While there have been numerous tech layoffs, the demand for top talent remains fierce — which Gartner predicts will be the case until at least 2026. With more companies opening up tech roles, competition for top talent can be stiff. You know this all too well if your company is in the market to hire an elusive data analyst, software developer, or any other tech professional.
What Is Technical Recruiting?
Technical recruiting refers to acquiring new tech talent, usually in IT or engineering roles. Technical recruiters handle everything from sourcing and screening to scheduling interviews, negotiating offers, and possibly onboarding new employees.
In any given company, technical recruiters may be looking to hire developers, analysts, software engineers, and other highly specific tech roles.
How Does Technical Recruiting Differ From Traditional Recruiting?
Compared to "traditional" recruiting (or recruiting for a non-technical role), tech recruiting requires deep industry-specific experience. In general, the most successful technical recruiters are the ones who have actually worked in the field they're hiring for.
Why does this experience matter?
Because technical roles require very specific skill sets and knowledge. For example, tech recruiters will need to have working knowledge in software development, coding languages like Python and C++, and be familiar with commonly used industry tools like Django and MySQL. They’ll also need to stay up to date on industry trends, news, and advancements, as things change quickly in the technical field.
Without this insider level of knowledge and expertise, recruiters can't effectively source the right technical talent for the job. Likewise, technical candidates can often sense when an interviewer has no idea what they're talking about, and (as you can probably imagine) this won’t help land the talent you need to drive output and consistently innovate.
The Role of a Technical Recruiter
A technical recruiter's exact roles and responsibilities can vary a bit from one company to the next, depending on its size and other factors. For example, a technical recruiter for a smaller company may handle onboarding and training in addition to more traditional responsibilities.
Most technical recruiters are responsible for sourcing new talent when a technical job opening arises. This is typically done through the creation of job postings on tech industry job boards and social media platforms (such as LinkedIn), but networking can also come into play here.
From there, recruiters screen applicants and schedule interviews. They may then conduct interview processes in person, over the phone, or via video chat before making recommendations to hiring managers and human resources teams.
In some cases, technical recruiters may also formally extend offers and negotiate benefits.
Specific Challenges in Technical Recruiting
Complex Roles Require Deep Expertise
As mentioned, technical roles are complex and therefore require very specific and deep industry knowledge.
Recruiters must be familiar with these roles and the unique industries for which they're hiring in order to find the exact match for the job. Oftentimes, the only way to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to successfully recruit in technical fields is to have actually worked in those fields.
Limited Pool of Uniquely-Qualified Talent
There's also the challenge of supply and demand regarding technical roles. While we’ve seen some recent tech layoffs, the demand for highly-qualified tech and engineering talent is still very much in demand. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software development job openings are expected to increase by 25% by 2031.
Meanwhile, technical recruiters also struggle with the fact that tech roles (and the skills needed to be successful in these roles) are constantly changing. In fact, industry studies find that the average lifespan of a technical skill is just two to three years.
This means that the skills that were relevant when a person was hired may not be relevant a couple of years later, so technical recruiters must always think ahead and look to the future.
With so much demand for highly skilled technical professionals, the competition to hire qualified candidates is fierce. Without the right expertise and hiring knowledge, technical recruiters will have an increasingly difficult time filling open positions.
Fortunately, we've put together a cheat sheet to help recruiters and hiring managers better understand the unique duties, skills, and knowledge needed for common technical roles.
Technical Roles Cheat Sheet
Technical recruiters can more confidently do their jobs with a little help from this cheat sheet, which covers the expertise, team compatibility, and soft skills required for some of the most popular technical roles.
Builds and maintains the frontend portion of a website or web application that users experience and engage with first-hand.
- Strong understanding of commonly used frameworks, including React, Node.js, AngulariS, and ExpressjS.
- Understands frontend testing and debugging principles.
- Knows how to exercise the Atomic Design Principle of breaking interfaces down into smaller segments.
- Works well with company style guides and existing coding patterns.
- Enjoys working with a team and understands other teammates' roles.
- Able to collaborate effectively with backend developers and doesn’t shy away from engaging with end-users.
- Attention to detail, especially when it comes to debugging, security, and coding.
- Motivated to learn new things as new frameworks and coding trends emerge.
- Strong communication skills (verbal and non-verbal).
Builds and develops the backend or server-side of an app, software application, or website.
- Knowledge of many software design frameworks, including Spring, Node.js, AngularJS, and Django.
- Ability to analyze backend features, including APIs.
- Can work with both technical and non-technical teammates.
- Familiar with a team's development methodology.
- Ability to work closely with frontend developers, understanding their roles and perspectives.
- Strong technical and non-technical communication skills.
- Detail-oriented with strong documentation skills, maintaining design and coding docs as needed.
- Motivated to tackle projects of any size or scope.
Develops and tests various software applications. “Full-stack” refers to an engineer’s ability to be on the front and back end of a product’s development.
- Able to confidently use technologies and coding languages, including Java, HTML, PHP, and others.
- Solid understanding of both front and backend needs.
- Familiar with databases like MySQL and web servers like Apache.
- Able to build/adjust features with a mobile-responsive design.
- Understands each team's specific development style (Agile, waterfall, etc.).
- Independent, but able to be a team player when needed (especially when working with data scientists to improve software).
- Easy-going and eager to learn from others.
- Ability to look at projects from a "big picture" perspective.
- Creative problem-solving and analytical skills that can apply to both the front or backend of software.
- Passionate about the end result of a project.
Reviews, interprets, collects, and manages data for the purpose of making key decisions within a business. Data roles also often work closely with the VPE and CISO to communicate critical data usage requirements and technology applications. Data teams also define policies, models, and technologies used to access and activate sensitive company data.
- Experience creating and working complex Excel workbooks.
- Able to understand market shifts and identify emerging and/or historic trends.
- Experience with data visualization tools, including Google Charts, Grafana, and Infogram.
- Confident in handling multiple datasets at once, even when they're disorganized.
- Proficient in the specific analysis tools used by a company's data team.
- Great communication skills (verbal, written, and, especially, visual).
- Able to work and collaborate with other data scientists, engineers, and analysts.
- Confident in "translating" between technical and non-technical team members to keep everybody on the same page.
- Basic business acumen, especially when it comes to data interpretation and decision-making.
- Willingness to learn and experiment with new data processes.
- Strong attention to detail, with the ability to spot inefficiencies and inconsistencies in data sets.
- Motivated to raise questions about data usage and data ethics.
Creates specific tools to support the needs of an app or other software program.
- Knowledge of system monitoring and reporting tools.
- Relevant experience in languages such as Swift, Python, Typescript, and C++.
- Proficiency with frameworks used by your company, such as Node.js, Angular JS, and ASP.
- Experience with scripting languages, such as Ruby.
- Natural leadership skills, especially when overseeing members of other teams or disciplines.
- Able to work as a liaison between different tech teams, translating technical and non-technical language/jargon as needed.
- Self-motivated to stay on schedule with excellent time-management skills, especially when working on multiple projects at once.
- Able to see things from different perspectives, including the end-user's perspective.
- Able to make strategic decisions based on knowledge of the organization and its overarching needs.
5 Tips for Effective Technical Recruiting
1. Get Acquainted With Tech Lingo
First and foremost, ensure your recruiters are familiar with the highly technical and specific language in the position they're hiring for.
Knowing the "lingo" is key to writing effective, eye-catching job descriptions. An understanding of industry vocabulary will also come in handy during interviews and identifying the right candidates.
Not sure where to begin? Check out this comprehensive glossary of tech terms by Angelo State University.
2. Build a Tech Talent Pipeline
A tech talent pipeline is either an industry partnership with tech sectors that deliver quality talent or a pool of tech talent that your business has developed with previous hiring processes.
You can start building a talent pipeline by clearly articulating your target, building a candidate persona, and filling your pipeline with prospects matching that persona.
3. Capitalize on Employee Referrals
If your company doesn't already have an employee referral program in place, this can be an excellent source of quality tech talent.
Studies have shown that retention rates are an average of 42% higher among employees recruited through a referral program compared to hires from job boards and career sites.
Likewise, referral programs can help companies save money and time on sourcing new hires and increase overall trust for applicants.
Learn more about the benefits of employee referral programs and tips for starting one in our previous blog post.
4. Leverage Social Media Channels
Social media can be especially effective for recruiting technical roles, especially when connecting and building relationships with potential candidates you may not reach with traditional job postings alone.
Ensure your recruiters post on the right social media channels to reach a technical audience, including platforms like LinkedIn or Reddit. Posting on social media and taking advantage of other digital recruiting methods also makes it easier for people to share job openings, increasing the chances that they'll eventually reach the right candidates.
5. Partner With a Recruiting Firm That Specializes in Tech Roles
Never underestimate the power of working with the right recruiting agency. A full-cycle recruiting firm can handle all your sourcing, interviewing, and hiring needs to free up your valuable time in-house.
The right recruiting agency will have an intricate knowledge of the technical position for which you're hiring and a robust network of potential candidates to draw upon.
Hunt Club specializes in tech recruiting, using innovative technology to streamline your next recruitment process and find the best candidates for the job.
Streamline Your Technical Recruiting and Acquire Top Talent With Hunt Club
Recruiting for technical roles comes with many added nuances and complexities that a traditional recruiter may not be prepared to handle.
Ready to get started or learn more?