The Tech Recruiters guide to considering the right Agency to work for

Within tech recruitment in South Africa, your choice of agency can significantly impact your career trajectory. It’s not just about finding any recruitment job; it’s about finding the right fit for your values, goals and work style.
Tech Recruiters

Within tech recruitment in South Africa, your choice of agency can significantly impact your career trajectory. It’s not just about finding any recruitment job; it’s about finding the right fit for your values, goals, and work style. In this article, we’ll explore why it is crucial to consider the alignment of values and methodologies when choosing a recruitment agency. We’ll delve briefly into how this alignment (or misalignment) can shape your recruitment career. Hopefully investing in reading this will give you some points to ponder on that you may not have considered before. 

How Values Impact Your Career

Understanding what a company values in its staff isn’t just about cultural fit; it can have a profound impact on your career’s trajectory. In an agency where values align with your own, your unique strengths are celebrated. You’re encouraged to be yourself, adding value in your way, every day. This harmony between your values and your workplace fosters not only job satisfaction but also the opportunity for career growth.

In a values-aligned environment, quality, reliability, ethics, competence, and individuality are celebrated.

Forced activity and recruitment methodologies and processes that don’t align with your style can damage your personal brand in the long run and I see this all too often when interviewing tech recruiters. Many of them think that what they do and how they do it in their current environment is the norm.  You only know what you have experienced up to this point.

How They Play Together

Working with others is the best part of any job (usually). Again this depends on whether you are in an environment that supports your way.  Interviewing recruiters, I regularly hear them talk about internal competition between their companies’ recruiters.  

Not every company is competitive internally.  Some companies actually have very supportive cultures where competition doesn’t come up.  Here consultants elevate each other and do various things to help each other win in whatever project they are busy with.  They get genuinely excited when their colleagues excel.  Some recruiters may prefer an environment like this but if you are competitive in nature, perhaps a competitive environment is one you should seek out.  If you are competitive and get dropped into an environment that isn’t, you’re going to seem like the bad guy when all you want to do is have some fun. An individual who prefers a supportive environment might not feel at their healthiest in an environment where they feel like each person is trying to one-up the other.

Diversity in Approach, Unity in Values

In a tech recruitment agency like ours, diversity in approach is not just accepted; it’s celebrated. Recruiters have the freedom to define their own methods, provided they align with the core values. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, no rigid daily metrics. Instead, the focus is on high-quality, well-matched submissions.  

The Value Alignment Question

In any interview with a potential employer, the first question you should ask is, “What makes a successful recruiter in your space?” This question serves as the cornerstone for understanding a company’s values and work culture. It provides a glimpse into their expectations and how they measure success. For instance:

If the answer emphasises sending the most CVs and long hours, it signals a culture focused on quantity and high activity.  That may be the style needed for that environment and will either suit your way or it won’t.

If it highlights continuous learning, deep industry knowledge, and understanding client needs, it points towards valuing expertise. 

One isn’t better than the other – it’s just about aligning with what suits your style and interests. 

Self-Awareness: The Foundation of Your Decision

While seeking the right recruitment agency, self-awareness plays a pivotal role. Many recruiters express their aversion to micromanagement and the desire for autonomy. However, it’s essential to introspect and honestly evaluate your self-motivation and organizational skills. Some key considerations include:

  • Planning and Structure: Reflect on your ability to plan your day and manage your workload independently. Can you build your own structures and routines or do you thrive in an environment with a more defined roadmap?
  • Are you able to hold yourself accountable to your daily tasks or do you find that you do more when being held accountable or having a lead or manager go through your daily tasks?

Handling Freedom 

Understand how you react to freedom in the workplace. For some, complete autonomy is liberating; for others, it can lead to confusion and inefficiency.  I have seen recruiters move into spaces of freedom, like ours, and crash and burn because they were not able to structure their own time and tasks. They were used to having that done for them.  

If you have always been in a ‘micromanagy’ environment, it’s worth noting that not everyone reacts to freedom the same way. Regardless of the culture of the company, as an employee you will still need to meet your targets so don’t strive to end up in environments that lack that structure if you haven’t given this much thought.  I have seen this first-hand many times as our environment is one of those which offer support rather than being a task-driven environment.  It doesn’t suit everyone but it may very much suit those who have the ability to manage themselves effectively.

Maturity and Experience

Recognise that your level of maturity and experience plays a role in your preference. Seasoned recruiters often navigate freedom more effectively than newcomers.

Your level of self-awareness can help you make an informed choice when selecting an agency. It’s about finding a balance between your need for independence and the level of structure and guidance that will enable you to excel. By considering these factors, you can align your career with an environment that maximises your potential for success.

Your choice of recruitment agency in the tech industry should extend beyond the job title and salary, although these are important considerations. It should encompass values, culture, and working style. By aligning your career with a company that shares your values, you’re not just choosing a job; you’re setting the stage for a fulfilling, successful career.

Leigh Duffield

Leigh is the founder of Progressive Edge and an enthusiast of creating healthy, sustainable work places. Operating from Cape Town, South Africa, Leigh brings her passion and attention to detail to a global audience.

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