How to Source Tech Candidates on Goodreads

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Apr 21, 2016
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

Hiring tech talent is fast becoming a headache for sourcers. The traditional recruiting channels are overcrowded, and sourcers are being forced to turn to some unlikely places to find the best candidates.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share a tactic that we’ve used at Beamery to find the candidates who don’t want to be found…

How can you use Goodreads for Sourcing?

Goodreads is an online community where users rate and discuss books with other readers. Sounds like it might be great for spotting the next great American Novel, but how can it help you source better?

The beauty of Goodreads is that sourcers can get their hands on reviews of popular engineering books. This is a real godsend.

Let’s walk through an example req:

We’ll keep it basic. You’re looking for a new Front-End Engineer to join your team and you’ve exhausted all ‘traditional’ sources.

Your Goodreads sleuthing begins with a simple Google search for javascript books.

Picking a popular book is important because it’s likely to have received hundreds of reviews by a vast range of engineers. Once you choose your book, you can scroll down the page to see the reviews.

By reading an engineer’s review of a technical book, you can quickly build an idea of expertise and fit. Reviews will illustrate the opinions, interests, personality, and a range of data points that you can help you start a conversation.

It doesn’t just stop with the reviews. Dig a little deeper on the site, and you’ll find that member profiles on Goodreads are a recruiting goldmine. This is partly because members often list their contact details, personal websites, and social profiles to help them connect with other ‘Goodread-ers’. This makes it easy for you to reach out to them and share your opportunity.

Even more valuable is that you’ll also get direct access to their Goodread ‘friends’.

These are people who usually have similar interests, capabilities, and make great additions to your leads list. You can repeat this trick until you’ve found enough relevant candidates for your role. Researching candidates in this way also has the added benefit of helping you brush up on your technical knowledge for the interview stage.

What books should you start with?

A quick Google search should give you a good number of technical books to get started with. I recommend popular titles like Javascript: The Definitive Guide that are likely to have a large number of reviews.

Try referencing any reviews you’ve read to the candidate when you reach out. It shows her that you’ve invested a lot of effort into working out whether she would make a good hire, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting a response.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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