Stereotypes in IT Recruitment
“Those ladies from HR only drink coffee and chit-chat.”
“Software developers sit in front of their computers 24/7 and have no social life.”
Have you heard sentences like these before? If yes, then it means that you’ve probably come across stereotypes. In this article, we decided to collect a handful of the most popular stereotypes about IT recruitment — from the side of candidates, as well as recruiters.
Keep on reading and make sure to take it all with a grain of salt
Stereotypes about Candidates
All IT Specialists are Programmers
While programmers are a group of people that often get the most attention, they do not constitute an entire group, commonly referred to as “IT specialists”. An IT specialist is a technical professional that is responsible for the implementation, monitoring, and maintenance of IT systems. The job descriptions include specialization in network analysis, system administration, security and information assurance, database administration, web administration and much more!
If you want to know about some of the most in-demand members of today’s labor force, read our article “Jobs of the Future in the IT Industry”.
An example of some of the IT professionals portrayed stereotypically:
IT Specialist are Antisocial Introverts
“IT professionals are antisocial and always act like they are the smartest in the room” — this generalization probably arose from the fact that the work of people with technical knowledge requires concentration and reflection and is often done on one’s own. On the other hand, however, contact with the client can not be done without advanced communication and interpersonal skills. The same applies when working in a team. “Sitting in the basement all day” and not being able to talk with other people is definitely not in line with reality.
And of course, it might happen that the person is introverted, or not super outgoing, but this is visible in every profession. If we were all the same the world would be very boring, right?
People Who Work in IT Don’t Care About Their Appearance
The stereotypical image of an IT professional who always wears big glasses and a jumper/checkered shirt (and also doesn’t pay a lot of attention to personal hygiene) has been held in the beliefs of many people for decades. This point is very connected to the previous one, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that not all IT specialists look and behave the same.
Only Men Work in IT
It’s true that women are still a minority in the IT industry, but it is a real challenge to change the stereotype that technical jobs are only meant for guys. It is a big problem, rooted already in the education system, which often divides the popularity of subjects based on genders. However, the number of women at technical universities is gradually increasing, which also results in a growing number of women in IT. It is especially visible in the GameDev area, where 25–28% of employees are females.
We described the situation of women in the IT industry thoroughly in a separate article — “Women in IT”.
Stereotypes about Recruiters
Lack of Technical Knowledge
One of the most common stereotypes when it comes to IT recruiters is focused on their knowledge, more precisely…alleged lack of it. Sometimes it is true, which can be seen e.g. on the screenshot below:
Some recruiters tend to mix technologies or ask questions such as: “Do you know how to Java?”.
Another generalization related to that is that “the IT specialist had to spend a lot of time learning, while a recruiter had fun on Erasmus and now has the power to decide on hiring said specialist”.
However, an ambitious IT recruiter, who treats their work professionally, will complete courses and learn what’s necessary to understand the job positions that they search people for. It’s also important to keep in mind that recruiters don’t hire; they often “source” for hiring managers, i.e. they identify candidates who meet the requirements for a role. Of course, it’s not an excuse for asking irrelevant questions, but it’s important to not expect extremely advanced technical knowledge from every recruiter.
Recruiter’s Job is Easy
“Recruiters drink coffee all day”. Writing from our own perspective, yes, most of our team likes coffee, but we certainly don’t spend the whole day drinking it
The proverbial “coffee” also very often relates to the stereotype that people from HR pretend to be working or their tasks are not perceived as demanding — “HR does nothing. They organize employee events and ‘coordinate fruit Thursdays’’”.
In simplest terms, the HR department is responsible for managing the employee life cycle (i.e., recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and firing employees) and administering employee benefits. Recruiters’ tasks include advertising the job opening, collecting resumes, screening the candidates and working with hiring managers to find the right fit. The list of duties can go on, so again — it all depends on the person that does the job and whether he/she puts effort into it.
Recruiters Know Very Little About the Project
Candidates often believe that they will learn almost nothing about the project from the recruiter and sometimes they consider such a conversation a waste of time. Meanwhile, one of our recruiters said: “More than once I have received feedback that the candidate has gotten a lot of information from me about the team, the technologies and the ongoing projects.”.
In the end, it all depends on the people that the candidate will meet along the job search path and very often it’s a matter of luck. Nevertheless, definitely not every recruiter has 0 knowledge on the project and the nature of the client’s organization.
How much TRUTH is there in all this?
Every profession has a reputation, an instant association and judgment of character, all in line with our or others’ personal experiences. Nurse, plumber, banker, lawyer, politician; each carries a certain set of expectations on their traits.
Should we base our views solely on stereotypes? Looking back at this article, certainly not
And while all stereotypes aren’t necessarily harmful, they aren’t inherently healthy depictions of reality either. It’s important to not overuse them in our thinking and not base your beliefs about a given person just on the basis on stereotypes.