How to source talent from GitHub?

Even with social networking getting stronger, finding a candidate that fits your requirements is tricky, even if you are looking for roles like software developer. But this is only true if you are looking for talent in the wrong places. While most recruiters look for candidates on job boards and other social networking sites, millions of tech candidates are waiting to be discovered on tech forums like GitHub, Stack Overflow, ResearchGate, etc.

What is GitHub?

GitHub is a subsidiary of Microsoft that allows users to collaborate with each other. It provides tools for users to share their codes and collaborate by allowing version control of the code. Many students and professionals use GitHub, not only for version control, but also for simply sharing their work and for getting answers to their questions like a forum. GitHub has 40M users and thus is a great source of tech talent.

How do I spot good candidates?

To put it in simpler terms, if you check out Linkedin profile of a candidate, to understand their professional background, if you check out Facebook profile of a candidate to understand his social network presence, the place that you should check out to understand the technical expertise of a developer is GitHub. A developer’s GitHub profile provides a lot of information about his area of interest, expertise and skills.

Basic details:

Basic Details of a candidate on his GitHub profile

You can understand the basic details about the candidate from his GitHub profile like name, current employer, location, email address, websites they have chosen to display and other social profile links of the candidate.

The next thing to look for is followers:

Do not expect too high. Even 26–75 is exceptional on GitHub.

The last and the most important aspect would be repositories — these are the open-source development projects the person has chosen to host on GitHub and projects they’ve copied (“forked”). The heart of GitHub is the repository. In simple terms, repositories are where source code projects are stored. It’s also where groups of developers collaborate on files for the master branch of a project. Sourcing on GitHub is repository-focused and not user-focused because viewing project contributions will give recruiters an idea on a candidate’s technical capabilities.

Activities related to repositories of a candidate(Can be found by scrolling down in the overview of the profile)

So how do I search for candidates on GitHub?

  1. Boolean search:

If you are good at Boolean, simply google using the Boolean strings and add ‘’

This will give you links from GitHub. Though, you need to be good at Boolean and have to go through the links to get candidate profile links.

2. Create an account and search on GitHub:

This will require you to create an account on GitHub and perform the searches on GitHub. You can use Webbtree’s Chrome extension to then source candidates from there. Also you can explore profiles of the candidates on other platforms to know more about the candidate. Though this will require you to fill in all the different fields in the GitHub search and filter the results.

3. The smarter way, use other tools meant for it:


Recruit’em is a platform that constructs boolean search strings for you which you can copy and paste into the search bar and get your results. It is widely used by recruiters and has been around for long. It helps only in constructing the strings, thus if you wish to change a few search parameters to get more results, you are required to do the changes in Recruit’em and perform the search again on Google, which adds a few steps in the process. Though the tool can be helpful to convert your search query into a search string. To try Recruit’em, click here.

Webbtree search and grab:

Webbtree is another such solution release recently that can help you perform X-Ray searches. It performs the X-ray searches and brings you the search results from google into the platform.

X-Ray search for GitHub on Webbtree

Now, you can check the profiles in the results and see if they are relevant, if not you can edit your search right there and see the results for your new search.

Webbtree’s Chrome extension

Webbtree allows you to search from many different platforms like: GitHub, Stack Overflow, AngelList, Behance, Kaggle, ResearchGate, Quora, Xing, etc.

Webbtree also has a Chrome extension, that you can add to your Chrome browser. If you feel that a candidate is relevant, you can simply add the candidate to Webbtree and view him later only in your account, by signing in. This is how Webbtree also allows you to create your own database of candidates instead of using spreadsheets.

To try out Webbtree, click here.

Four Ways How Sourcing Tools Make Recruiting Easier

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