The Candidate sourcing Bible Github
Why should recruiters source out of GitHub?

Sourcing developers via Github is smart because 1) You don’t need a dime, it’s free. 2) It’s the largest social network of coders on the planet. 3) Roping in great developers paves the way to attracting other developers from the community to your company.

fresnteam stakeoverflow fresnteam stakeoverflow

How the User Profiles on Github help in the search

All Github users have straight-forward profiles that give you a lot of information:

  • Username
  • Location
  • Current organization
  • Websites owned
  • Known programming languages
  • Follower base
  • Code contributions to the community
  • Repositories of their open-source development projects

The best part however is, their email-addresses and social handles are also available, making outreach simple and easy for you.

github 01 github 01

Boolean search techniques to find candidates on Github

Search for users based on languages known/followers

When running searches in GitHub, you can target candidates based on the programming languages they know, location they work/live and number of followers they have.

You can run these searches on Github or Google.

Let’s say you are looking for developers with expertise in Python who live in Boston and have 5 to 10 followers.

site: language:Java location:Boston followers:5..10 “joined github”

Note: The default search results will be repositories and not users. You need to filter your results by hitting the users tab. GitHub also enables you to sort your results based on user profile attributes such as "most followers", "most recently joined" or "most repositories".

github 02 github 02

Search for all commits from the same developer

One advantage of sourcing candidates through Github is that you can pull out project samples that your hiring managers or senior developers can take a look at even before you contact the candidate.

You can put together a string like the one that follows to pull code commits from a particular user. “committer:fabpot”

The string will return all code commits authored by the user fabpot.

Further, if you would like to pull commits only from the user’s repository, you can use the following string: “user:fabot” 

You can also try the above strings with user’s emails instead of names.

github 03 github 03

Putting the guesswork back in searching

Sometimes, you’ll have to think of phrases that your ideal candidates may be using and add some guesswork into your search strings.

For example, if you want to look for candidates with expertise in Java who are actively looking for a job, you may want to try strings like the following.

site: language:Java “looking for a job”

site: language:Java “searching for a job”

site: language:Java “open to opportunities”

site: language:Java “Seeking a job”

github 02 github 02

More ideas to sharpen your candidate search results 

1.You can look for active candidates by adding the phrase ‘contributions in the last year’ along with the user name/email to the search string.

2.If you would like to view candidates with resumes, you can add the word resume|CV|Curriculum Vitae to the string followed by the inurl: or intext: operators.

3.Use the Github email Chrome extension to fetch user’s email ids when they are not publicly listed.

4.If you would like to find candidates who are seasoned Github users, you can use the parameter created: to filter for candidates who have been on Github for a while. For example, Let’s say you are interested only in candidates who have been on Github for 5 years, then you can add created:2015 to your search string.

5. When you find candidates on Github, you can switch to another platform like LinkedIn or Facebook to find more information about them.

6.Draft out an appealing email or message to use in your candidate outreach.Since every other recruiter also has access to the publicly available emails, you want yours to stand out.


With more than 32 million monthly users who share the same passion and pursuit for coding, GitHub can be a recruiter’s go-to while looking for software developers.