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  1. Blog
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What Does a Technical Recruiter Do?

“Watching those we hire not only contribute to the growth of the product, but the growth of those around them as well is second to none.”

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Photo courtesy of Anna Shvets

This article is part of InHerSight's What Do You Do? series. This series explores the working lives of women by job title. Readers can get a glimpse of what it's like to work as an account executive, software developer, restaurant manager, and more.

What does a technical recruiter do?

A member of the human resources team, a technical recruiter is responsible for recruiting positions in technical roles at a company, such as software engineers and scrum masters. They often seek out qualified candidates and encourage them to apply, as well as vet applicants for their technical skills and knowledge. 

Technical recruiters can start as human resources graduates or as experts in a technical field and transition to recruiting. They’re often skilled at networking and other interpersonal skills required for recruiting. They also understand fully the technical needs of the company and utilize screening techniques to ensure only the best make it through to the next round.

Learn from four women in technical recruiting and talent acquisition what it takes to hold this HR role.

Read more: Ask a Recruiter: What Are the Under-the-Radar Signals a Company Wants to Hire Women?

Sheila M. Parson, PhD

Lead Talent Acquisition Manager at AT&T with 27 years of experience

What does a lead talent acquisition manager do?

Short and to the point—I recruit and hire for AT&T’s technical business units (cybersecurity, technology, technical project/program management, and member of technical staff). Here is the job actual description:

"Responsible for the account management of client organizations to fill management and non-management job openings, including exempt, non-exempt and contractor positions from internal and external sources. Key Roles and Responsibilities: Consults with senior leadership regarding workforce planning strategies including workforce diversity, forecasted staffing needs, and personnel development plans. May be responsible for planning, leading and implementation of hiring initiatives, personnel acquisition or internal staffing programs. May source active and passive applicants, recruit, screen, interview and staff for highly specialized and difficult-to- attract positions. May assist new hire employees to assimilate to the business or develop within their respective positions. This position requires the creation of sourcing strategies that would generally include significant coordination with the client on required skills, identifying competitor information and researching industry terms. This position is responsible for creating sourcing pools and utilizing internet boards, referral networks and industry specific user groups to identify passive candidates not typically found through the standard job posting procedures. Collaborates with clients to understand staffing gaps and expected future workforce requirements. Recognized as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) regarding recruiting and staffing policies, practices, trends and technology and/or labor contracts and determines approach to apply comprehensive knowledge to drive to issue resolution. Regularly meets, consults and presents staffing project initiatives to both 3rd and 4th level leaders and client senior managers. Familiar with internal and competitor compensation, benefits, and attrition within human resources field. Ensures that recruiting and hiring activities are in compliance with government regulations and organizational policies and procedures. Interprets internal or external business issues and recommends best- practices. Takes a broad perspective to identify innovative and advanced solutions. Often leads functional teams or projects. May provide training or mentoring to less experienced staff, and may provide feedback for the evaluation of new staff."

What’s your professional background & why did you pursue your current career? 

I am prior Army. I was enlisted, and then I went to Officer Candidate School. I also have a BA in communications, MA in human resource management, and a doctorate in human resource management and organizational development. I serve on several national boards internal and external to AT&T. I believe this career chose me. I am a natural networker, and I met the hiring manager for this position, had a conversation with her about everything but that I was looking for a new job and she asked me to apply to a job she had open. After I was hired, I asked her why she selected me. She said it had nothing to do with my background but everything to do with my personality—that she knew I was going to be good at this job.

How do you help the company?

I sell AT&T every day, the benefits of working here and the reason they should be in that technical role, and I do everything ethical I can to get the most qualified best candidates for AT&T. In addition, I volunteer (A LOT), and I am the President's Volunteer Service Award winner for the 15th time 

What does a typical workday look like?

I have a busy schedule. I am hands on, so I like to speak to my clients and my candidates with passion and let them know that I care about doing what’s right for them and the company. I even network with groups internally and externally to make sure I have a very diverse group of candidates and ideas for my clients.  

What are the three most important parts of your job?

Being consistent, being accurate, and being there.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

The constant workload. I currently have 130 openings to manage. An average workload is 40.

What’s the best part of your job?

Making people happy. There is nothing like getting a call from my client and saying I just love the candidate you sent me or listening to a candidate cry after they received their dream job offer.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in being a lead talent acquisition manager?

Just like the job description. It helps build the company’s brand, build your own brand ,and be true to the reason you want to be a technical recruiter and help people find that perfect fit not just to fill the job.

Alice Lawrence 

Talent Acquisition Manager at Brighthouse Financial with seven years of experience

What does a talent acquisition manager do?

As a people manager, my No. 1 priority will always be ensuring the success of the people I lead, even when my own workload is heavy. I also run a full bench—meaning, I recruit for openings and partner with our hiring managers to provide guidance on their open positions. Our team of five recruiters is skilled at sourcing for a talented, diverse slate of candidates, and we always strive to give those candidates a great experience. We also pride ourselves in our consultative approach to partnering with hiring managers and HR Business Partners by providing relevant market data and creative approaches to fill difficult positions with the right people! I am fortunate enough to work with great leadership who often pull me into unique projects such as assisting with succession planning, talent-retention-related initiatives, employee lifecycle overview, and various other opportunities that allow me to grow personally and professionally. 

What’s your professional background and why did you pursue your current career?

I graduated from NC State University in 2009. With the economy still reeling from the Great Recession, it was a rough time to graduate, and there were few jobs available. I began my career in an administrative role at a construction company here in Charlotte and eventually moved into accounts payable for a few years. I knew that accounting wasn’t the right long-term fit for me, but I knew enough about it to recruit for it! A former colleague of mine moved into recruiting and asked me to join his team with a recruiting agency. I was there for three years, and during my time I was introduced to Brighthouse Financial as a client. As I got to know the company better, I fell in love with the culture, and eventually asked to join our amazing team… and the rest is history! I love what I do. I love the chase of finding great people and connecting them to this company that I am so passionate about. Mostly, I love the team and the culture we have—it’s what keeps me coming back every day! 

How do you help the company?

I help us find and hire great people. I certainly do not create great people, but I’m good at finding them and introducing them to Brighthouse Financial. I strive to continuously help my team of recruiters grow and develop professionally. And I KNOW that I help keep our team goofy—I’ve always been the class clown in HR.  

What does a typical workday look like?

I break my weeks into five core focus areas: (1) sourcing/resume review and phone screens, (2) hiring manager/business unit meetings and communication, (3) one-on-one meetings with my team members and my manager, (4) presenting offers and preparing candidates for onboarding, and (5) special projects or personal development. Some days it’s a lot of one thing, others it’s a steady blend!  

What are the three most important parts of your job?

Team success, hiring manager partnership, and candidate experience. 

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Managing multiple peoples’ expectations effectively can be a hard task. It’s important, and I enjoy it, but it’s hard. I want both the candidate and the hiring manager to get everything they want, but all relationships require compromise and flexibility. Being transparent with both parties and setting expectations early is essential.

What’s the best part of your job?

Making someone’s day with a job offer, that is a fun call to make! It is very rewarding to watch those people thrive and stay connected after they join Brighthouse Financial. 

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in being a talent acquisition manager? 

Be vulnerable. This works in all areas. Be vulnerable with candidates and honestly discuss their backgrounds and the position. Don’t just try to sell them into a job. Be vulnerable with the hiring managers and tell them when the market isn’t supporting their demand, even if you know it’s not what they want to hear. Be vulnerable as a leader and show your teammates that you’re compassionate and willing to take feedback to better yourself. The more areas of your life that you’re willing to be vulnerable in, the more success and respect you’ll earn over time.

Lauren Saltus

Technical Recruiter at with four years of experience

What does a technical recruiter do?

Yes, a technical recruiter's main job is to fill open roles with qualified candidates. But there’s a lot more under the hood in order to get there: 

  • We need to understand team needs and work as an advisor to hiring managers to define those needs 
  • Create a structured interview process to assess candidates based on standardized guidelines
  • Source, screen, and pass along the most qualified candidates. Potentially working with external recruiting partners to do so.
  • Ensure an amazing candidate experience throughout the interview process and showcase what it could be like to work for or [insert your company name here]
  • Keep everyone, candidates and hiring managers alike, informed and prepared for next steps
  • Advise on and extend offers

Once you’ve found that amazing candidate for the job—especially in this market—sell, sell, sell! Outside the recruiting process itself, technical recruiters can also have their hands in so much more depending on the organization and their needs. For example:

  • Employment branding; ie. running an engineering blog or finding podcasts for your engineers to speak on

  • Public speaking; whether internally reporting on hiring progress or market trends, or externally on process or best practices

What’s your professional background, and why did you pursue recruiting?

I started my career in agency tech recruiting right out of college! I was helping a lot of different companies scale their tech teams, from startups, to health care, to nonprofits. When I felt the need for more direct ownership and impact, I made the move in-house to a marketing technology startup as the sole technical recruiter, and had the opportunity to work with some pretty amazing people to build an engineering team there. Fast forward to, and I’ve helped grow their tech teams by over 50 people and made countless professional connections. Over the past four years, I’ve always loved getting to see the teams that I helped build flourish! 

How do you help the company?

As a tech recruiter for a product company, your impact is crystal clear. The wonderful humans we hire literally build the product our users (hopefully) love! The other thing I love about the impact of my job is getting to build a culture. Watching those we hire not only contribute to the growth of the product, but the growth of those around them as well, is second to none. 

What does a typical workday look like?

A typical workday for me always starts with my inbox! I try to save my mornings (before noon) to play a little game of email catch up: seeing if I can get my inbox down to zero before moving on to my daily to-do list. If there’s time, I’ll also source a bit for the highest priority open roles. I guard my lunch block religiously so I can take a walk with my pup! Then the remainder of my day is typically back to back meetings, both internal and external. Those meetings usually consist of interviews or 1:1’s with my team and/or hiring managers, but with a sprinkle of candidate debriefs, new role kick-offs, or joining in on engineering ceremonies. Lastly, I can’t forget my No Meeting Friday rule, which works (most) of the time :) The more I protect the boundaries I set in my schedule, the more productive I am!

What are the three most important parts of your job?

  • Candidate experience. I always say the interview process is a direct reflection of what it’d be like to work at that company. Don’t take it lightly.

  • Understanding the why behind what you’re doing. Not only does it lead to better quality work, but also a shared sense of belonging and accomplishment between you and your coworkers. This is true for any job, but especially in building tech teams!

  • Lastly, and definitely not least: the people I do it with. They were the largest part of why I decided to join After all, recruiting is a ‘team sport’ in nature. The job wouldn’t get done with just one person and the people you do it with make or break the experience! 

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Tech recruiting is a constant (everchanging) challenge, which is one of the reasons I love it, but also means that the ‘hardest part’ of our job changes from day-to-day. One of the more recent difficult lessons I’ve learned is that there’s always more to do in recruiting. One more outreach you can make, one more phone screen to squeeze in for the week, one more hire to make for the quarter. It’s never done! Learning and practicing prioritization based on business needs, understanding my capacity as a recruiter, and setting boundaries so I can accomplish realistic goals has been an interesting challenge at a growing startup.

What’s the best part of your job?

Undoubtedly, the best part of my job is watching the people I hire thrive in our culture and grow professionally.

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in being a technical recruiter?

  • Ask as many questions as you can! I didn’t have a technical background, so I became a sponge, utilized my network, and learned from those around me (including the internet). 
  • Be authentic! You’re working with people so the more authentic + transparent you are during the hiring process, the more trust you’ll build and the easier the relationship will be.

Susie Huguet 

Senior Technical Recruiter at Databricks with more than eight years of experience

What does a technical recruiter do? 

A lot more than most people realize. Yes, most technical recruiters are hired to help grow engineering teams in the simplest of terms, but there’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes and a lot more value technical recruiters can add to an organization. We’re usually the first interaction and advocate for individuals and the organization but beyond that, our role has various layers which are a daily reminder of the humanity involved when making such a crucial life decision: changing jobs. On a daily basis, technical recruiters listen, advise, research, learn, multi-task, collaborate, strategize, drive urgency, negotiate, laugh, (cry) and function as the middleman between a lot of different moving pieces and people.

We have the pleasure of being one of the first people to celebrate when others get the job, with the stark contrast of being the messenger who relays the dreaded bad news of a failed interview. 

What’s your professional background, and why did you pursue your current career? 

I have an undergraduate degree in liberal studies and I double majored in Spanish with the intent to go into education. While I have the utmost respect for teachers and education, I realized that wasn’t my calling and luckily got referred into the world of recruiting. Like many recruiters today, this is a role I ‘fell into’, I started out as an agency recruiter and thought I wanted to go into sales. However, I quickly realized I loved many aspects of being a recruiter and didn’t realize there was a tailored profession around some of my strengths and interests like relationship building, advising, mentoring, strategizing, etc. 

How do you help the company?

This might be somewhat obvious but I grow teams. I bring my own experience and perspectives to Databricks engineering partners and support my candidates through the hiring process. I also keep tabs on the market for in-study trends and competitive intel. When you’re a technical recruiter in Silicon Valley you quickly learn the value of knowing your space.  

What does a typical workday look like? 

No day tends to be the same but the one common thing is there aren’t enough hours in the day-- usually it’s a combination of candidate calls, onsite preparation calls, pipeline meetings, team sync/collaboration meetings, hiring manager/client management sync, offer calls, rejection calls (my least favorite, nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news), and a whole lot of administrative upkeep. My personal favorite is when I get to support an external networking event or revamping an interview process. 

What are the three most important parts of your job? 

Empathy, urgency, and time management. 

What’s the hardest part of your job? 

Rejection calls. There is nothing worse than giving the news to someone that’s about to crush their spirits, especially when it’s someone who mentions this is their dream job or second time interviewing or they barely missed the mark. It can also be especially hard when some companies have strict feedback policies and you aren’t able to share details. 

What’s the best part of your job? 

Definitely the relationships I’ve built over the years. I’ve had teammates who have become life-long friends and candidates whom I have worked with years ago that I still keep in touch with. I also have colleagues from different departments who have taught me new things I usually would not get exposure to, and look forward to continuing learning from them in the future (including the ones I haven’t met yet). 

What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone interested in being a technical recruiter? 

Build tough skin (try not to take things personally) and establish a core set of teammates/mentors around you. One of my first managers explained to me that recruiting is a lot like going on a roller coaster ride and the most important thing is to choose the people in your car wisely --they’re the ones who will pick you up on your lows and be the ones there to enjoy the highs.

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