Sourcing for Candidates on Forums

Forum sites can be an excellent place to find candidates that may not be “out there” on the normal job boards. Especially with niche populations, it is important to go where the active users “live,” comment, and ask questions. After reading Erin Mathews Reddit articles, I finally got some time to dive into more forums.

Her articles help me understand the “bylaws” and what the heck a subreddit was, so definitely check them out when you get the chance.

In my research, I came across a forum through a GitHub repository, one that leads me to the realm of Discord. Discord is a gamers community which I soon discovered is often populated by developers. There were similar bylaws for posts about hiring, so one must be very careful or risk getting kicked out of the community they are attempting to source. I posted using the set parameters:

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt [HIRING] [FULLTIME] locations: Boston, Chicago, Dublin, Montreal

However, here’s where you add a little humanity. Instead of posting a boring job posting, or a long overzealous tech stack, this was my message:

A quick blurb, within set parameters ([HIRING] [FULL TIME]), with locations, and a video showing our culture. A bit later I posted a moving GIF to help people notice. It may not seem like much of a difference, but simple variations like this can separate a company from others. Many of the interviews that have resulted from this single post have brought us candidates with a passion for education with the tech stack specific to this community. That’s a huge freaking win. And the numbers? Well, honestly, I lost count after I had more than 12 engineers talking to me in less than 24 hours.

So I searched around some more forums. Hackernews was a bit “meh” in this case, but one of the popular topics included a “who is hiring” group. Both employers and candidates could utilize this group to connect and talk about employment opportunities.

After some more digging, I found a similar “who is hiring” group via a Subreddit, which was fully inclusive of thousands of members, with similar bylaws of course. That’s a heck of an open door!

Also, no one had to pull emails or contact information. Interest came pretty immediately in the chats, and some people even emailed me directly.

Old Schooling it with the New Skool

GitHub was another place software folks “live,” even though sourcers must navigate the repo world in a different way than straight Boolean. The advantage of signing in and searching through GitHub is the easy access to profile information.

For instance, if you sign into GitHub and search within set parameters, one can pull several emails and even candidate websites (including resumes or CVs). When one searches GitHub, or any repo/forum, ALWAYS sign in. You don’t always have to hack something to get info; sometimes the ultimate hack merely is a login.

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One of my GitHub workflows looks like this:

  • Log in to GitHub
  • Search for people using language and location operators: Language:javascript location:dallas
  • Using an extension called Autopagerize, I can scroll down to pull in the entire list.
  • Extract list with your Scraper of Choice (quick and dirty extraction with this public Data Miner recipe): Hawkes #SourcingIRL GitHubber
  • Pull data into a CS, including in emails (in this instance)

One can build a complex scraper to click into each profile and pull more info, but that’s perhaps something I’ll address in a future article. What should be noted is the number of emails and the ease in which one can access them. In this workflow, we did not use email extractors or Chrome tools to “find” the emails; we merely pulled them from the website itself.

Candidate Identification is Not Always the Problem

The biggest hurdle some companies have is not candidate identification; it is candidate experience and candidate engagement. This is what led me back to Bomb Bomb mentioned but Michael Crouse and Dean Da Costa previously.

Bomb Bomb is a video messaging tool that integrates with your email so you can send short personalized videos to an individual or an entire audience. Built similar to Zoom and Loom, you may have to do some configuration with your audio and video settings, but it is one of the more user-friendly tools out there. My favorite part is that it integrates with my work outlook email so that I can send these videos from my HMH email.

Below is a quick overview

As a result, when I send an email, it includes a personalized video built with Bomb Bomb, as well as links to other videos about HMH in my signature. And this all takes about the same amount of time as writing a traditional candidate focused email. Candidates can see my face, listen to and watch a 30 spot about what we are hiring for and what we do, and see the humanity of it all. I’m not a robot behind an email; I’m a real live human reaching out, giving info, and seeing if there’s something I can do to help. Now that’s an engaging message.

If Bomb Bomb isn’t your thing, you can also take a look at Dubb, which is similar technology.

Greg Hawkes is a Strategic Talent Sourcer, Speaker, Author, and Founder of the HRSourcingToolbox. He has worked as both a Technical Recruiter and Sourcing Analyst for healthcare, engineering, biotechnology, manufacturing and many other industries. He has been in the recruitment field for over 10 years, and got into heavy sourcing and headhunting back in 2012. He is an ongoing contributor to SourceCon – with topics ranging from Site Searches and CSEs, to Deep Dives andURL Sourcing. While preparing to speak at SourceCon 2017, he built the HRSourcingToolbox with a large inventory of Free Recruitment and Sourcing Tools. He has recently joined Houghton Mifflin Harcourt as a Strategic Sourcer and loving every minute of it! He is a huge fan of emerging technologies and Boolean Syntax and always willing to share a technique or hack to find the elusive purple squirrel.

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