Insights into IT recruitmentPosted: August 18, 2011
We’ve all seen the news stories talking about the job opportunities that exist in the IT sector. But what does that mean to graduates looking for their first job?
It’s actually good news, and not just for IT graduates. I recently met John Caulfield, Solutions Director with Oracle Ireland. Oracle has recently announced a big recruitment drive across the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) region, stating that a significant portion of the jobs available are graduate positions. But, he explained to me, they are not just offering jobs for IT technicians. There are also roles in sales, finance, marketing and HR, which means there are opportunities for graduates of all disciplines.
The other bit of good news is that your personal qualities can be more important than academic achievement. A recent gradireland survey suggested that more employers were introducing stricter academic criteria this year, with a majority looking for a 2.1 or above. However, Caulfield said this wasn’t the case with Oracle. The key things that they and similar employers look for are soft skills – particularly communication, project management and customer focus. The best technical skills in the world are useless, he commented, if they cannot be utilised in a team working towards a common project goal.
Much of the collaborative work that goes on in multinationals is now done virtually, so you will need the ability to demonstrate good communication skills, project management skills, the ability to listen to customer needs and translate these into requirements, an understanding of your role in a wider group to achieve a target. Relating past experiences (in project work, student societies and other extra-curricular activities) to the work environment will help you to show employers that you have these core competencies.
Companies in the IT sector are now focusing on growth, which means long-term job opportunities. Large employers have traditionally viewed their graduate entrants as an investment for the company: expanding their talent base by bringing graduates into the business, training and developing them, has been part of a long-term strategy designed to sustain business growth. During recent years, with recruitment budgets being cut, we have seen less of this so it’s encouraging to see a return of that ‘talent pipeline’ approach.
So how do you become part of that talent base? According to John Caulfield, social media is an increasingly important part of the mix when job hunting. While not all companies will have a dedicated recruitment channel, most now will have a social media aspect to their graduate recruitment. In their current campaign, Oracle has set up Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to engage with potential recruits and try to give a flavour of what it is like to work for them. Networking is also important. Most organisations rely on referrals and recommendations from existing employees to widen their talent pool, so maintaining contacts with lecturers, alumni groups and peers post-graduation is another important element of any job search.