When LinkedIn ‘Recruiter’ is simply not enough to help connect with developers.

Some Things Recruiters Are Not Doing Right

Author Uncategorized 2 Comments

To find great tech talent, a recruiter needs to be able to find them. The best developers may not be on LinkedIn. In fact, Stack Overflow’s study found that 22% of developers do not have a LinkedIn profile. And even if the developer has a LinkedIn profile, there may not have visited LinkedIn in years.

How can recruiters find the best developers if they’re not on LinkedIn? To recruit developers, recruiters need to go where they are.


There are 40 million developers sharing their work on GitHub. GitHub helps recruiters find developers and evaluate their work on the same website. A developer adds their open source work to GitHub for everyone to see. Some developers provide a working example of their project.

A recruiter can use the information on GitHub to evaluate a developer’s skills and knowledge of their domain. A developer that wants to find a new role will put their email in their profile. Personal emails are the gold standard for recruiting. You won’t find that in LinkedIn InMail.
On GitHub, users can filter projects by programming languages. Recruiters do not have to search through developers that do not have the skills they are looking for.

A developer might work on a GitHub repository with more than one person. ‘Accepted’ Pull Requests are the code changes submitted by one developer and accepted (or merged) by the original code author, which indicates that the changes are valued. An accepted pull request is potentially a good sign that the requester is a decent coder, but what does this tell you about the accepting party? In this case, it’s a possible indication that they are not a diva, that they’re receptive to constructive criticism, and that others have talents that they can appreciate, and that they may be coachable and a team player to boot.

GitHub shows you what peers (there are thousands of them for popular repos) actually think of someone’s codes. This is not one of those public testimonials on LinkedIn where people know that everyone will read their testimonials and act accordingly. With GitHub, developers “rate” repos based on an honest evaluation without concern for public scrutiny. If they think a member’s repository is good and useful, they will follow or star it.

The ROI of the small amount of time and effort it takes to get going with GitHub is simply amazing. Read more about GitHub here.

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According to the 2019 Stack Overflow survey, Reddit is the most popular social media site for developers. Reddit has more than 5 times the number of developers on the site compared to Linkedin. Reddit is a forum developers use to converse and discuss topics that most likely are not going to be discussed on sites like LinkedIn or other social media sites.

On Reddit, a recruiter might find insight on recruiter and developer relationship issues. Recruiters might find value in other posts and conversations. The ability to not only see what conversations are occurring but the ability to insert yourself into these conversations is valuable for any tech recruiter.

Whether you are looking to better understand developers, gain insight on issues they might be facing, or make your attempt to recruit, there is much more to uncover on Reddit than other social media sites. Read more about Reddit here.


The attendees of conferences are people that are not on the frontline, developers. What should you do? Create your own conference.
Tech recruiters, save $3000-4000 on conference fees, travel, and hotel costs. Grab a handful of gift cards and find some developers to pick their brains.

Before Covid-19, recruiters could go to tech meetups or hackathons and bring a pizza and some beer (or red bulls for the hackathon). Since hackathons are a developer-friendly event a recruiter can casually approach many developers at an event with ease.

Besides the obvious beer/pizza motivation, developers will actually want to help you since the better you get, the less annoying you will be to them. Developers know where others are and what will get their attention. Read more about conferences here.

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Comments 2

  1. Developer

    There’s some interesting advice here but some I disagree with. Yes a lot of developers use Gitlab as well as similar services: Gitlab, Bitbucket and more. Not all projects on GitHub are public, some are private and some are internal for organizations so you won’t see all of what is going on there. Some organizations are working on entirely proprietary software so you won’t see what those developers are doing at all.

    Contributions to open source are also amazing and a lot of people put in unpaid time or do it as a hobby or indeed to create a portfolio. There’s also some organizations that pay their internal developers to work on open source because that organization depends upon that software. Other organizations sponsor open source foundations or projects.

    There are also people, for example those with children or carer duties that simply don’t have the time outside their paid work to spend on open source. There’s also people who just have different hobbies or do something other than software development outside of work hours.

    if you start to use GitHub contributions and reviews as a metric for judging good developers, firstly you will miss out on a lot of people and secondly it will place unrealistic expectations and pressure on developers to do extreme overtime essentially for free. The idea of a portfolio might make sense for an architect (of buildings) or a photographer or fashion designer where their creations are in the public domain, but a huge amount of software is not, and modifying software to remove trade secrets or other IP is both complicated and time consuming.

    Reddit, as fun as it is, is a massive rabbit hole collection of everything that is the internet, the best and worst of society. Sure there are interesting subreddits, but there are just as many that are obscene, puerile, promote bro-grammer culture and are frequented by trolls or pathetic individuals. Check out the falling out between the Rust programming language community (rustaceans) on Reddit for example. There’s a ton of bots on there – bots ain’t people. There’s also pretty much no one using their real name. Good luck hiring via Reddit.

    Conferences was a good suggestion… before Covid. Hard to mingle and network in online seminars.

    Finally you’ve forgotten the real places that developers frequent: Stackoverflow, Dev.to, hacker news, and a bunch of language specific forums.

  2. Travis

    Developer made some good points. I agree that Reddit is a painful experience to source for IT talent. I know my team at nexus IT group has had some luck on GitHub, but I have not personally found much success there. I will dive deeper into networking on GitHub. Conferences a great place to get in front of talent. Many places you are able to get their attendee list by doing x-ray searching and most individuals are happy to hear from you if your approach is honest and authentic.

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