IT Recruitment FAQs

For Jobseekers

1. How to get a job in IT

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There are multiple pathways to landing a career in IT and the best one for you depends on where you currently are in your career and how much time you have to commit to finding an IT or tech job. The most common way to build a career in IT is by getting a relevant degree at university; this is often how people become more specialised in their work and fine-tune their skills. However, you could also find your dream job through an internship or by taking an entry-level position. 

Remember that there’s more than one type of IT job and varied levels of technical knowledge are required. If you’re going for a technical role, such as a job in programming, network support or network security, you’ll need certain qualifications. For a management role that doesn’t require tech skills, your employer may be able to train you.

A specialised IT recruiter can help find the right role for you. 

2. How to prepare for phone interview questions

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A phone interview usually isn’t the primary deciding step in an interview process, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. This is the stage where an external or internal recruiter begins to form ideas about whether you might be suited to the job and the company. 

Treat the phone interview like a face-to-face interview, by getting yourself ready with more than enough time. Clear out any distractions and ensure you’re somewhere quiet. Prepare for the interview by reading about the company (if you know the company name) to gain an understanding of its culture, history and structure. Re-read the job description and write down ways your skills and experience align with the duties listed. 

During the phone interview, consider your posture. This might sound like pointless advice, but if you’re slouching, your voice might not project as well and you could come across as nervous to the interviewer. 

3. How to look for contract work

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Becoming an IT contractor could turn out to be a highly lucrative decision, if you can get enough work. Once you have a CV and portfolio you’re happy with, you could try looking on freelance job boards, where you can post your CV and apply directly for jobs.

However, this method can be time-consuming and you’d probably rather spend your time actually working on paid projects. Partner with a specialised recruitment agency who can source IT contract jobs for you. It doesn’t cost you anything and you’ll get first-hand access to a pool of reputable employers looking for freelancers to fill both short-term and long-term contract positions.

4. How to get into cyber security

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Cyber security is a highly desirable industry to get into; the financial rewards are good, it offers job security and most days are interesting and varied. The vast majority of people that work in cyber security come from a technical background, such as programming, web development or software engineering. They already have the necessary skills in place and probably come equipped with the necessary degree.

However, you could still find a gateway into cyber security if you come from a general IT background and are interested in how technology works. If this is you, decide where you want to focus your interest and look for relevant courses or entry-level jobs. This career is all about building up your skills, so get as much experience as you can. Speak to a specialist recruiter who can help you find jobs that match your skills.

5. What to wear to a job interview? 

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What you should wear to a job interview depends on the job itself as well as the company’s culture. An IT interview usually falls on the more professional end of the spectrum, so opt for professional attire. Even if the company seems laid back, you should avoid wearing jeans or other casual pieces, to show you’re serious about the position. 

Business attire can include a suit jacket and dark colours, whereas more casual clothing is something less formal than a suit, such as slacks and a blouse or buttoned shirt. Whatever outfit you choose, make sure it fits well and is clean and pressed. 

6. Who makes the final decision in the hiring process?

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If you’re working with a recruiter, you might be wondering how much of an impact they have in the final decision. Although the recruiter is responsible for sourcing suitable candidates (such as yourself) and presenting them to the employer, it’s the hiring manager that ultimately makes the decision about who they will hire. Remember that recruiters still play a vital role in the process, so take the time to listen to their advice, because they’re a key part of the hiring process and usually have some influence about who gets the job.

7. Can you work from home in cyber security?

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There is a growing demand for top tech talent in the cyber security industry and as a result, organisations are offering added flexibility for their workforce, which can come in the form of a remote workforce. Cyber security jobs could be based in the office or could offer the choice to work from home; speak to the person in charge of hiring to find out if the role you’re applying for allows home-based working.

8. What is a local area network (LAN)?

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A LAN is a Local Area Network that connects computers and devices that are physically located close together. Relatively cheap to set up, a LAN is commonly used in homes and enables all devices that use the same router to share files. The set of computers or devices have to share a common geographical area and communications line or wireless link, in order to stay connected.

9. What is a wide area network (WAN)?

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A WAN (Wide Area Network) connects smaller networks (which could include LANs) and spans a wider geographical area. It exists so that computers and devices can connect with each other, regardless of their location, via either a public transmission system or private network. The Internet, for example, is classed as a WAN.

For employers

1. How to hire the best contractors

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Hiring a contract employee can have just as big of an effect on your business as a permanent one, so it’s important to get it right. Take the time to find out about the candidate’s skills and experiences, including whether they’ve worked as a contractor before. If they have, they’ll know how to be self-motivated and be able to work to your deadlines.

Read their references and interview them (via a video call, if necessary). If you’re wondering where to find suitable contractors, work with an IT contract recruitment agency who can give you first-hand access to some of the industry’s top freelance talent.

2. How to recruit IT talent

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When you’re recruiting IT talent, leaving it to your HR team isn’t always the best approach to hiring. More often than not, they don’t have an understanding of the job that’s in-depth enough to write an effective job ad and attract leading talent.

Instead, reach out to an IT headhunter who knows the industry inside-out. They can find suitable candidates, even if the best people aren’t actively looking for a new role. Your headhunter is your hiring partner throughout the process, from pre-screening all the way through to helping you secure the candidate. They work on a contingency basis, so there’s no need to pay a fee until a candidate is placed.

3. Why is it important to recruit the right staff?

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One bad hire can have disastrous effects on a business. Just because a candidate has an impressive portfolio of skills and experience, it doesn’t mean they’d be a good cultural fit for your company. This can negatively affect the rest of your employees and you could see a fast downward spiral.

The saying that employees are your greatest asset is true. Take the time to ensure a candidate is right for the role during the recruitment process. When you hire the right people, you’ll notice enhanced productivity and a team that works together to meet shared objectives.

4. How to improve employee retention

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High employee turnover can cause major financial strain on a business. Improving employee retention starts with hiring the right people in the first place, but there are some things you can do as an employer to help keep them there:

  • Offer ongoing training and development opportunities
  • Build a positive culture and an enjoyable working environment
  • Reward them (both financially as well as with other perks and benefits)
  • Be a leader, not a dictator
  • Offer flexibility and an attractive work-life balance

5. What does an IT recruitment consultant do?

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An IT recruitment consultant (also called an IT headhunter or executive search consultant), specialises in connecting IT talent with jobs. It’s their job to find out exactly what you’re looking for in an ideal candidate, and then headhunt people to shortlist a handful of candidates that could be perfect for the role you’re trying to fill.

They will screen every candidate before sending them your way and will have a full understanding of their motivators, whether that’s money, perks, flexibility or something else. As a result, you get access to some of the best IT specialists in the industry and get an edge over your competitors when it comes to knowing how to secure the individual you want.

6. How much does it cost to recruit a new employee?

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Replacing a staff member can be expensive. You have to cover advertising fees, admin, management time spent interviewing and the costs of training and development. A high turnover rate can have a huge impact on an organisation’s finances over the course of the year. The exact cost of recruiting a new employee varies depending on your organisation and its structure, but many companies focus on retention in order to keep turnover to a minimum. 

Working with a specialised headhunter can alleviate some of the associated costs, as they can conduct pre-screening interviews and advertise the role.

7. What to do when your candidate gets a counter offer

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It’s possible that you could offer a position to a candidate and when they give their current employer their notice, they come back with a counter offer. Now, your potential candidate is torn between taking the job offer or sticking with their current employer. (E.g. for a pay rise or a promotion).

You could approach this by matching the counter offer. Speak to the candidate about why they wanted to leave their current employer, and make them aware that the things they didn’t like about their current company are probably still there. It’s a difficult conversation to have; work with an IT recruiter who can deal with counter offers and gain a better awareness of what would motivate the candidate to make the career move.

8. How to write a good job description

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A job description should do two things; let potential new employees know if they’re suitable and make your company an attractive place to work. If you get them both right, you’ll attract the top calibre of candidates to your position.

The job description should cover the duties of the role and the skills/experience required. If a skill is optional, make sure you make that clear or you risk deterring qualified jobseekers who don’t meet the “exact” requirements. Keep it clear and succinct, and use bullet points for digestibility and scanning purposes.

9. What is workforce planning?

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Workforce planning is a process adopted by organisations to ensure they have the right employees to manage current and future operations. It involves identifying a need for more staff to ensure the most cost-effective and efficient methods are being deployed. Workforce planning is an ongoing initiative that takes a business’ long-term vision and ensures they have the personnel in place to achieve it.

10. What does an IT job description look like?

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Most IT jobs are highly technical, so an IT job description would be heavily focused on the technical skills, experience and qualifications that are needed. Give the reader a clear vision of the role, including an introduction to the company, the tools and technology they’ll be working with, progression opportunities and compensation.

11. How much does an IT recruiter cost?

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Working with an IT recruiter (or headhunter) is a contingency-based relationship. It’s their job to find you suitable candidates to fill roles – and you don’t have to pay anything until a candidate has been placed. Once that happens, the fee is usually based on the salary awarded to that candidate and will be set at a certain percentage of the salary. For contract employees, you still won’t pay anything until a candidate is placed, but then you will generally be charged a monthly fee until the contract ends.