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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection

Make IT recruiters work for you

By Carter Hammett
Special to The Toronto Sun

Just as job seekers are expected to utilize multiple resources to find jobs, recruiters too, are branching out, developing specializations and finding themselves catering to new sectors in order to meet the demand of a fickle marketplace, hungry for the best and brightest talent.

Recruiters specializing in finding jobs for information technology (IT) professionals are a breed by themselves. As the sector slowly crawls out of a two-year slump, the market is gradually becoming more attractive again as new technologies emerge, new skills are in demand and boomers prepare for retirement. Still, competition for the best positions is fierce, and recruiters are becoming market savvy in order lure the most skilled workers.

Historically, recruiters have been accountable for about 15% of all jobs obtained in the Canadian marketplace. Once the domain of mere temporary workers, mostly populated by secretaries seeking part-time incomes, recruiting has evolved into big business, going beyond mere clerical sectors and branching out into more specialized areas of hiring.

As middle management occupations gradually disappeared during the last decade, companies began to outsource their hiring needs and recruiting took off. As IT developed into a unique sector which demanded qualified workers, the market segment began carving an important niche for itself until the downturn two years ago.

"The marketplace is turning around. When it recovers, a skills shortage will occur," says Christopher Drummond, director of marketing for CNC Global (, a technology staffing firm that recruits for permanent and contract positions.

"More workers are retiring; IT is not unique in that way," he says. "That's why it's important for us to help clients plan proactively to manage a workforce, through things like succession planning and recruitment."

A recent trend in recruiting is the development of "employer branding," or how to become an employer of choice. The perception of a company by a potential employee is becoming all-important, and more and more companies are marketing themselves as "quality employers" with attractive images and choice perqs, to attract workers with superior skills. Many employees are choosy and want to find a company that will help them achieve their goals.

"Many IT professionals get into the field because it's project-based. Employers must be good at retaining employees. Companies have to provide opportunities for workers to expand their knowledge and to learn the latest technological opportunities," Drummond says.

Another development in the recruiting sector in recent years has been training.

"There is a growing demand for business thinking and for soft skills: communication, team building, etc. This is not core service, but it is important. IT workers have to be business-focused because the company's IT needs will not be aligned without them. The recruiter must find this out; if he doesn't understand the company's or individual's needs, they may not get the best employee. Recruiting only makes sense if you get the best match for the client," he says.

Drummond says good IT recruiters will always put the employee first. "Look for someone who will take an active interest in you and offer "value-added" extras. Some recruiters will offer things like skills testing, market information, resume critiques, career counselling and coaching. If they just look at a resume, that's not really offering a whole lot. There's lots of competition out there, and good firms will go the extra mile for you."

(Toronto writer , trainer, and employment information officer Carter Hammett can be reached at [].)

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