How Do Technical Recruiters Get Paid?

Tech Recruiter


Ever wondered how technical recruiters land their salaries? It’s a fair question, especially considering the crucial role they play in connecting talented tech professionals with the companies that need them.

In this post, I’ll delve into the world of technical recruiter compensation, exploring the different ways they earn their keep.  

The process can be quite different from how traditional employees are compensated, so buckle up and get ready to learn the secrets behind the technical recruiter paycheck!

How Do Technical Recruiters Get Paid?

Ever wondered how those tech recruiters you chat with online actually make their living? It’s not a salary like most jobs, and there’s a bit more strategy involved than just placing people in positions. 

So, if you’ve ever been curious (or maybe you’re considering a career switch!), let’s delve into the world of technical recruiter compensation.

1. The Commission Game.

Unlike your standard office employee, technical recruiters working for agencies typically don’t get a set paycheck. Instead, they operate on a commission basis. 

This means their income is directly tied to their success in filling open positions.  The most common way this works is through a placement fee, which is a percentage of the hired candidate’s first-year base salary.

2. The Fee Factor.

Now, the exact percentage can vary depending on a few things. Market conditions play a role – in a hot tech job market with tons of talent competition, recruiters might command a higher fee. 

The difficulty of the role itself also factors in. Filling a senior software engineer position with very specific skillset is likely to come with a bigger payout than finding a junior developer.

Generally, though, you can expect the placement fee to fall somewhere between 20% and 30% of the first-year base salary [NerdWallet]. 

So, let’s say a recruiter places a candidate with a $100,000 annual salary. The company would pay the agency a fee of $20,000 to $30,000.

3. The Split: Sharing the Spoils.

But that fee doesn’t go straight to the recruiter’s pocket. It’s typically split between the agency and the individual recruiter, with the exact percentage negotiated beforehand. 

common split is 50/50, meaning our recruiter from the example above would earn $10,000 to $15,000 for that successful placement.

4. Beyond Percentages: Alternative Fee Structures.

While commission is the most common way technical recruiters get paid, there can be some variation. 

Some agencies might offer a base salary with a lower commission percentage. 

This can provide a bit more stability, but the earning potential for top performers might be capped.

Another option is a retainer fee, where the company pays the agency a set amount upfront to handle their recruiting needs for a specific period. 

This is less common for individual placements but can be used for larger projects.


So, as you can see, being a technical recruiter can be a lucrative career path, especially for those who are highly skilled and successful in placing candidates. 

However, it also requires a lot of hustle and hard work. There’s no guarantee of a steady paycheck, and success depends on finding and closing deals.

But if you’re passionate about tech, enjoy connecting with people, and have a knack for sales, then technical recruiting could be a rewarding way to turn your skills into a great income.

What do you think?

Written by Udemezue John

Hello, I'm Udemezue John, a web developer and digital marketer with a passion for financial literacy.

I have always been drawn to the intersection of technology and business, and I believe that the internet offers endless opportunities for entrepreneurs and individuals alike to improve their financial well-being.

You can connect with me on Twitter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings


    Tech Recruiter

    How To Contact a Recruiter On LinkedIn

    Tech Recruiter

    How Do Recruiters Use LinkedIn?