Here’s what it takes to become an elite tech recruiter

Daniel Borowski
Tech x Talent
Published in
4 min readFeb 16, 2019


If you don’t have a technical background, it may seem as if there’s a barrier to becoming an elite technical recruiter. How in the world are you supposed to ask the right questions and evaluate technical skill-sets, not to mention effectively communicate with the type of candidates who frequently express discomfort speaking with non-technical people? Fortunately, you don’t need a CS degree from Stanford to be an elite technical recruiter.

According to engineering leaders, the best recruiters apply simple techniques to carefully focus on and prioritize qualified candidates.

This is one of the most important aspects of technical recruiting because moving unqualified candidates through the recruitment process wastes incredibly valuable and scarce time for both the engineering team and the recruitment team. Beyond the time to interview unqualified candidates, engineering teams are negatively impacted by context switching and lower morale. Identifying and focusing on the strongest engineering candidates should be a top priority for recruiting teams.

At Coderbyte, we’ve developed the most comprehensive database of coding challenges that 300,000+ engineers have used to improve their skills. After technical recruiters and engineering leaders began commandeering our platform for testing candidates in their pipelines, we built a proper technical assessment platform. Now, it’s used by 200+ technical recruiters and engineering managers who follow three steps to identify the best engineering candidates and provide those candidates with a world-class interview experience. Here’s how they do it:

Optimize the engineering team’s time by prioritizing qualified candidates

Engineers will always have to take part in the interview process, and the way a technical recruiter can best accommodate the engineering team is to not have them waste hours of time interviewing candidates that don’t have basic coding abilities or problem-solving skills.

An initial phone screen is a good way to evaluate basic communication skills, potential culture fit, and it provides a chance for the engineering candidate to talk about their background and how they think their skills line up with the role. But, a phone screen alone usually isn’t enough because it’s not a proper assessment that can truly measure the candidates skill set with the job requirements.

With Coderbyte, technical recruiters can quickly and accurately filter out candidates based on a number of different factors and then generate a final report based on their skills. This way the recruiter can be confident in the candidates they are sending over to the engineering team for the next step in the recruitment process. The best tech recruiters don’t simply pass along every candidate that comes along, rather, they make data-driven decisions based on quantitative results.

Blend quantitative skills with qualitative skills

Aside from judging a candidate based on an assessment score, the best technical recruiters know that they need to take other factors into account when looking at an engineering candidate. It’s important for the candidate to have good communication skills because they’ll most likely be working on a team with other people, and aside from their code being “correct” it also needs to have other qualities such as documentation, modularity, etc.

This is something many screening platforms currently lack — they focus on a single score which is based on correct code written for a set of algorithm challenges. In reality, the correctness and running-time of the code should be factored in along with qualitative skills as well. This is why on Coderbyte we allow candidates to submit textual answers to high-level engineering questions along with submitting their source code for projects that are relevant to the actual job.

If you want good developers you need to assess other things: Are they creative? Do they write good, clean, solid code? Do they understand patterns? Can they work with other team members? Do they add to the team? Do they understand the trade-off between speed and maintainability? etc. none of this can be found out from [platforms like] HackerRank. — Richard Linnell

Always provide a great experience for the candidate

It’s no surprise then, that because many screening platforms focus on a candidate providing the most optimal code within a certain time period, many of the candidates tend to hate the experience. It’s important for companies to provide great experiences for candidates, because if you assume the candidate is also applying elsewhere or already has other offers lined up, why would they choose a company that disregards their experience during the recruitment process?

The best technical recruiters know that it’s important to provide a great experience during the entire recruitment process, and with Coderbyte being the #1 platform for high-quality coding challenges, recruiters know by sending candidates through the platform they will have a great experience.

If you’re interested in potentially using Coderbyte at your organization, contact me at or request a demo here.