You are swamped. We get it. Technical sourcing is getting more difficult and more competitive. Everyone is looking at the same few websites and using the same search tools. And they are all chasing after the same candidates with the same keywords.
Adding to the difficulties is the need to screen for candidates who are experienced with specific technologies required for the position.
A big problem when you are sourcing passive candidates is to understand whether the person really knows a particular technology or not. Many developers will list the latest technology on their resume/LinkedIn profile whether they have experiences or just played around with it.
Sometimes it easy to validate. Many times, it is not. Their job may or may or not utilize the specific skills and unless if you have an in-depth knowledge of their company’s tech stack (or sit at cubicle next to them), you will not know.
You can also filter for only those that are working for top tech companies. There are few problems with that: a) Good luck trying to get them to leave b) every other recruiter is also talking to them c) You still may not know whether they use a particular tech skill at work. And you are limiting your search to a very tiny pool.
What if there is a way for you to sit back and let the tech communities help you source?
The 4-Hour Sourcing Workweek
Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek” is a popular book that espouses outsourcing whenever possible and working smarter. Here we will outsource the screening of tech credentials to the tech communities.
Let the knowledgeable GitHub and Stack Overflow communities help you source. Unlike regular social media with its superficial “you follow me, I follow you’ practice”, both GitHub and Stack Overflow feedback/rating from the community are very utilitarian based. There are no beauty pageants there.
GitHub users star a repository (repo) that they find useful. This is a great opportunity for recruiters to see who the darlings of the developer community are.
On GitHub, you can sort by the top repos per technology. Want to find the person with the highest stars for their python repos? You can search that easily.
A Few Hurdles to GitHub Bliss
The first hurdle is that you can’t sort by location so you have to click through the repo and then the user profile to find any user information.
While you can see individual profiles, chances are the profile is missing significant information such as location, social media, name, and email.
Even if you are able to find someone in the location that you are sourcing, chances are that the profile is missing other information. That will force you to go back to the original tech search and click on another relevant repo.
Another problem with searching by GitHub repos is that popular tech platforms like React and TensorFlow are searchable but the repos are categorized only by languages (Python, Java), which makes sorting them out a little more challenging.
And while you can sort from highest starred repos, you are looking only at single repos and you can miss out on someone who is very productive with many repos but none of the repos are highly ranked.
Stack Overflow should be easier to use than GitHub. Stack Overflow actually list the top contributors and you can even search by particular technology. There are medals and points for all the major tech skills. The main problem with Stack Over is that the profiles there are even more barren then those on GitHub. While GitHub asks for real names, Stack Overflow profiles only contain usernames.
Tech Skill Ranking and Other Lifesavers for Tech Recruiting
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to sort by users with the most stars per technology instead of just sorting by repos? And wouldn’t it be nice to be able to search for the best in a particular tech skill by specific locations and see a complete profile of them, including work history, social media, and personal email?
We have ranked all active members of GitHub and Stack Overflow. We are not claiming that this comprehensive as many developers are not on these sites. And with GitHub, even if they are a member, they may not be able to have public repos for a number of reasons.
With that caveat, it is still extremely useful to look at the top python, Scala, java, etc developers by location. The results may surprise you. Many developers are transitioning and using traditional keyword search on LinkedIn may not source a good developer in a specific technology.