Recruiter Says Fortune 500 Companies Ripe With Opportunity for Associate-Level Technologists

By Karen Stinneford

As a professional technical recruiter at Brooksource, Sammy Gorbett matches associate-level technologists with new career opportunities at Fortune 500 companies.

Eight of those technologists have been graduates of IT-Ready Technical Support, now part of CompTIA Tech Career Academy

“They are extremely successful in their new positions,” Gorbett said of the graduates. “IT-Ready does a really great job of preparing graduates with soft and hard skills, and especially with the technical aptitude and the mindset to learn whatever is necessary.”


Matching candidates with opportunities

Founded in 2000, Brooksource specializes in recruiting technical and functional consultants for its Fortune 50-1000 clients and has expanded into 26 cities located throughout the country. Working in the company’s Chicago office, Gorbett has been with Brooksource for four years.

In addition to recruiting, Gorbett helps corporate clients develop resources and programs that attract technologists and allow them to grow skills and careers within their companies. As part of that effort, she serves on the academic advisory board for Richard J. Daley College, a public, two-year community college part of City Colleges of Chicago.

It was there Gorbett met Anderson Lee, manager of regional career services for CompTIA Tech Career Academy. He invited her to participate in mock interviews with IT-Ready participants.

A mock interview can be challenging for the individual being interviewed, Gorbett said. There is no actual job vacancy that she can inquire about, nor can she demonstrate ways in which her skills and experience make her an appropriate candidate for that role. There isn’t even a company website to study.

“Despite the challenges that naturally accompany mock interviews, I always am blown away by how prepared IT-Ready participants come for them,” she said. “IT-Ready students are professional in appearance. They are on time, and they have answers and questions ready. It inevitably leads to a deeper conversation.”


Employers prefer certifications, life experience

During her time working as a recruiter, Gorbett says she has witnessed a profound change in what employers seek among associate-level technologist candidates.

“Three years ago, Fortune 500 companies were very hesitant to bring on associate-level tech employees — they would say it was too much risk, or they didn’t have time to train them correctly,” she said. “And they were especially hesitant to hire people who came into IT from a non-traditional pathway.”

The landscape has changed dramatically, Gorbett said. Whereas employers used to want associate-level technologists with four-year degrees, employers now seek candidates with certifications like CompTIA A+, a vendor-neutral certification that demonstrates basic technical competence no matter what brand tools or programs are used.

“Employers see the unique attributes that non-traditional technologists bring to their teams because they have more skin in the game,” she said. “Employers appreciate that non-traditional experience usually comes with more life experience and customer service experience, which you can’t really teach in a four-year program. And that’s a huge benefit for employers.”

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that associate-level IT positions will grow 10 percent by 2028 — faster than the average for all occupations — Fortune 500 companies have numerous vacancies in associate-level positions. Moreover, their current IT workforce is working toward the succession of a new generation of talent, compounding ongoing recruitment challenges,” Gorbett said.

“Many Fortune 500 companies don’t have a succession plan in place for their technology workforce,” she said. “That makes the IT industry absolutely ripe for smart people seeking excellent career opportunities.”

For companies looking to hire new entry-level technologists, CompTIA Tech has a pool of alumni from its IT-Ready Technical Support program, plus more students graduate from the program in June. Interested companies can contact their CompTIA Tech National Director of Career Services, Kathy Brennan, to connect with a regional manager on her team and the alumni pool.

For adults who are looking to launch a new tech career and gain the hard and soft skills needed to be successful in that career, as well as the connections to employers to land their first tech job, CompTIA Tech is accepting applications for its next set of classes.


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