I hate to say it, but as a modern tech recruiter, if you're not working Github research into your workflow, you are miles behind. GitHub boasts over 3.3 million users and 3.5 million individual coding projects, all of them ripe for the sourcing! Read on to learn more about the social programming site, and how you can best use it in your recruitment efforts.
For recruiters, Github is incredibly important as developers will oftentimes have public projects that can be viewed, providing great insight into developers’ portfolios, professional interests and inﬂuence. Let’s take a look at David Heinemeier Hansson’s (aka DHH, the creator or Ruby on Rails) Github proﬁle:
On the left side of these proﬁles, you’ll notice some valuable information including:
- Current Organization he or she is a part of (i.e. 37signals)
- Location (Chicago, IL)
- Email address
- Personal website
- Number of followers, starred repos and number of people he or she is following
While this data may not always be fresh as not all developers frequent Github often, we can still derive some great meaning for the purposes of recruiting. For one, understanding languages that a candidate has posted projects in provides a quick perspective of his or her specialties. Additionally, between an email address being readily available and a personal website (frequently), many candidates will have provided a way of reaching out to them directly.Number of followers also serves as a good proxy for the developers inﬂuence on Github. The more followers a developer has, the more people that pay attention to projects that they post which generally correlates to the strength of their contributions. As a general rule of thumb, having 2-10 followers is good, 11-25 followers is great, 25-75 followers is exceptional, and >75 followers are people that will be extremely difficult to recruit as they’re usually avid open-source contributors from notoriously difficult organizations to recruit from (i.e. 37signals, Github, Heroku).
One note on this: having many followers (i.e. DHH having 4.3k) usually signiﬁes that a candidate is extremely good and difcult to recruit, but not having many followers does not mean that the candidate is necessarily lacking. Some people simply aren’t active on Github, so do be careful to use this data in the proper context.
If you happen to come across a developer that you really respect but know won’t be someone you can hire, taking a look at their starred repositories and people they follow could also prove to be a great resource for discovering developers that may have the skillsets you’re looking for.
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