Sean Huynh

Aug 17, 2020

Why Your Technical Recruiter

Should Be Technical

When my partner Chris and I, were in the early stages of discussing DevTalent, we often asked each other,

"Does the world need another technical recruiter?"

We struggled with this, because if we were being honest with ourselves, the world didn't need another tech recruitment agency. So we sat down and thought deeply about our experience with recruiters from the lens of both hiring managers and developers, and agreed that we wouldn't start this company if we were just going to be another dime-a-dozen agency.

Spoiler alert. We started DevTalent. Here are the main reasons why.


Most tech recruiters don't have an engineering background.

When we reviewed our experience working with recruiters, we realized there was a common theme. Most of the recruiters we knew, did not have an engineering background. To illustrate why this even matters, I will share the most common reason why engineering managers prefer developers who have stayed at companies for multiple years as opposed to jumping from company to company every 12 months.

"Engineering managers want developers who have lived with and learned from their mistakes."


The same is true for your recruitment agency. If your recruiter has not had to live with a bad hire, managed an irritable developer that killed team chemistry or sat through hundreds of hours interviewing developers who epically failed the simplest of algorithmic challenges, how can you reasonably expect them to know how to spot these tell tale signs in a 15 minute call? There are thousands of developers with incredible resumes, but there is a certain nuance to interviewing engineers that only someone who has had to live with their past hiring mistakes can truly appreciate.

Developers want coaching and feedback.

The number one complaint we get from developers on the interview process is that they rarely get feedback if they fail. It's usually goes something like this,

"We thank you for your time in going through the interview process with us, but we have decided to go with another candidate that was a better fit for the role."


There is rarely more details into what "better fit" means, a breakdown of what went wrong during the interview, or most importantly, feedback on how to improve for the next time. Recruiters without an engineering background, may struggle to extract the technical insights into why a developer failed their interview from the hiring manager. This makes it nearly impossible to provide the developer in-depth feedback and coaching from a technical perspective.

On the other hand, if the recruiter has an engineering background they can have a technical discussion with the hiring manager about where the developer excelled and where they struggled. This feedback loop is an opportunity for the developer to learn and grow from the interview process regardless if they are successful or not.

The developer interview process is long and challenging.

Lastly, developer interviews are some of the most challenging for any role in any company. The typical process involves coding challenges, architecture/system interviews, algorithmic white-boarding sessions, culture fit interviews, take home assignments and the list goes on. Most tech recruiters do a great job at resume screening, getting candidates excited about the company and in some cases may administer coding challenges through a platform like Codility. But in most cases, this is not shortening the process for developers, but actually making it longer. The problem is, if the recruiter cannot build credibility and trust with the engineering manager, the company's standard interview process will largely remain unchanged. By working with a recruiter with a technical background, you can start to offload pieces of the employer's interview process, thus shortening the time to hire. It's a win-win for everyone involved.

In conclusion, by hiring a technical recruitment agency with an engineering background, it opens up new growth and learning opportunities for developers, while reducing time spent by both candidates and hiring managers throughout the interview process.

The result: More hired developers and more happy managers.

If you are a developer or engineering manager and would like to learn more about how DevTalent can help grow your career or team, please get in touch!