(Authors Note: This blog uses a large amount of Reddit terminology and jargon specific to this platform. If you are entirely new to Reddit, I recommend reading parts 1 through 3 before tackling this particular subject)
If you have taken the plunge and started searching for talent communities on Reddit you have probably found out quickly just how challenging it is to pinpoint the exact users that fit your ideal profile. Since it was never intended to be a platform for employers to find candidates, the format of the website is not set up to make it easy. Thankfully, many subreddits are increasingly adopting the use of what is called “flair.” On Reddit, Flair is used as a tagging system for posts as well as individual users, and it can be used to filter content, unique identifiers, and resources. Although the concept is simple, it’s not easily noticeable or understood if you’re new to the community. If better understood, however, it will give you a better user experience and enable you to source in a more efficient manner.
Reddit Flair is used in two main ways, to tag posts, and tag users. Keep in mind that not every subreddit uses flair and their use of it varies. This is decided by the moderators, and they can choose to create up to 30 different types of flair that would be useful for indexing topics. To find what kind of flair is used, you can go to the main page of the community and click “create post.” The example below is from the subreddit r/cscareerquestions which is a community for offering advice on careers in the tech industry.
When creating a post, you will have the option to select flair to attach to your topic. In this case, the subreddits allows posts to be tagged by seniority levels including student, new grad, experienced, as well as lead/manager related to computer science related jobs.
Once a user posts a topic using flair, it will appear in the form of a clickable link next to the title of the post. Also, the search bar will populate a Boolean string which you can try using outside of the subreddits to see if any other posts are tagged the same way in other communities. Below, is an example of what you would see if you indexed all of the posts in r/cscareerquestions by a lead/manager.
In order to narrow your search by location, you can do so by going to the pre-populated string in the search bar and adding a location which will filter out any posts that mention the location.
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Some subreddits utilize flair better than others but r/science is known as being one of the best communities in terms of indexing topics. Link flair is mandatory in this subreddits which makes filtering by subject much easier. In addition, users in this community need moderator approval to assign user flair to themselves and they have a verification process before assigning credentials that can be displayed in the sub next to every post.
For example, when you filter topics in r/science, you may see topic flair as well as highlighted user flair next to a contributor’s name for quick reference and credibility related to the subject. The one drawback however is that currently user assigned flair is not clickable and therefore not easy to filter users with a certain credential.
Finally, there are multiple subreddits that use the [Hiring] or [For Hire] flair which can generate some promising results when doing a general search of all subreddits. Enter the string flair_name: “For Hire” and any job titles or locations you want to find. For example, I used the string and added software engineer, and it generated results from several different communities where users posted looking for work.
Although Reddit flair is still somewhat clunky and not always clear cut in its use in every community, having an understanding of it can help you to develop a more strategic sourcing plan if you choose get immersed in this fantastic but sometimes complicated platform.