How to Get a Tech HR Job

STEP 1: WHAT'S Human Resources ALL ABOUT?

LinkedIn's Recruiter platform

LinkedIn's Recruiter platform

  • AKA: HR
  • Overview: HR is responsible for hiring and retaining talent, so they cover everything from recruiting to managing benefits.
  • Example project: Hire five Java programmers.
  • What you do all day: Find talent, develop great programs/benefits for existing talent
  • Roles: Sourcer (finds candidates), Recruiter (leads candidates through hiring process), Learning and Development/Training (trains existing hires), HR Business Partner (liaises with specific teams to handle all HR needs from recruiting to exit interviews), Operations (handles all of the HR systems)
  • What they look for: People with strong social skills (to represent the company well) and organizational abilities (to manage complex HR processes)
  • Example job: Technical Recruiter, Facebook


Ask yourself if you'd love doing these kinds of things all day:

  • Finding and attracting top talent
  • Interviewing candidates
  • Negotiating with and persuading candidates to join your organization
  • Training people
  • Working with managers to support their HR needs

If your answer is "Yes" to the majority of activities, you'd likely be a good fit for HR.


For each major activity, I've listed the most common keywords from across dozens of job descriptions, as well as a sample resume bullet:

·      Finding and attracting the top talent

o   Keywords: talent pipeline, sourcing channels, online research, networking, talent search, identify talent

o   Sample Bullet: Increased pipeline of top candidates 125% by adding Twitter and Pinterest to our sourcing channels

·      Interviewing candidates

o   Keywords: evaluate candidates, candidate assessment, hiring process, hiring discussions, hiring committee, interview training, partnering with hiring managers

o   Sample Bullet: Implemented standardized assessment process across the organization, leading to a 25% increase in hiring committee agreement

·      Negotiating with and persuading candidates to join your organization

o   Keywords: offer, negotiation, compensation, close candidates, selling offers

o   Sample Bullet: Closed 80% of candidates with competitive offers, 15 points higher than any other recruiter

·      Training people

o   Keywords: learning and development, training, curricula, classroom instruction, e-learning, learning solutions, people development, learning design, performance management

o   Sample Bullet: Developed new manager training curricula that led to a 15% uptick in staff retention

·      Working with managers to support their HR needs

o   Keywords: trusted advisor, partner with hiring managers, HR strategy, program design, HR business partner, HR generalist, employee relations, change management, coaching, conflict management, thought leadership

o   Sample Bullet: Provided thought leadership to seven C-level executives, helping oversee a 75% increase in headcount over four years


If you want to brush up on any of these skills, check out Catherine Mattice Zundel's Strategic Human Resources course on Lynda. I like two things about this course in particular:

  1. It's not focused on HR minutiae. Instead of worrying about weird technicalities with health insurance or benefit administration, it shows you how to become a powerful HR partner at a strategic, high value level.
  2. It covers the whole gamut of things that matter in HR - from recruiting to training to building an amazing employee culture.