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Recruiting on GitHub: A beginner’s guide to sourcing tech candidates on GitHub

Discover how to find elite tech talent on GitHub, a platform for developers to showcase, collaborate, and learn from shared code projects.


In today’s fast-paced tech landscape, finding top tech talent can be insanely difficult. Reasons?

  • The tech industry frequently faces a shortage of qualified candidates, especially specialized roles such as data scientists, and cybersecurity experts. 
  • High-demand tech roles often attract attention from multiple companies, leading to intense competition for top talent. Tech giants, startups, and established firms all eye the same candidates. 
  • Technology evolves rapidly, and the skills needed for certain roles can change quickly. Recruiters must keep up with these changes and identify candidates with the most relevant skills.
Enter GitHub. To solve for all of the above, GitHub is a quick-fix. Let’s explore more:

Why GitHub?

GitHub is a code hosting platform where technical developers can share their work, collaborate on projects, and learn from each other. In short, it's a great place to find top tech talent. 

Here are a few reasons why:

There are over 100+ million active GitHub developers, and that number is always growing. This means that there’s a large pool of potential candidates to choose from.

One must understand that developers are some of the most in-demand professionals in and around the world and GitHub users are constantly learning and growing. So we can be sure that they are up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies.

These user profiles include information about candidate’s skill, experience and projects accomplished. You can also see their contributions to other repositories and their interactions with other users. This information can help you quickly and easily assess whether a candidate is a good fit for your role. 

Here are some facts that support GitHub’s surge in popularity over the years.
  • As of June 2021, GitHub has generated more than 5.09% of the referral traffic to LinkedIn, making it the second leading traffic source to LinkedIn worldwide 2021.
  • 84% of the Fortune 100 companies use GitHub Enterprise, to help them streamline their security, administration, and collaboration efforts. 
  • 100 million developers are using GitHub. There are now officially more than 100 million developers using GitHub to build, maintain, and contribute to software projects.

How to source candidates on GitHub

There are few different ways to source on GitHub. Here is a step by step guide describing effective methods for sourcing candidates.

  • Create an account

Most importantly, creating an account with your basic information and a profile photo should help you begin with your searching process on GitHub

Creating an account is the first step to sourcing candidates on GitHub
  • Use the GitHub search bar

The GitHub search bar is a pretty powerful tool which allows you to search for candidates based on a variety of criteria, such as programming language, location, and skills. 

Using the search bar Creating an account is the second step to sourcing candidates on GitHub
  • Browse popular repositories

Popular repositories are a great place to find talented developers who are working on specific projects.

  • Use GitHub recruiting tools

There are a number of GitHub recruiting tools that can help you automate your sourcing process. These tools can help you find candidates, track your progress and communicate with candidates. 

Tips and Tricks for sourcing candidates on GitHub

Be specific in your search queries

The more specific you are in your search queries, the better your results will be. For example, instead of searching for “software engineer”, try searching for “Java software developer with 5 years of experience”. 

Use of Boolean operators

Boolean operators allow you to combine search terms to create more complex queries. For example, you could use the Boolean operator “AND” to search for candidates who have experience with both Java and Python.

Use Filters

GitHub allows you to filter your search results by a variety of criteria, such as location, programming language, and skills. This will help you narrow down your results and find candidates who are best fit for the role.

Review candidates profiles carefully

Once you have found some potential candidates, take the time to review their profiles carefully. Pay full attention to their skills, experience and projects. You should also look for any red flags, such as lack of recent activity or a history of negative feedback. 

Reach out to candidates directly

Once you have found a few qualified candidates, reach out to them directly. You can send them messages on GitHub or on LinkedIn. Be sure to personalize your message and explain why you are interested in connecting with them. 

Let us look into a few work examples of how companies have used GitHub sourcing to find top tech talent. 

  • Netflix uses GitHub to find candidates for a variety of positions, including software engineers, data scientists and product managers. Netflix recruiters use GitHub to search for candidates with specific skills and experience. 
  • Facebook uses GitHub to find candidates for its engineering and product teams. Recruiters use GitHub to search for candidates who have contributed to popular open source projects. They also review the code of candidates who apply for Facebook jobs.
  • Airbnb uses GitHub to find candidates for their design teams. They search for candidates who have built impressive projects. 
However, even though everything appears to be perfect, there are few downsides  to this approach of sourcing candidates. Let us explore the difficulties that recruiters experience while using GitHub.
  • Vast Amount of profiles

GitHub is a massive platform, and this means the recruiters have a huge pool of candidates to choose from. However, it also makes it difficult to identify qualified candidates, especially for specialized roles. 

  • Lack of standardized profiles

These profiles are not standardized, so recruiters need to spend time understanding each candidate’s experience and skills. This can be time consuming. 

  • Limited contact Information

GitHub profiles often do not include contact information, such as email addresses or phone numbers. This can make it difficult for the recruiters to personally find them on LinkedIn and other platforms. 

  • Competition from other recruiters

More and more recruiters are using GitHub to source candidates, so recruiters need to be competitive in order to attract the best talent. This may require them to offer more competitive salaries and benefits. 

  • Skill relevance and Verification

It can be really tiresome to verify the skills and experience of the candidates on GitHub. The candidates can easily exaggerate their skills and fabricate their contributions to open source projects.

  • Passive candidates

Many of the best candidates on GitHub may be passive candidates, meaning they are not actively looking for a new job.

  • Time and effort investment

Sourcing and screening candidates on GitHub can be time consuming and effort-intensive. Recruiters need to spend time learning how to use GitHub effectively and they need to be willing to put in work to find the best candidates.

  • Bias and diversity

Recruiters may be biased towards candidates who are similar to themselves, or who have a strong online presence. This can lead to a lack of diverse talent pipelines. 

Use Kula to source candidates on GitHub

Automate sourcing on GitHub with Kula 

How does Kula come in handy?

  • One-click sourcing of diverse candidates from GitHub can help you reach a wider pool of qualified candidates, including those who may not be actively looking for a new job.
  • Automated flows can help as you stay connected with passive candidates and engage them in a personalized way. This can help in building relationships with candidates over time and make it easier for recruiting them when you have an open position. 
  • Pre-built Blueprints can help you save time and create effective outreach campaigns easily. Blueprints are based on the highest performing outreach flowson the Kula Platform, so you can be confident that they are effective. 
  • Multichannel engagement flows allow you to reach candidates on their preferred channel, whether that’s email, Inmail or LinkedIn. This gives you a better chance of getting their attention and a better chance for engaging them in a conversation. 
By using Kula to source your candidates from GitHub, you can automate your recruiting process and reach a wider pool of potential candidates more efficiently. Click here to try for free.
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Sandra Rachel Oommen

Content Marketer

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