You probably are coming to this article if you are a small business owner in need of tech help, and are considering using a technical recruiter to help save you time. We are going to explain how to tell if you really need to use a technical recruiter, where to find one (and their corresponding costs versus results), and how to make sure you hired the right one before you sign.
- How To Tell If You Need A Technical Recruiter’s Help
- Summary Table of Ways to Find a Technical Recruiter
- Where to Find a Technical Recruiter
- Technical Recruiting Costs
- What to Ask Before You Sign a Recruiter
- Top Benefits & Drawbacks of Using A Technical Recruiter
How To Tell If You Need A Technical Recruiter’s Help
If you need a web developer, a UX designer, or other technical role, you might automatically assume you need to use a technical recruiter. Not so. First ask yourself these 3 questions to make sure you need a technical recruiter’s help:
Question 1: Have you recruited for this role in the past? If so, how long did it take you to find the right person?
If this is a new role and you are not sure about the current market for it near you, consulting a technical recruiter could be beneficial in order to learn about the going salary or hourly rates and the availability of the talent you’re looking for.
If this is a role you hired for in the past, try to remember how long it took you to find the right person. Would a recruiter stepping in to take those hours off your plate be beneficial? If the hire took longer than 60 days, you would certainly want to at least consult a technical recruiter.
Question 2: Do you, or someone you trust, have the time and skill to recruit for this role yourself?
What is going on in your business right now? Recruiting for a technical position can take 10-20 hours of work per week in order to move at a quick pace to hire. Do you or someone else at the business have that kind of time to dedicate to hiring this person? If not, consulting a technical recruiter is a good idea.
Question 3: Does this person have to be on-site or can they be remote?
This is an important question because, if the technical person can be remote, you will get slammed with applicants through a freelance or remote job website. Recruiting for a remote developer is a lot easier than one for on-site work. If your role is able to be remote, and if you are open to even foreign help, we recommend posting it on your own first before consulting a technical recruiter.
If you still think you need a technical recruiter, read on. We first provide a summary table on how to find a technical recruiter, then cover the costs and pros and cons in more detail.
Summary Table of Ways to Find a Technical Recruiter
|Freelancer websites (i.e. Upwork)||Reasonable cost that you can negotiate, the freelancer should do all of the recruiting work||If you don't pick the right one, you'll waste time.||Varies. Hourly rates or bounties can apply. $25- $100/hour.||Finding one might take time upfront, but they should then take all the work off your hands and be incentivized for the quick fill.|
|Bounty websites (i.e. Reflik)||Many recruiters will be working on your open role.||Expensive; no guarantee of success.||20-30% of the first year's salary.||This should be a very fast process.|
|Recommendations from fellow business owners||Easy & fast. We recommend asking all of your fellow business owners about this.||Might not find anyone if your network is small.||Varies. Hourly rates or bounties can apply.||This could move very quickly if you find one through your network. Make sure to check other references of their work.|
|Post a Job Ad (i.e. on Indeed)||Easy & fast. Contract/ Temporary recruiters are common.||If you don't pick the right one, you'll waste time.||You can set the cost to your comfort level.||Finding one might take time upfront, but they should then take all the work off your hands and be incentivized for the quick fill.|
Where to Find a Technical Recruiter
As we show in the table, there are 4 places to find technical recruiters for small business owners:
- Freelancer websites like Upwork (where you’ll need to post an ad)
- Bounty websites like Reflik (where you’ll post the job and recruiters registered for them will submit candidates)
- Asking your fellow business owner friends for a recommendation
- Posting an ad for a contract/ temporary recruiting role (you can see great places to post in our top job posting sites article, and we recommend trying Indeed)
Aside from method 2, we recommend trying all 3 of the other methods simultaneously, especially if you have never worked with a technical recruiter before. You will get a feel for what makes sense for your business, who you want to work with and their costs, and what is available. Personally, I’ve seen business owners seem to figure out that they either love one idea or another, so go with your instinct as well. For example, if you use a freelancer website, you will probably be working with someone far away from you— some business owners hate this, others love it.
How to Find a Technical Recruiter Using a Freelancer Website
- You have to create a business account and have it verified by the website to make sure you are a legitimate business.
- You can then post your job ad for a technical recruiter and what role(s) this person will fill, as well as the estimated time/number of hours needed, plus pay. You can make your posting public or you can have it be private and use the “invite to apply” function where you only invite profiles of people that fit what you are looking for.
- You can then start phone interviewing candidates using our questions below.
- Once you’ve found the right one for your business at the right price, hire them! You will probably have to pay them weekly through automated payments via the system, and you can also check their work logs to make sure they are working when they say they are.
How to Find a Technical Recruiter Using Bounty Websites
If you decide to use a bounty website, you’ll have to go through the following steps:
- You have to create a business account with the bounty website. This will likely involve signing some sort of contract with them in order to post on their website.
- You can use the bounty website in 2 ways:
- You could post your contract for a technical recruiter position.
- You could post the technical role you need to fill and then use the bounty website to fill it.
- Your account manager will then post your job for you and will send a blast to their list of recruiters.
- Resumes and candidates should start to pour in, and then start phone interviewing candidates that look like a good match using our questions below. Don’t forget to ask candidates about salaries, or you can include that in the prerequisite for submitting a candidate.
- Once you’ve found the right one for your business at the right price, hire them! If you got the technical hire you were looking for, you’ll add them as an employee. If you got a contract technical recruiter, you will add them probably as a 1099.
How to Find a Technical Recruiter Using a Job Board
If you decide to use a job board like Indeed to find a technical recruiter, you’ll have to go through the following steps:
- You have to create a business account on Indeed.
- You can then post your job ad for a technical recruiter and what role(s) this person will fill, as well as the estimated time/number of hours needed, or what the contract will look like. Since it is a temporary or contract role, you will probably need to sponsor your Indeed job posting. We talk about that extensively here.
- Resumes should start to pour in, and then start phone interviewing candidates that look like a good match using our What to Ask questions below. Don’t forget to ask them about their price tag!
- Once you’ve found the right one for your business at the right price, hire them! You can add them as a 1099 to your team and pay them with your regular payroll or on an invoice basis.
Let’s look at the cost of a technical recruiter in more detail.
Technical Recruiting Costs
Yes, technical recruiting can be expensive. Most small business owners think they cannot afford technical recruiting help, but that is because they might be assuming that all recruiters use the “finder’s fee” model for billing. The going rate for that is 20-35% of the candidate’s first year salary for technical recruiters and their agencies, which makes it completely unaffordable for a small business owner.
This is why we recommend looking at freelancer websites or finding a local, solo recruiter, or a local company that works with small businesses. They most likely will charge an hourly rate, or a much smaller bounty (like 5-10%) than a large agency would.
If you hire someone at an hourly rate, we recommend using a time-tracking software so that you can see what they are doing in real time and have clarity into their hours billed.
What to Ask Before You Sign a Recruiter
Aside from the cost, you should also ask your potential technical recruiter the following 5 questions before you sign an agreement with them:
Question 1: What kind of success have you had looking for the type of position we are looking for? What is your usual time to hire?
Just like you would ask a salesperson about their success in sales, ask your potential technical recruiter about their successful placement rate for the type of role you need. Any good recruiter should be able to quote you their statistics on time to fill a role and the types of roles they have had success with. It’s a very competitive field, so if they can’t answer this question, you might want to move onto a different recruiter.
Question 2: What is your average accompanying bill for the kind of role we are looking for?
This is important if you are hiring someone on an hourly rate. They should be able to break down for you how long sourcing (finding) candidates and interviewing candidate should take, and thus, the accompanying bill that came with it.
Question 3: Do you think what we are looking for and within our budget is reasonable? Why or why not?
This is a good question to ask because a good recruiter will be honest with you. They will tell you if you are asking for a miracle candidate or if you are on par with industry standards, and then they should be able to make recommendations for alternative options or for how they will work with your requirements.
Question 4: What is your methodology for finding candidates? What systems do you use?
A savvy technical recruiter should be able to provide systems, such as LinkedIn Recruiter and other resume databases like Indeed, and know how to search through them. They should also be able to walk you through how they find good candidates.
Question 5: Do you have any references from other clients that I could speak to?
Just like when you hire a new employee, you’ll want to check references. A technical recruiter should be happy to provide current or past clients’ contact information to help you understand their skills.
Top Benefits & Drawbacks of Using A Technical Recruiter
Working with a recruiter can be a very rewarding experience, or it can leave a sour taste in your mouth. Use our questions above and be aware of the following benefits and drawbacks:
Benefit 1: Getting the hire done.
The whole point of working with a technical recruiter is to fill your open role with a great new hire. A good technical recruiter should be able to fill your role with speed, and you can also incentivize them for that with a bonus at the end too!
Benefit 2: Speed of hiring.
Like our first benefit, good recruiters should move fast and have pipelines in place for technical candidates, or have a strong, fast method of finding them. They should be able to fill the role much faster than you would on your own.
Benefit 3: Higher level of technical assessment.
An experienced technical recruiter should be able to talk the talk with tech people and suss out if they are a good fit for your role. They should be able to understand UI from UX, C# from C++, a web dev from a mobile dev, and more, which is a huge value if you are not a technical person.
Benefit 4: General recruiter experience (i.e. seeing through candidate’s rehearsed answers)
The whole job of a great recruiter is to make sure that they are getting you the best talent possible. This includes seeing red flags in resumes and being to assess them and ask about them upfront so that you don’t have to worry about it. Any recruiter worth their salt will ask people about job jumping, long employment gaps, etc… and give you the information upfront. They also will be able to tell a con-artist from a genuinely great candidate and can point out red flags to you.
Benefit 5: It saves you loads of time.
Recruiting takes time. It takes hours to look through resumes, find resumes, contact people, get them on the phone, and actually then having the interviews. A technical recruiter would take 80% of these man hours away from you and your team, which lets you focus on the business and clients at hand that you need to.
Let’s now discuss a few of the downsides.
Cons to Using a Technical Recruiter (and how to overcome them)
There are certainly drawbacks to using a technical recruiter, but most of them can be combatted by some of our methods above when finding one, as well as by doing your due diligence when you first hire them. Let’s look at the cons and how to combat them in more detail here.
Con 1: COST
Combat the high cost of technical recruiters by using non-traditional ones like those found on Upwork, Hubstaff, and other freelancer websites. Try an hourly rate or a stop-loss amount if there is no viable hire, or try a low hourly rate with a hire bonus to keep the cost down, yet still keep your technical recruiter motivated.
Con 2: What if the new hire quits?
This is the most common question I get from potential clients. Some prefer to put in their contracts a “refill” clause, i.e. that if the new hire quits within a certain time frame, the recruiter will replace them for free or at a discounted cost. This is very common in bounty/ percentage of salary agreements, but not so much with recruiters who work by the hour. Our advice is to bring this up before you sign with your recruiter- they should have a solid answer for how they have dealt with this in the past, since people are unpredictable!
The Bottom Line
Using a technical recruiter that is savvy and able to understand what you need while working within your budget can be a tricky thing to find, but they are out there! Cast your net wide by trying our 4 different ways to find one and then see what works for you, your business, and your budget. They should become a consistent reliable resource for when you need help recruiting tech talent.