It's now about focusing on the USPs of a position says BeIT's Ami Islam

07 March 2015

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Another in our series of interviews introducing the Be-IT team to you.   This month, it's the man whom Michael Phair, our last interviewee, said was the person in the office who made him laugh.  Strangely, he doesn't return the compliment!

Name:   Ami Islam

Job Title: IT Recruitment Consultant

What other jobs have you done apart from being a recruiter?
I managed family businesses for over 5 years throughout university before deciding to go into recruitment.  The family business involved running 3 takeaways and restaurants.

What it your biggest disaster at work (anywhere)?
Spilling a full glass of water on the keyboard in my first day at work! Yes, I needed a new one!!

Do you think that techies make good recruiters, and if so why (or if not, why not)?
In my opinion, yes. Having studied software development at university for a year has helped me in building relationships and having conversations with clients and candidates. Also, having an understanding of technology definitely helps when qualifying candidates or taking a job spec. 

Who in the Be-IT office makes you laugh, and why?
Has to be Gareth, his sense of humour is an odd one for the office!

Why is IT recruitment different from other recruiting jobs (e.g. High Street)? 
Because it’s specialised, with an ever increasing demand and no two days are the same.  It’s a lot more dynamic and interesting - due to the many different areas within IT. I like the fact that technologies change regularly and I try to stay up to date with trends.

I can’t speak for High Street Recruitment but my guess would be that IT recruitment involves a lot more technical know-how.

What is the funniest thing you’ve seen in your recruitment career? 
Has to be the time where I went to a client meeting and the taxi driver was a pigeon lover and had pigeons flying about in his car!! Very hard to explain that one!!

Favourite food and drink and where in the world would you like to be when you are having them?   
Can’t beat traditional Italian pasta! I would happily eat it anywhere. My preference would be... somewhere in Italy!

Recommend a restaurant and/or bar for us? 
My favourite restaurant was Bar Roma at the West End of Edinburgh but unfortunately it no longer exists.  The one I tend to lean towards now is De Vinos, on George IV Bridge. 

What’s your view of the market just now – where are the real challenges?
The market is very challenging for clients just now.  With an increase in specialist IT professionals, it is difficult to match the exact skills required. The shortage of candidates who are seeking new opportunities is very low compared to previous years.  As I focus more on software development recruitment, I can say that a good .NET developer is very hard to come by, and if they do come onto the market they find a new position within a couple of weeks.  Headhunting has increased with the use of social media, so you need to stand out from the competition by offering a position that really does match the candidate’s skills and expectations.

I think the days have gone where you needed to “sell” a candidate to a company. It’s now about focusing on the USPs of a position/company and championing them.

There are some recruitment agencies that will spec out a CV without the candidate’s permission. This gives our industry a bad name. I always seek each candidate’s approval before submitting a CV. This is how the industry should operate.

What do candidates need to do better to help you get them a job?
I have seen CVs that are only a page long and others that are 15 pages long.  The “2-3 page” rule doesn’t really apply for IT.  However, a well-constructed and detailed CV, outlining your skills and relevant projects, helps make the candidate attractive to potential employers.  I always suggest to candidates that they tailor their CVs to suit the positions they are applying for, not just hope that a standard CV will do the trick. 

I tell candidates that they should always research the company as much as possible and ensure they fully understand the position for which they are being interviewed.  They should take a couple of hours to do this: you can never spend too much time researching a company as the more you know the more impressed the hiring manager is likely to be. 

Dress to impress? I would say always dress appropriately: you can be overdressed as well as underdressed. If you are unsure, just ask.

Favourite (non work) website and why?
BBC Football, I need to stay updated with the latest news and gossip!

Favourite (work) website and why? 
My favourite would be IT Weekly. There are always interesting articles about the market. 

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy? 
Interesting question! It would depend how much!! First thing would be a house, secondly, a sports car and lastly... Rangers FC!! (bit late now! - Ed).

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