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IT Recruiting: Art or Science?

Apr 20 , 2016

IT recruiting may seem like nothing more than science, but there is more than meets the eye.

Recruiting is one of the many professions that take part in an age-old debate: Is it more of an art, or more of a science?

The Science of Recruiting

Those who say that recruiting is more of a science point to the use of applicant tracking software and keywords to screen resumes and filter down to the best-qualified candidates. Electronic screening of resumes has greatly streamlined the process of deciding which candidates to interview. In addition, job boards and talent networks have provided a steady stream of candidates for many positions, making the hiring process not only easier but more effective.

Today's automated recruiting techniques and algorithms can reduce turnover and increase productivity. Other online tools can speed up onboarding. The bottom line - companies save money and can do more with the resources they have when their hiring practices are optimized.

The Art of Recruiting

On the other hand, there is definitely more to effective IT recruiting than just numbers. Even the most sophisticated algorithms can't capture the more subjective qualities of a person that might make them a good cultural fit for a particular company. Let's face it, two people with exactly the same qualifications on paper could be completely different in how they interact with people or how diligently they work to solve a problem - two qualities that can be extremely important for many IT positions.

Recruiting takes both art and science to fill positions with quality applicants.

Many recruiters want to ignore the art parts of the job and rely on the science because science is tangible. Using science, you will pretty much know what to expect from the recruiting process. If you do X, then Y will happen. Your response rate will be a certain percentage. The tangible may seem safe, but science alone cannot make a successful recruiter.

In recruiting, the art takes over once the science has done its job. Some recruiters call it a hunch, or intuition--the way they just "know" when someone will be a good hire or a good fit for a particular company. Try as science might, it can't quantify a hunch or a good feeling about a candidate with numbers or variables.

The Answer is Yes

The best results in recruiting come from a combination of science and art - using the technologies at a recruiter's disposal to find a pool of candidates, as well as being able to read people well enough to know who will be a good hire, even if you can't exactly explain why.

There will never be a satisfactory answer to the art vs. science debate in recruiting, except that both are important and necessary. Without science, recruiters may not be able to find quality candidates about which to get hunches. Assessing people skills and cultural fit are valuable skills, but if you can't find quality candidates to assess, the point is moot.

Similarly, using technology to find a batch of qualified candidates can improve the overall caliber of talent a company is able to hire, but choosing the candidate who will fit into your company culturally or who has the soft skills to take your IT department to the next level requires skills that can't be found in any algorithm.

GDH Consulting knows that both art and science are needed for IT recruiting to fulfill a company's hiring needs. Contact us to find out how we can help your company make the best hires possible for its IT needs.