The need for more technical talent in the world of engineering and technology will always be one of the biggest talent acquisition needs the UK will recruit for.

The want for more candidates with cloud and big data knowledge in businesses will grow by 12% in the next 7-10 years and with the latest engineering projects needing high tech analysts and simulation modellers, there is a lot to learn for us non-technical folk.

As we watch the engineering companies build bigger and better submarines, design and digitise a modern railway network and other amazing engineered creations, we also have the ever-exploding world of technology in Fintech’s and cyber security; so, as a recruiter in these fields how do we keep up when you are not technically qualified?

What I mean by this is, is I never personally went to university and studied mechanical engineering or computer science. I never had the thirst to read “The Engineer” or “MacWorld” from cover to cover but if you are a recruiter with a technical desk you need to know your shit – somehow!

By this I mean, not making yourself sound or look silly to a prospective client when discussing a technical vacancy, as you could be asked something like “Do you know what the current defence standards on the new trident submarines are”?  So, giving some sort of concise and professional answer without tripping up and not being able to give an answer at all is key to giving the client that confidence of filling the role!

So how do you gain a good enough understanding of technical knowledge to successfully run a technical desk?

The best and quickest way to source technical information that I have needed to do my job, is from the candidates that are currently in the market place.  They are more than accommodating to discuss with you, their skills in the technical world and all its mind-bending acronyms on their CV.

If I were to look at a job spec and go slightly boss eyed with the endless technical skills the client requests and cannot find out what I need from Google, yes, I will ask the candidates what it means?

Candidates are non-judgemental and happy to show case their knowledge to you and quite frankly as they are not paying the finder’s fee, you don’t feel stupid to ask and you won’t fell self-conscious whist you need to find out more!  I then am equipped to pick up the phone and discuss a candidate with a client.

The best fact-finding conversations I have had is when I meet with the candidate in person and they want to draw me a diagram to explain in full an engineering design or process, go on let them lose on a flip chart, it will be the best training lesson you get in this job!

Another way I keep up with new information, is reading the blogs that my clients and candidates are writing on LinkedIn.  Let’s face it, this business Facebook has so many groups you can become a member of, that the everyday blogging in the field you recruit within, is a great source.

Final thoughts

I often join a discussion to find out more about a subject and don’t mind (care) if it’s a basic question, someone will answer me.  And like Facebook where you can ask your network a question, I am only asking the retrospective group so the question is relevant to the purpose of the group!

This blog will be obvious and maybe understated to the experienced technical recruiter, so the advice here is designed more for non-technical recruiters who want to move into the technical world and be on top of their game.

……..and this blog is also geared up for the young aspiring job seeker who is looking at a technical recruitment career for the first time.

It’s not rocket science and you don’t need to have completed a technical degree to do this job, I didn’t and I found my way…….


Clare Golding