How Microsoft’s Acquisition of GitHub Will Change Recruiting

For developers, the sky may have fallen. I know our developer team was devastated to hear the news yesterday that Microsoft had acquired GitHub.

While developers may be over exaggerating the pain of Microsoft’s acquisition, there will be changes for both developers and recruiters using GitHub to source.

Don’t look at LinkedIn as the model of how gently Microsoft will treat GitHub. LinkedIn was always a curious acquisition for Microsoft. It was more for sales and business development. Therefore, Microsoft has left LinkedIn intact.

GitHub and its 27 million developers are more to the core of Microsoft. While Steve Ballmer is no longer the CEO, echoes of “developer, developer, developer” linger on. One can see how relevant this acquisition is to Microsoft’s strategy.

There will be two fundamental changes to tech recruiting on GitHub from the acquisition:

  1. Fewer developers on GitHub
  2. Less information available on developer profiles

Everyone is swearing that they will leave GitHub, and unlike all those people who threatened to leave the country after the last presidential election, a sizable number of developers may just follow through on their promise.

Developers are an independent group and certainly not in love with Microsoft. And while Microsoft has promised to keep GitHub technology neutral, it is not in their DNA to do so. This will drive away a second wave of developers from GitHub. The second wave will be a lot bigger than the initial GitHub/Microsoft refugees.

Changes to recruiting on GitHub will be due to the wall that will go up around developer profiles.

By some estimates, GitHub made less than $200 million in revenue last year. To recoup the $7.5 billion price tag, Microsoft will need to get creative to ramp up revenue.

One obvious revenue stream will come from charging for recruiting on GitHub. Just as Stack Overflow has introduced its own recruiting tool, Microsoft will roll out some sort of program for GitHub.

The ability to see a developer’s personal email on his/her profile will be gone. Social media links may also disappear to make it harder on recruiters. Recruiters will have to pay to see this information.

We don’t anticipate these changes to happen overnight. For now, you should still be able to fruitfully source on GitHub provided that you have read our excellent article on GitHub recruiting.

But at some point, recruiters will be squeezed between the Microsoft vise of LinkedIn and GitHub with ever increasing fees and restrictions.

With GitHub soon to be recruiter unfriendly, there are similar sites that you should consider.

Have you used GitLab and Bitbucket to recruit? Probably not but you may want to get a head start now with them before Amazon buys one of them out.

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