Tips for the Non-Technical Technical Recruiter

I’ll be the first one to point out that there is no exact science when it comes to conducting an interview. There are many methods, formats, and schools of thought for how recruiters can most effectively select quality candidates to fill open opportunities.

The Plight of the Non-Technical Technical Recruiter

Understanding a candidate’s work history, determining motivations, and picking up on character traits are all extremely valuable observations that should take place during every interview. However, as Technical Recruiters, we’re not really the ones determining whether or not the person we’re interviewing has the necessary skills for the job.

Whether you’re a corporate recruiter or attempting to place someone at a client, you’re essentially screening the candidates to find the cream of the crop. More often than not, someone else is left to judge “Best in Show”. That someone hopefully has a background that is relevant to the job opening and can ask strong qualifying questions.

You couldn’t expect a PeopleSoft Developer to technically evaluate a Cyber-Security Engineer, right? So how can recruiters without technical expertise effectively identify top talent in the field, when most literally don’t have a background in anything related?

For the non-technical Technical Recruiter, it’s about separating the applicants who can probably do the job from those who are completely over-reaching or overstating their skills.

Here are a few tips on how to do just that, and ensure only the most qualified candidates make it to the next round.

1) Research.

Understand as much as you can about the technologies at hand. From a high level, learn what the various job-related technologies do, and if possible, how they interface with other technologies. This will give you more creditability during the interview process, which ideally will prompt the candidate to more honest about their experience.

2) Speak to people with similar backgrounds.

Reach out to others in your circle who have technical experience in the role you are trying to fill. This will not only give you some more context about skills needed, but in many cases will also help you better understand the requirements of the position.

3) Ask experience-related questions.

If I’m interviewing to be a Pizza Maker, I should be able to tell you what temperature the oven has to be, how to make the dough from scratch, and techniques for kneading it. If I can’t discuss all of those things, then I probably haven’t done them enough to be qualified to work at your pizza shop.

It is no different when interviewing applicants for a technical role. Take, for example, a candidate interviewing for the position of Mobile App Developer. Depending on level of experience, he or she should be able to extensively discuss several of the apps they’ve created, tools used, and their favorite platforms. The more confidently the interviewee speaks to these points, the more likely they are to be a highly qualified candidate you can be proud to pass through to the next round of the interview process.

These tips may seem like common sense, but I’m guilty of interviewing candidates and not being ready to ask proper questions – chances are most of us are. The truth is, the best-prepared recruiter is often times the most successful.

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