Over the last few weeks I’ve taken a deep dive into Reddit as a sourcing method and what I have found is nothing short of fascinating. I have been a “redditor” for over six years now, and I’ve done more than my fair share of lurking and occasional posting to a variety of communities.
What is Reddit?
If you spend a lot of time on the internet, there’s a good chance you’ve heard if Reddit even if you haven’t used it but some of you may be wondering what it is. I would describe it as a large community of users exchanging ideas and discussions and a collection of forums that include just about any subject imaginable. You can read about or discuss anything from new, technology, memes, TV shows, etc. Often for fun, I have used the “random subreddit” feature where it will help you discover new communities.
The topics range anywhere from eye-opening to hilarious, to downright bizarre. I would have to say that the wackiest sub I have ever landed on was r/grandpajoehate. It’s a discussion board dedicated entirely to hating the character Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What’s even weirder is it’s surprisingly active. Aside from all of the zany things you can stumble upon on this massive collection of forums, the platform is also a harbor for hidden gems and rich talent communities. Reddit was never intended to be a vehicle for job searching or talent sourcing, but it’s one that presents a significant amount of untapped potential for both purposes.
I’m somewhat surprised that it hasn’t been widely used to find talent considering that it is now the fifth most used site in the United States. The format of the platform can make it challenging and often more time consuming to conduct sourcing which can be intimidating. Reddit allows users to interact in communities with a certain amount of anonymity which for sourcers, has its pros and cons. Since each user profile is not geotagged to a specific region, it can be difficult to find users in a specific market.
On the other hand, with anonymity, brings a form of authenticity that can’t be seen from a perfectly written resume and clean LinkedIn profile. Half the battle of gaining the attention of candidates is knowing what is going on in their world. Reddit can be an exclusive window into the trenches of the true wants, desires, and common frustrations of someone in a specific profession or skill. We can no longer rely on hoping that the best talent will make themselves easily visible. Therefore we must shift toward infiltrating and understanding their niche communities.
Before diving into this medium to find talent, it’s crucial that you first gain a deep understanding of Reddit culture and etiquette (also called reddiquette). You cannot approach users in the same way you would a candidate on Indeed or Linkedin. Reddit users flock to these forums to get away from spam-like messaging and in your face pleas for attention from recruiters.
If you do not already have an account, my best advice would be to spend at least a solid month interacting on Reddit and building up Karma (see in the lingo below) before getting serious about actively sourcing. Communicating messages in the wrong way can get your posts deleted downvoted into oblivion or even banned. To get started, here are some need to know terms and jargon that you will see often.
Subreddit or “sub”- Small or large communities that make up Reddit as a whole. It will often be referenced by an “r” in front of the title. For example, a subreddit about gaming would be r/gaming
OP- stands for “original poster” or the person who starts a thread within a subreddit.
TLDR– Too long didn’t read, sometimes posted after a lengthy commentary to summarize at the bottom of the submission.
NSFW- stands for “not safe for work” This tag is added to posts that include content like nudity or excessive profanity so essentially, don’t open anything tagged as such at work.
Upvote/Downvote– Reddit runs on a rating system where users can vote a post upward or downward. The sum of upvotes and downvotes will determine how high up on the page the post will be.
Cake Day and Karma- A user’s cake day is when they joined Reddit. Karma is gained through posting discussions and getting upvotes from other users. Users may be more suspicious of newer accounts or if they can tell you don’t contribute often.
AMA- stands for “Ask me anything” This is based off of the subreddit r/AMA. This is one of the most popular subs where people of various background and experiences can share knowledge and interact. Celebrities such as Nick Offerman, Barak Obama, Marta Stewart, etc. have even made appearances on Reddit and answered questions from users.
A more complete Reddit glossary can be found here
Once you decide to create an account, you will automatically be subscribed to the most popular subreddits which change over time. The current list can be found here. In part two we will dive into how to select which subreddits to subscribe to based on the type of roles you source for as well as tips and guidelines for interacting in the communities.