Technical Recruiter Career Guide: What You Need to Know to Succeed
Today we’re going to show you how to become a technical recruiter. Whether you’re a recent graduate, looking for a career change or to further advance your existing career, you’ll find all you need to know in this comprehensive guide. Read on to learn about job responsibilities, required skills, salary expectations and more!
What does a Technical Recruiter do?
A technical recruiter is in charge of finding the right profile for an IT position. They handle the process from A to Z, from the initial sourcing to organising job interviews and shortlisting. As a technical recruiter, you will likely:
- Work with hiring managers to determine technical job requirements such as skills, experience, and qualifications.
- Develop and utilise various sourcing strategies to attract potential candidates, whether job boards, social media platforms, career fairs or professional networks.
- Create job descriptions and specifications.
- Review CVs and applications and conduct interviews.
- Screen tech candidates to hand over to the technical team
- Make offers and negotiate compensation and benefits.
- Keep up to date with industry trends and continuously strive to improve recruiting practices and processes.
Related read > Technical Recruitment Best Practices
How to become a Technical Recruiter?
In this next section, we’ll provide a detailed overview of everything you can do to make your transition to becoming a technical recruiter a breeze.
What education do you need to be a Technical Recruiter?
The first and most obvious path to becoming a technical recruiter is getting a university degree. By no means mandatory (more on this later), it can open doors and help you to boost your earning potential. A Bachelor’s degree will usually suffice, preferably in business, psychology or human resources. A degree in IT is also a valid path.
Online courses and certifications
Outside of the formal education route, we have online courses and certifications. These are great for either getting an initial understanding of the role or further developing your competencies. Many are free and are offered by leading MOOC providers such as edX, Coursera, and Udemy. There are also smaller platforms offering industry-recognised certifications like People Strategists, for example. These can give you an overview of the core skills and techniques of the profession and help convince employers to give you a chance. You’ll also have an end-of-course exam to do and will receive a certificate, just like at a real university.
Internships can also prove useful for gaining skills and getting hands-on experience. According to Monster research, completing an internship makes you 85% more likely to find employment after graduation. Not only that, internships provide fertile ground for networking, a skill that will prove essential in your work as a technical recruiter.
Workshops, conferences and seminars
Lastly, workshops, conferences and seminars aren’t to be overlooked. These allow you to learn from thought leaders and experts and can also be great places to practise your networking chops. The Tech Recruitment Conference (TRC) for example is well known for bringing in some of the most high-profile speakers and takes place in Amsterdam.
These are all highly effective ways to increase your job opportunities, reach a higher earning potential and improve your credibility. But they are nothing without skills.
What skills do you need to be a Technical Recruiter?
To succeed as a technical recruiter you’re going to need expertise in several key areas. This includes soft skills, as you might expect, but also a basic grasp of tech tools and trends. Let’s look at a few of them now!
Communication and relationship building
Before anything else, a recruiter needs to have good communication skills. Given that a large part of the role involves speaking to candidates in some form or another, this isn’t at all surprising. Communicating effectively and building rapport also play an important part in providing a positive candidate experience. Whether on the phone, by email or face to face, make sure you know how to leave a good impression.
Sales and negotiation
In a similar vein, a technical recruiter also needs to know how to persuade and pitch a position to candidates. In essence, they need to highlight all the positive aspects of the job opportunity, in terms of salary, yes, but also in terms of long-term growth. Not only that, they need to be able to negotiate said salary, and then convince the company to hire the candidate. No small feat, then.
Time management and organisation
You might have seen this one coming. Handling dozens of incoming job applications, liaising with hiring managers and overseeing the interview process is bound to require organisation skills. You need to be able to meet deadlines and company hiring KPIs. Make sure you have no problem with working under pressure before deciding on this career.
Attention to detail
Another very important soft skill, especially in HR. You need to be able to identify the most important information in a candidate’s profile. While doing this, you must cross-reference this data with the company’s corporate culture and check for fit. The best recruiters know how to handle all of this while also taking care of background checks and updating their talent pipeline. Oh, and they don’t make spelling mistakes in their job descriptions…
A basic grasp of tech tools and trends
You didn’t think you could get away with not having tech skills, did you? As a technical recruiter you need to at least understand the basics of the positions you’re trying to fill. You also need to know how to use tools of the trade including ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) for tracking applicants, job posting platforms for sourcing them, Word processing software and email software.
Technical assessment or screening tools can likewise be handy for quickly evaluating your candidate’s skills without needing to be an IT-specialist.
Bonus points for knowledge of video conferencing, HR Chatbots and AI-powered sourcing tools. The more tools you can master, the more attractive you’ll be to employers.
What if I have no experience?
So, you now know what education and skills you need to become a technical recruiter. But perhaps you’re now a little disheartened. Do I really have to jump through so many hoops to change careers and get an entry-level position?
You’ll be pleased to know that recruitment is an accessible path provided you can demonstrate your transferable skills and sell yourself. In fact, many people in entirely different careers have pivoted to this industry.
Begin by highlighting these skills on your CV and LinkedIn profile and then network, network, network. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other recruiters too. As long as you have the right soft skills (with communication skills being essential), you have a solid chance. And don’t forget to work on filling in the gaps by either taking courses or certifications or learning as much as you can about the industry and profession.
What is the salary and career outlook of a Technical Recruiter?
We’ve come all this way and still haven’t told you the salary you can expect? Let’s rectify that! We’ll break it down by seniority.
Entry-Level Technical Recruiter Salary
Recruiters at the beginning of their career with around 1–4 years of experience can expect an annual median salary of $61,926 according to Payscale.
Mid-Level Technical Recruiter Salary
A Technical Recruiter with 5–9 years’ experience meanwhile can earn an average total compensation of $81,757.
Senior-Level Technical Recruiter Salary
Lastly, those with over 10 years of experience can expect a salary of $82,344. This amount increases to $97,951 after 20 years of experience or more.
Factors that Affect Technical Recruiter Salaries
Numerous factors can affect salary ranges. For starters, some skills are more sought-after than others. Indeed, skills in Sourcing and Full-Cycle Recruiting are the most in demand and are correlated to pay that is above average. What’s more, certain cities offer higher than average figures. This is the case for San Francisco, California, where Technical Recruiters tend to earn an average of 16.9% more than the national average. New York comes in second place, as you might expect.
Another variable that can influence pay is the size of the company. Large companies, or those with 500 employers or more, typically offer higher salaries. A Technical Recruiter at financial services company Stripe, for example, can earn as much as $150k.
Whether you work for an agency or in-house can also make a difference. Their payment structures differ in that agency recruiters usually work on commission and receive bonuses while in-house recruiters have a base salary that is not performance-associated.
In any case, it’s important to factor in the cost of living when looking at salary information. After all, you might not be left with as much as you think after paying for necessities such as food, housing and transportation.
Career outlook, advancement and career path
In terms of career outlook, things look very promising for Technical Recruiters, with generous salaries that are only increasing year on year, and a steadily growing job market.
There are numerous advancement opportunities, many of which we’ve spoken about earlier in this article. Whether you invest in your education and take a certification course, focus on a more in-demand skill or simply wait the time necessary to go from entry-level to senior, advancement is all but inevitable.
Finally, Technical Recruiters with enough experience can move on to become Recruitment Managers, Talent Acquisition Managers, or even move into non-HR roles such as in sales as an Account Manager or in Project Management. The role offers many transferable skills (particularly soft ones!) that make a later career transition that much easier.
Most common Technical Recruiter interview questions
At this point you have a pretty clear idea of what the career entails, so you may want to know what to expect once it comes to interview time. There are a few key questions that interviewers love to ask, ranging from behavioural interview questions (which are ideal for assessing soft skills) to role-specific questions (how you prepare before an interview, for example). Below you can find a list of some of the most common ones:
- Why did you want to become a technical recruiter?
- What qualities do you think successful technical recruiters need?
- What makes technical recruiting different from general talent recruiting?
- What are some of the biggest challenges in the profession?
- What are some sources for identifying/building a talent pool?
- Which platforms do you think work best for sourcing IT specialists?
- Have you ever disagreed with a hiring manager? How did you handle the situation?
Regardless of the questions you get on interview day, learning how to provide specific and tailored examples using the STAR method and demonstrating core competencies will prove key to success.
Before we wrap up, let’s take a brief look at some of the most common questions people ask related to technical recruiting.
What makes a Technical Recruiter unique?
Put simply, Technical Recruiters, in addition to having excellent soft skills, also have a deep understanding of the IT field and the jobs that make it up.
How much do top technical recruiters make?
Veteran Technical Recruiters with over 20 years’ experience can earn as much as $97,951 per year. Experienced Technical Recruiters with over 10 years of experience meanwhile are not far short, at $82,344 per year.
How do I know if I’d be a good Technical Recruiter?
Do you have excellent people skills, are adept at sales and negotiating, and have an intricate understanding of the IT world? You would likely succeed in this role.
What does a Technical Recruiter do in their day-to-day?
A Technical Recruiter typically spends their day-to-day browsing job platforms, reviewing CVs, screening applicants, interviewing candidates, networking and keeping up to date with industry trends.
The first step in your recruitment journey
We’ve reached the end of our guide. You now have all the tools at your fingertips to either take your first steps as a Technical Recruiter or further advance your career. You can also rest easy in the knowledge that the outlook for this role is positive, with expected growth of 5% from 2018 to 2028. So what next?Get a head start in the industry with our State of Tech Hiring 2023 survey. In it, you’ll find all the key data you need to understand candidates and current hiring challenges and get a glimpse of where the sector is headed next.