Tech Workers Reward the Personal Touch

Tech workers get an average of 23 recruiter inquiries a week — yes, a week, says a survey from TEKsystems, a global IT staffing and services firm.

That’s a remarkable number, which, even if is skewed by respondents with very in-demand skills, would still go a long way to explaining why you’re not getting calls back. In fact, the survey shows that IT professionals are picky about whose call they will return.

The best thing a recruiter can do when leaving a message or speaking with a potential candidate is to be as detailed about the job as possible. Hearing details about the specific job, the team, the nature of the work, and the company culture is the kind of information that would lead 88 percent of the survey respondents to return the call.

Less important, but still high on the list for the IT professionals surveyed, is the professionalism of the recruiter and the reputation of the company.

“The best recruiters take the time to get to know the client and the candidate in detail. He or she with the most intelligence wins the matchmaking process,” says TEKsystems Director, Rachel Russell.

The findings come from the company’s quarterly IT Professional Perspectives Survey, which surveyed 2,424 IT workers last quarter about how they look for jobs. First, when a tech worker begins to consider a new job, they take stock of their skills, goals, and interests. Then, 96 percent say they hit the job boards.

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“Job boards are the quickest way for IT professionals to feel like they’re getting out there and searching for a job,” says Russell. “But given that so many people are on the job boards, it’s a hard place to stand out.”

Perhaps knowing that, once a tech job seeker finds interesting opportunities, the next step for 72 percent of them is to network with other professionals. At some point, many will work with a recruiter. According to the survey, 59 percent say a recruiter is the main resource; 54 percent say colleagues; 53 percent say friends; and, 46 percent rely on their networks.

Recruiters who help job seekers, even if they don’t end up placing them, may still reap rewards. With 45 percent of the survey respondents saying they have 10 or more top professionals in their network, recruiters who remain accessible, helpful, and professional may be able to get a referral. The survey found 65 percent of IT professionals willing to share names if they had a positive experience with the recruiter.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


4 Comments on “Tech Workers Reward the Personal Touch

  1. I know there are many who leave a VoiceMessage on a call but why leave your first touch to chance with odds like those?

    Why not call until they answer live?

    You won’t appear as a stalker if you’re cool about it – maybe call once or twice a day every other day?

    As a phone sourcer I’ve found it takes about 3 maybe 4 calls to get one of these types on the phone.

    That’s not such bad odds.

    If you’ve identified the right candidates in the first place (right skills/background. etc) you’re at the right watering hole so the time investment is well worth it!

    I think.

    I’d like to know what you think.

  2. For this population, I agree with Maureen. A live call will do more good than a message. That said, I think most highly qualified tech workers prefer email. From my experience, some of the best IT talent isn’t terribly comfortable on the phone and uses electronic communication methods in all their relationships. Phone calls are interruptions and distractions. Messages stack up and require listening to all of them in order to get to yours, if at all.

    The best technical minds have a type of ADD – not necessarily an attention deficit, but an attention direction issue. They are incredibly focused on their work, because it’s their love. They just think differently than the rest of us. Everything else can fall out of sight pretty easily, especially messages from strangers looking to move them out of a comfort zone. Emails give them a chance to review the information and prepare for a conversation.

    The key though, is making sure your email feels just as personal as a phone call. And follow it up with a call highlighting the best parts of the job and alerting candidates to the email you sent with the full description, company info, notable links, etc. This group likes information, and the chance to research on their own.

    I’d wager quite a few of those 27 contacts a week are templates blasted from shotgun-approach job board recruiters, all because a few keywords matched. I’m not in IT or heavy technical recruiting (usually), and I still get emails from these people once or twice a week. Putting aside my feelings about how this makes the profession look, it’s pretty easy to stand out without a lot of effort. Make sure the job fits the candidate. Personalize it with notes about their experience doing X in Y industry. Speak to their education or career path and how the company is in line with their goals.

    The exact formula for contact is a mystery, much like online dating. But that’s a whole other blog.

  3. Thanks, John.
    “He or she with the most intelligence wins the matchmaking process.”
    So that explains my difficulties….



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