Technical Recruiting: The Skills and Best Practices Needed to Win
There’s never been a more competitive time to recruit technical talent.
Every company wants to be a unicorn. They want to move fast and break things. They want to change the world. To do that, they need engineers — and engineering candidates have their pick of opportunities.
In order to succeed in this competitive environment, your strategy for recruiting has to be different. You can’t just post a job on Indeed and wait for candidates to come to you.
You need a technical recruiter.
Luckily, we’ve come up with a list of technical recruitment best practices that can help you win the talent war. Let’s look at what they are.
First: What is technical talent?
Technical talent is defined as someone with the skills to design, build, and optimize technical systems. This includes everything from developing software to managing databases to administering networks.
Coding is the most obvious example of a technical skill, but it’s not the only one. Many tech roles don’t require coding skills; they might require an understanding of algorithms, software development methodologies, or system architecture.
In general, engineers need to be able to think abstractly, solve problems quickly, and adapt to new technologies as they emerge. They also have to work collaboratively with other members of a team.
Let’s face it: the reason 10x developers are so in-demand is because they’re so rare.
Core competencies are not always based on technical abilities
Technical recruiters know that not all of the core competencies for a role are based on technical abilities. In fact, many of them are based on soft skills.
For example, let’s say you’re looking for a senior software engineer. Sure, they need to know how to code. But they also need to be able to communicate clearly, work well under pressure, and manage their time effectively.
These are all important skills that you should look for when recruiting for tech positions.
Different roles for hiring managers and recruiters
Before you can start recruiting for a technical position, you need to understand the different roles that hiring managers and recruiters play in the process.
Recruiters are responsible for finding candidates that fit the specific needs of their team. They typically have a good understanding of the core skills that are required for the role.
Hiring managers are the ones who close the deal. They are responsible for the outcome of the software engineer recruitment process and are involved in decision making and job offers.
The best way to find tech talent is to use a combination of both technical recruiter skills and hiring manager skills. When done correctly, this approach allows for a more strategic and successful hiring process.
The different types of recruiters
There are three main types of recruiters: corporate, agency, and search. Each one has their own approach to building the talent pipeline.
- Corporate recruiters work in-house for a specific company. The in-house recruiter has a large database of candidates that they’ve built up over time and is responsible for sourcing candidates for open positions within the company.
- Agency recruiters work for — you guessed it — a recruitment agency. They find candidates for temporary or permanent positions at several different companies.
- Search recruiters, also known as headhunters, work with companies to find candidates for specific positions. They usually have a network of contacts in specific industries and can reach out to them when an organization is looking to fill a position.
The skills of a recruiter
While every recruiter is different, they’ll all need to have the following skills in order to be successful:
The ability to find the right candidates
This involves not only identifying the specific skills and experience that a candidate must have, but using a variety of resources like job boards, job fairs, social media, and networking events to source candidates.
The ability to sell the role
Recruiters should be able to sell the company and the position to potential hires. They have to understand the company culture and use recruiting strategies to convince the candidate that this is the right opportunity for them.
The ability to negotiate
Negotiation skills are important when discussing salaries, benefits, and start dates with both candidates and hiring managers. A good recruiter can help get the best deal for both the company and the candidate.
The ability to build relationships
The recruitment process is a two-way street. A good recruiter will build relationships with candidates and hiring managers in order to create a positive experience for everyone involved. They should know how to resolve conflicts and keep the process moving forward.
Tip: Check out our blog post “How to Recruit and Hire Top Software Engineers” for more information on what it takes to be a successful recruiter.
What’s the difference between recruiter and technical recruiter?
The main difference between a general recruiter and a technical recruiter is the focus of their role. A technical recruiter’s job is to fill technical jobs, whereas a regular recruiter might recruit for any number of positions within a company.
Another difference is that a technical recruiter typically has a more in-depth understanding of the specific skills required for technical roles. Their knowledge of the tech industry allows them to assess a candidate’s skills and tech background.
Tech recruiters also tend to have large recruiting networks and can find potential candidates that might not be actively looking for jobs at tech companies.
The role of technical recruiter
Technical recruiter duties range from screening candidates to assessing candidates. However, the most important part is finding great tech talent.
This involves writing job descriptions that attract potential hires and creating a sourcing strategy to identify potential candidates. Once a pool of candidates has been identified, the technical recruiter will evaluate their skills and determine if they are a good fit for the role.
If the candidate is a good fit, the recruiter will then schedule technical interviews with the hiring manager.
The difficulty with tech recruiting
Software engineers are in high demand and are often courted by companies with lucrative offers. This can make it difficult for a technical recruiter to fill a position.
There’s also a learning curve that comes with technical hiring. You’re not just looking for someone who can code; you’re looking for a person who is versatile, innovative, and can work in a fast-paced environment.
This can be challenging for a non technical person.
Are technical skills needed for technical recruitment?
Understanding the role that technical skills play in the job is critical. However, soft skills like communication and growth potential still matter most for recruiters.
The best engineers are not always the ones with the most experience or the most technical knowledge. They’re the ones who are constantly learning and growing.
To find these types of candidates, recruiters need to ask technical interview questions as well as software engineer behavioral interview questions to get a more wholistic view of the candidate. For example:
- How do you keep up with the latest trends in your field?
- What was the last new technology that you learned?
- How do you approach problem solving?
- How do you handle criticism?
- What resources (books, websites, etc.) do you use when you don’t know how to do something?
Tip: Read our blog about Asking the Right Software Engineer Interview Questions for more suggestions.
What is the technical recruiting experience?
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of technical recruiting, let’s review the process from start to finish.
The following are key steps and best practices that will help you create a positive candidate experience while also efficiently filling your software engineering roles.
Technical recruiter responsibilities for every stage of the recruiting and hiring process
1. Recruiting: The technical recruitment expert connects with software engineers and encourages them to apply for a relevant role
Recruitment begins with sourcing. Technical recruiters will first write a compelling job description and then use sites like LinkedIn and GitHub to find software engineers that fit the role.
They’ll reach out to tech talent, encourage them to apply, and use applicant tracking systems like Greenhouse or Workable to monitor their progress through the hiring process.
2. Assessment: The tech recruiter invites a candidate to a technical assessment
If a candidate has made it past the initial screening, the technical recruiter will invite them to a technical assessment.
There are several types of assessments to choose from — including Woven’s async coding interview. Engineers prefer our tests because they take less than two hours to complete and come with individual feedback for each candidate. Recruiters like our tests because they help identify great engineers, regardless of their location.
3. Interview: The technical recruiter coordinates the next round of interviews
Next comes the culture interview to determine if the candidate is a good fit for the company. A technical recruiter will work with the hiring manager to schedule these and ensure that the interview process runs smoothly.
4. Recommendation: The recruiter makes an objective recommendation to advance or decline the candidate
After all interviews have been conducted, the technical recruiter will make a recommendation based on the information they’ve gathered. This requires data analysis and objectivity, as the recruiter will be considering both the candidate’s skills and the company’s needs.
5. Decision: The technical recruiter confirms the hiring team’s decision
Once a decision has been made, the technical recruiter will reach out to the candidate and let them know if they’ve been selected for the role.
If the answer is yes, they’ll extend an offer and work with a human resource specialist to field any questions or concerns that come up during the negotiation process. If the answer is no, they’ll provide feedback and resources to help the candidate improve their chances of being hired in the future.
Create a hiring plan for technical recruiting
An effective recruiting strategy is necessary for any company that wants to hire great software engineers.
When working with such a specialized and in-demand talent pool, mis-hires are devastating. Bringing the wrong person onto a team can cost technology companies tens of thousands of dollars. So it’s important to get it right the first time.
Technical recruiters help to mitigate the risk of a bad hire by following a process that’s specifically designed to identify qualified software engineering candidates. With a tech recruiter on your side, you increase your chances of making a great hire while also saving time and money.
How to find a technical recruiter: in-house vs recruitment agency
Looking for a technical recruiter? You have two options: work with an in-house technical recruiter or partner with an agency.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. In-house recruiters are familiar with your company’s culture and values, which makes them well-suited to finding candidates that are a good fit. However, they may not have the time or resources to cast a wide net.
According to Glassdoor, the average technical recruiter salary is around $79,000.
Recruitment agencies, on the other hand, have access to a larger pool of candidates. But it can be difficult to find an agency that has technical knowledge or that specializes in recruiting for the tech industry.
Our best recommendation is to find technical recruiters that have worked with Woven. Why? Because our newest product, Woven Match, pairs companies with talented engineers who have high scores on our technical assessments.
These tech workers are already looking for jobs, which makes the recruitment process much easier. And they’re more likely to accept an offer when they’re matched with companies that fit their skills and interests.
Technical recruiter resources
In addition to Woven Match, there are a few other resources that technical recruiters can use during the technical recruiting process. Here are some of our favorites:
Dice is a job board specifically for tech workers. It’s a good place to post open positions and search for qualified candidates. Technical recruiters can use Dice to find software engineers with specific skillsets.
Another option for sourcing tech talent is AngelList. The platform connects startups with investors, and tech employees can also use it to browse open positions and connect with companies that they’re interested in.
Hacker News is a popular website for software engineers. It’s a great place to learn about the latest trends in the tech industry and see what engineers are talking about. Technical recruiters can use HN to uncover hidden gems by searching for keywords related to open positions.
If you want to see examples of software engineering work, look no further than GitHub. The code-sharing platform is used by developers all over the world and is a great way to assess someone’s skills.
Stack Overflow is a popular website where developers can ask and answer questions about code. It’s also a resource for technical recruiting, as it can be used to uncover tech talent and gauge their level of expertise.
The job market is hot. And the competition for tech talent is only getting more intense. That’s why it’s so important to work with a technical recruiter who can help you put the right people in the right seats.
With these technical recruiting skills and best practices, you can be confident that you’re making the best possible hiring decisions for your company.
Best of luck!