In a world with a constant demand for technical talent, there is another highly sought-after role – technical recruiters. These are the people bridging the gap between developers and not-so-tech-savvy company managers and founders. Today, a good technical recruiter is worth their weight in gold.
What makes an exceptional technical recruiter?
So when you suddenly start hearing the word “growth” on everyone’s lips at your tech company, it’s probably high time to start the search for a dedicated technical recruiter.
These HR specialists blend in-depth IT and tech knowledge with hiring best practices to help businesses successfully source technical talent. But due to the specialist nature of the role, hiring a top technical recruiter can be just as difficult as attracting top candidates. So where to start?
Ah-ha, well, that’s exactly what we’re here for. So, let’s help you answer that question and all the others you might have.
TL;DR — Key takeaways
- Technical recruiters are essential for any organization looking to hire IT and engineering professionals because they bring a specialist skillset to the role.
- Compared to general recruiters, technical recruiters are highly knowledgeable about all the technical terms and technology trends needed to assess the right technical talent for a business. As a result, they command a higher salary.
- Technical recruiters are typically full-cycle recruiters, which means they handle every stage of the recruitment process, from sourcing talent all the way down to onboarding new hires.
- Although the skillset differs between general and technical recruiters, many day-to-day activities are the same: from crafting job descriptions to interviewing candidates.
- Every role has its challenges, but a skilled technical recruiter will also have the ability to solve any problems creatively. For example, how to cope with a shortage of talent, how to find candidates for hard-to-fill roles, or the rise in remote working.
- Anyone interested in the role can become a technical recruiter if they apply themselves, which means understanding the required skillset and working towards honing those special skills.
- To find the perfect hire for your technical recruiter jobs, try Toggl Hire’s robust Skills Assessment Library, including a role-specific Technical Recruiter skills assessment, and slash your candidate screening time by 86%.
What is a technical recruiter?
A technical recruiter is a Human Resources specialist responsible for finding the perfect candidates for tech and engineering roles, for example, software engineers, data analysts, and technical writers. Technical recruiters typically handle every stage in the recruitment process, also known as full-cycle recruitment.
Because it’s a specialist role, technical recruiters generally have at least two years’ worth of experience in the field. In addition to an education that is either related to HR or technical topics. The position can either be employed in-house or outsourced to a specialized recruitment firm, depending on the size or needs of the business.
How does a technical recruiter differ from a regular recruiter?
Technical recruitment is a specialized area of recruiting that focuses on sourcing, screening and hiring candidates for technical roles.
Technical or regular recruiters are both recruiters looking to identify and hire suitable candidates for available positions, but there are some key distinctions between the two roles.
Firstly — and most obviously — technical recruiters specialize in finding and selecting candidates with specialized technical abilities and experience.
Secondly, technical recruiters bring an extensive understanding of the technical qualifications and practices appropriate for different technical jobs that a regular recruiter wouldn’t have.
And third, in addition to staying on top of recruitment best practices, they also need to keep up with the fast-paced world of tech trends and practices.
For example, while the video game development industry might be looking for Unreal and Unity devs today, they could need Godot specialists tomorrow – and a technical recruiter should be aware of this new technology and how to source talent with relevant skills.
Technical recruiters are a kind of recruitment specialists that specialize in understanding both old and new technologies. In 2017, many organizations were suddenly looking for COBOAL developers — a language developed in 1959 — as many of these original programmers retired.
Using pre-employment assessments to reliably screen and shortlist technical talent is one of the latest recruitment trends that have changed technical recruiting forever.
What do technical recruiters do?
A lot of the day-to-day stuff will be the same as with standard recruitment practices, just with a specific angle. Let’s look at some of the technical recruiter responsibilities:
- Craft and refine recruitment strategies — Technical Recruiters must continually look for fresh ways to identify top technical candidates.
- Identifying recruitment networks — Identifying the most effective platforms and social media outlets to promote job openings and network with high-caliber talent.
- Craft job descriptions — Drafting clear and concise job postings that attract the most qualified technical professionals.
- Candidate assessment — Interviewing and evaluating potential technical employees and presenting them to management for consideration.
- Employer branding — representing the business at job fairs and maintaining a strong digital presence to attract top talent.
- Checking references — Making sure a candidate’s background, past experiences, and qualifications are true.
A day in the life of a technical recruiter
The average day in the life of a technical recruiter generally involves meetings, coffee chats, scouring LinkedIn (and other social platforms), and making contact with potential candidates. Other typical technical recruiter duties include:
- Contacting potential job candidates
- Writing job descriptions and distributing them across various platforms
- Holding meetings with hiring managers to discuss job requirements and candidate qualifications
- Coordinating and scheduling candidate interviews with hiring managers and other team members
- Reviewing and screening job applications to determine whether a candidate meets the requirements of the position
- Using candidate assessment software like Toggl Hire to efficiently narrow down the pool of applicants, saving chunks of time (and, time is money!)
- Identifying potential candidates through various sourcing techniques, such as social media, job boards, referrals, and internal recruiting.
Challenges faced by technical recruiters
Sounds simple, right? Although every job is not without its challenges.
Hiring a technical recruiter isn’t a magic bullet. Some of the difficulties these HR professionals may face when hunting for new tech talent are:
- A shortage of available talent – potentially requiring more creative recruitment strategies to overcome
- More talent wanting to work remotely, or live in a different country – balancing the needs of the business and the rise in remote working may ultimately come down to your company policy, or fair negotiation
- Niche candidates require top compensation and benefits – and in such cases, a technical recruiter will need a strong understanding of the market when negotiating the package
- Job specs can change in the blink of an eye – just when the technical recruiter thinks he or she has hired the perfect team, they might need to start all over again!
Technical recruiter salary: how much do technical recruiters earn?
According to Glassdoor, a technical recruiter salary in the United States averages $75 000 per year, from a salary range from $50 000 for more junior hires all the way up to $117 000 for top talent.
Because it’s a specialist role, the average salary for a technical recruiter is higher than for a standard or generalist recruiter, who will earn, on average, $69 000 in the US.
What makes a good technical recruiter: skills and characteristics
If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.Red Adair
When hiring a technical recruiter, what should you look out for?
Great technical recruiters should be able to:
- Easily grasp complex technical jargon
- Stay on top of current trends and tech news
- Have a special eye for spotting which candidates will add the most value to the company
- Effortlessly communicate with C-Suite and stakeholders in the company
- Keep up with the ever-evolving world of recruiting, such as new sourcing techniques
- Easily understand the organization’s hiring pipeline and fix any issues that may arise
How do I get started in tech recruiting?
Sounds like a job you’d like? If you’re looking to get into the technical recruiting field, we’ve got a few tips to help you get started and how to transform into one of the greatest technical recruiters.
6 Steps to becoming a technical recruiter
1. Read. Study. Learn. Absorb.
The first step is to get educated. While you don’t necessarily need a technical background to be a technical recruiter, having some firsthand knowledge of the tech you’re hiring for will certainly give you an advantage.
If you have other qualifications, you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree for the role. For example, Udemy, Skillshare, or your local college may also offer relevant tech and HR-related courses to get you up to speed. Many technical recruiters today see the value of continuous learning and will enroll in these courses even if they have a formal education.
☝️ Pro-tip for technical recruiters: There are countless free channels on YouTube to get you started, for example, Codecademy and AIHR.
2. Stay up-to-date with the latest tech
Technology is constantly evolving, so it’s important for technical recruiters to stay up-to-date with the latest programming languages and frameworks. This will help you avoid any embarrassing blunders while showing candidates that you understand their skills and needs.
Why not also hang around where your candidates spend their time to better understand their day-to-day work and frustrations? Some of the best places to do this include LinkedIn, Reddit, and Stack Overflow.
3. Improve non-tech skills
Communication, decision-making, attention to detail, presentation, and negotiation skills are all vital for success in this field. In fact, soft skills are necessary for all recruiters.
To work on these, try practicing your people skills in mock situations. For example, ask a few family members or friends if you can interview them to gather their (maybe too honest) feedback.
4. Build personal connections
Developers often have unfavorable opinions of recruiters — how many times have you received a random message on social media for a position you just know isn’t right for you?
To stand out, be personable and make recruitment more humane. Stay abreast of developers’ likes and dislikes related to hiring. Offer a better experience by actually listening to what a candidate has to say, while understanding their level of experience.
☝️ Pro-tip for technical recruiters: FAANG are able to offer incredible packages to candidates. Want to sweeten the deal? Send the right candidates a goodie basket with branded items — all the cool companies are doing it.
5. Use tech tools to your advantage
Besides having a firm grasp of the tech industry, most technical recruiters will have a repertoire of tools and applications they will use to source candidates and guide them through the hiring process. Some examples of a technical recruiter’s trusty tech stack include:
- Slack — It’s not just a company-wide chat program. Users can create entire Slack-based communities around a wide range of topics.
- Discord — Just like Slack, there are countless communities you can join that are centered around information technology to help you stay up-to-date.
- Social networks — Curate your profile on all of the big social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok) and turn yourself into a technical recruitment master. Post your tips to help your followers find their dream job, delve into the hiring process, and show that you have a good understanding of the industry.
- Create a Medium account — Start writing and sharing content centered around technical knowledge, information about various technical positions, and advice for job interviews. Show your expertise and engage with your audience.
A successful technical recruiter is basically a self-employed entrepreneur who treats their department like its own company.
6. Perfect your technical recruiter resume
As a future technical recruiter, you’ll need to be at the top of your game. After all, how can you judge applications for technical positions if your own CV looks like the dog’s breakfast?
Rewrite your CV. Now, rewrite it again. Afterwards, rewrite it for a third time and keep polishing it. Your technical recruiter resume needs to impress your future hiring manager and showcase your technical knowledge to sell you as a viable technical recruiter.
Hire your next technical recruiter with Toggl Hire
Whether you’re looking to hire or be hired, technical recruiters use Toggl Hire to streamline the hiring process and to help find the right talent in a jiffy.
One of the most valuable features of Toggl Hire is our extensive Skills Library, consisting of a broad range of pre-built assessments made by industry experts to help you better assess and pre-screen candidates.
Companies also use Toggl Hire to manage their candidate pipeline throughout the hiring process, from initial screening to final interviews, enabling you to stay organized and unlock efficiencies in the recruitment process.
Juste loves investigating through writing. A copywriter by trade, she spent the last ten years in startups, telling stories and building marketing teams. She works at Toggl Hire and writes about how businesses can recruit really great people.