do recruitment agencies keep CVs on file and actually refer to them?
Recruiters are constantly searching through their databases for candidates with the appropriate skills and beyond their databases to other networks and sources that are publicly accessible. For example, Associations where people with the same interest join such as accountants, engineers and so on.
The agency’s perspective
Is it common practice to offer roles to people who are not looking?
Recruiters do not “offer” people roles. If a candidate is known to them and the recruiter is having difficulty finding a suitable candidate through advertising and so on, they may enquire about a candidate’s level of interest in certain roles.
Headhunting – Are roles over $150,000 generally headhunted?
What is the agency’s commission for $150,000 to $1 million salary roles, it appears from the comments to be 30 to 50 percent?
Retained search companies charge a higher rate because they are retained by the client to work exclusively on specific assignments. Most of the ITCRA members in New Zealand are contingency recruiters and only receive payment when they make a placement with a client.
Again this information is commercially confidental and varies between agencies/roles and specialisations.
Are you aware of any agencies that have been threatened by job seekers, which have resulted in restraining orders and police action?
I am not aware of any instances in New Zealand; however there are many frustrated candidates out their looking for jobs with few jobs currently available. Recruiters are just as frustrated. There is evidence of such issues in Australia.
Do you have any other comments you wish to make?
The depressed market for jobs makes it very difficult for everyone.
It is difficult for recruitment companies acting as the go-between when their clients are unable to take on staff because of the depressed economic conditions.
The IT job market has been hit very hard this time around with many projects on hold.
What all parties in New Zealand need is more investment in building business activity in the IT sector by demonstrating how the IT industry can improve productivity, create new services and build revenues right across the economy.