Why are so many IT recruiters technically completely incompetent?

A typical IT recruiter — photo credit: Catarina Coutinho

There are many problems with IT recruiting nowadays, but one of the most annoying for candidates must be that many recruiters have zero technical knowledge, apart from being able to use a browser, email, LinkedIn, and MS Word.

The infamous Java/Javascript confusion might not happen too often (although I am not sure about that) but any developer with an online presence can confirm that lots of recruiters simply go by a list of buzzwords to find candidates, without the slightest idea about what the technologies actually mean, how they differ or are linked to each other.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not saying every recruiter should become a developer first, but if you realize that the recruiter does not know certain basic facts about a programming language or framework which could be looked up in 10 seconds on its Wikipedia page, this should give you pause.

One could argue that they don’t NEED that knowledge. Sure, it would be nice for the candidate to be able to ask a technical question about a job offered by the recruiter and not hear “uhhh, I have to get back to you on that”, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

But somehow you would assume that an IT recruiter must be interested in the technologies they work with every day, no?

Especially if they specialize in a certain area — let’s say mobile development — and hear the words “Objective-C”, “Swift”, “Android” and “Java” from every single client, why wouldn’t they sit down at some point and read up on what these things mean, what the current versions of each are, what other technologies or tools are used with it, etc.?

I honestly have no good answer to that question. I couldn’t imagine working in a domain (tech or not) and not automatically developing the urge to know very well what I’m talking about.

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