Not Yet Recruiting on Hacker News? 8 Ways to Get Started

November 5, 2014 at 11:42 AM by Vivek Reddy

how to recruit engineersAs of 2013, Hacker News gets about 200,000 unique visitors on any given weekday, according to TechCrunch – and we wouldn’t be surprised if that number has more than doubled since then. 

While Y Combinator-funded companies are able to post jobs to Hacker News’s front page regularly, the social news site for programmers and entrepreneurs opens the floodgates for other companies on the first of every month. All non-Y Combinator companies can post jobs to the "Ask HN: Who is Hiring?" thread and best of all – it's free. 

If you’re not already reaching out to the Hacker News community for potential hires, your company is missing out on a significant bulk of qualified tech talent who are actively searching for a new position. 

A couple notes on posting jobs to Hacker News: 

  1. If you post every month, make sure to vary what the post looks like. To my knowledge, if you copy and post the exact same post each month, you'll get downvoted or the post may not even show up. 

  2. Try to post the open req under the founder, VP of Engineering or another engineer's HN account. The community tends to favor posts that come directly from one of those three people.

Recruiters can quickly spot active candidates by visiting Hacker News’ "Ask HN: Who Wants to Be Hired?" thread. This thread also posts to the front page of Hacker News on the first of every month. People who frequent Hacker News can post their skillsets, the type of position they're looking for (remote, full-time, etc.), location and contact information.

Recruiters can dig through over 100 responses on this thread and reach out to candidates they’re most interested in. I generally will only reach out to less than five people on the thread, but it proves to be high quality candidates who are looking for work right now.

Tips on recruiting talent on Hacker News:

  • Frequent Hacker News and read about topics that are relevant to your engineering team. Occasionally you'll see some candidates write about something that's highly relevant to a project your engineering team has worked on, whether it be on a blog post of their or an interesting comment they make on another writer’s post.

    In these scenarios, you can click through to their HN profile to see if they have any links to their public profiles or contact information. If you can't find their profile, oftentimes the person's Hacker News username is the same one they use for GitHub, and then you can cross-reference them using a service like Entelo to learn more about the person and reach out.

  • Be sure to reference the comment or blog post they wrote or found them through. Even if the person isn't looking for a new role, you've already flattered them by reading and writing something thoughtful and relevant, and that’ll go a long way toward making the person respect you and your organization.

  • Mine through the "Show HN" section. HN regulars occasionally post side projects using this thread. If you find interesting projects that pertain to what your engineering team is working on, it makes for an easy icebreaker when you decide to reach out. As mentioned previously, you can also cross-reference their HN usernames with their GitHub profiles to search and reach out to candidates, if their HN profiles can’t be found.

This blog post offers just a sneak peek of the resources recruiters can use to find tech talent for their tough-to-fill roles. If you’d like to learn more about recruiting engineers on some of the largest tech networks, be sure to check out our full webinar on sourcing talent on GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Hacker News! how to recruit top tech talent