19 Oct 9 Underrated Characteristics of Successful IT Staffing Professionals
Given the lucrative nature of the current IT staffing industry (holding strong at an annual 6% growth rate, according to Staffing Industry Analysts), it’s little surprise why people are attracted to a career path within the field. However, the plain truth is that not everyone is cut out to be successful in the role of IT recruiting and IT staffing sales. The more we work with our clients, the more we see a pattern in the traits and characteristics that set someone up to become one of the great successful IT staffing professionals.
This one should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often it’s missed. The fact is, most people in the IT staffing industry simply fall into the field rather than aspire toward it in their education or early work experience. They are often recruited into it or stumble across an opportunity in their job search.
With no formal educational background or work experience, successful IT staffing professionals need to capitalize on their smarts to navigate the industry and perform at high levels. They need to get creative in researching markets, performing analysis, and making good business decisions. It takes an intelligent IT recruiter or salesperson to really succeed in the industry.
Negotiation is a somewhat lost art in the staffing field. Many IT recruiters and salespeople have become very black and white when asking questions and gathering information from their candidates and clients. While it is possible to bring deals together in this way, it’s not enough to really get above and beyond.
Someone with excellent negotiation skills knows that most companies have a little flexibility in the salary ranges they’re offering – or even in the number of years of experience in particular skills required for the job they’re filling. Viewing the world beyond a black and white perspective opens the door to much greater levels of success in the IT staffing industry.
IT staffing sales and recruiting can be a high stakes field where energy levels need to stay high. As a result, many young professionals in the industry cultivate a work environment that breeds high energy and motivation. The downside of this is that it’s possible to go over the top.
In contrast, a professional with quiet confidence and a calm demeanor stands out and will often appear much more in tune with the situation at hand than their high energy colleagues. Clients and candidates will naturally feel more comfortable communicating with this type of professional, building stronger relationships and setting them up for greater success.
True persistence is highly underrated in the IT staffing industry. Many people define persistence as calling a prospect two or three times before giving up on the lead as a closed door. But that level of follow up isn’t enough to make a real impact on the business.
Persistence means that someone continues to follow up again and again, employing tact and high-value communication, with the view that they are slowly building a long-term relationship. Such people can easily cope with rejection and keep moving forward in their quest for success. Simply put, they never give up.
Planning and Organization
There are a lot of moving parts in the daily tasks of IT recruiters and salespeople. Applicant tracking systems and other tools can help facilitate productivity on a day-to-day basis, but long-term success in IT staffing takes a lot more than simply navigating software.
Setting specific objectives, reaching out into new market segments, building long-term talent pipelines – all these things take very detailed organizational skills. The successful salesperson or recruiter will be the one that not only plans, but really leverages daily information to their advantage to achieve future success.
Love of Learning
Why is a well-read recruiter or salesperson more successful? Primarily because it primes them to relate to a wider range of people by coming together over common topics. People who love learning and regularly keep up with industry news, trends, and career development tactics are generally better prepared to cultivate long-term, valuable relationships.
In the IT industry, this is especially important because some of the most successful IT staffing professionals share this same personality trait. They value innovation and life-long learning because the pace at which technology evolves is incredibly rapid. Additionally, taking the time to learn and remember the details of everyone they meet will set them apart from competitors in the industry.
It’s a little cliché, but you’ve likely heard the phrase that we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we talk. In the IT staffing industry, this is especially true. Because great IT staffing professionals are often outgoing extroverts, it’s easy to forget that listening often takes precedence over asking questions, talking over details, and making deals.
Assessing the needs of a client or really understanding what a candidate is looking for takes a deeper level of listening than most people are willing to commit to a conversation. The best IT staffing professionals don’t stop listening after the basic answers are provided; they dedicate their time to genuinely listening in order to understand the individual desires of the people they’re in conversation with.
No Fear of Failure
It’s no secret that a typical IT staffing firm loses out on more deals than they close, no matter how successful they are. There’s an innate high ratio of failure and rejection. But as an IT recruiter or IT staffing salesperson, you must be able to walk away and keep your chin up. It’s a business that tests the core of your inner strength and confidence on a daily basis, and there is no room for fear of failure.
The best IT staffing processionals can cope with the stress and pressure of the industry in addition to inspiring others to do the same. They know that how they deal with rejection determines how successful they’ll be in the long run.
Asking the right questions is key to bringing a deal together where people on all sides of the table are happy. While many staffing firms will probably have a workflow process with prescribed questions to ask when taking a job req or interviewing a candidate, the best staffing professionals know how to dig deeper and elicit answers that open up new doors.
Being inquisitive in any conversation with a client or candidate is the best way to gain more insight. This is a highly undervalued character trait that will lead someone to great success in the IT staffing industry.
How Are You Building Your Team of Successful IT Staffing Professionals?
These character traits are just a handful of what it takes to become one of the most successful IT staffing professionals, but they’re some of the most underrated. Understanding the foundational characteristics of the highest performing employees is the first step to boosting your book of business, avoiding high turnover, and cultivating a great place to work.
Do your employees have these characteristics? Are you assessing them on these traits? If not, take a look at our IT Recruiter Assessment checklist.
Kevin O’Brien is a Co-Founder and Partner at echogravity. Kevin’s credentials include being a top recruiter for a international Big 8 consulting firm, top business development rep for a global consulting and staffing firm, and consulting with over 100 companies across North America.