Reed Rawhouser

How to Recruit Developers Without a Recruiter

on recruiting, developers

I was excited when I posted our first software developer position online. The internet was going to supply me with some great candidates. The excitement quickly faded. The 'candidates' I received were either unqualified, recruiters, or outsourcing agencies. After talking to recruiters and looking at other SaaS options, I decided to find candidates myself. Here is what I use:

  1. Google Sheets
    The current SaaS options for candidate tracking are either too expensive or too limited. So I put together a Google Sheet to track candidates. The most important part to me is collecting email addresses. Personal communication through an email is where I see the best results.
  2. AngelList
    For some reason AngelList is free to use. They are startup focused so you see developers looking for startup jobs. Once you post a job, members can apply through the site. You can also search through every member and ask for an intro. Salary and equity are posted on the job, and salary desired is optional on profiles.
  3. Indeed
    I don't like Indeed, but it is free and useful. Indeed is more corporate. The job postings and developers are slanted towards larger or slower moving organizations. The up side is that you can post jobs and search their resume database for free. Developers can apply through Indeed and you can contact anyone through the site. I get a few candidates to phone interview each time I recruit for a role.
  4. LinkedIn
    Sign up for the free month of the recruiter package. You will be able to search for exactly who you want and send 30 inMails. Don't rely on inMail responses, but you can identify developers. The search filters let you find developers matching your needs. No one has the quality of data like LinkedIn (even if the quality of the web app is low). I would even recommend paying for a few months to find everyone you can.
  5. GitHub
    Most developers have a GitHub profile. And GitHub has a decent search tool. You can search by code repository language, location, etc. I like this search better, but still have to use LinkedIn to figure out if someone is qualified. Many developers have their email addresses on their profile too.
  6. Finding Personal Email Addresses
    Having an email address is key to getting responses from developers. I never use a developer's work email address. I find that very unprofessional. Here are a few ways:
    • Use the GitHub API - here is a guide. You won't find every user's email, but you will find good amount.
    • Check personal websites. Often there is a contact me or resume that lists their email address.
    • Google for random email finding tools. I haven't found one I would recommend. But I find a couple new email addresses with these tools.
  7. Networking
    You have to get to know people. I reply to everyone that emails me - whether or not they are qualified. I offer to refer rejected candidates to other positions and ask for names of anyone they know looking. It is amazing how fast honest and kind communication will build a network. Eventually you will find the connectors of the industry. Then you will receive candidates that are looking for a new job and are qualified.
    The one recruiting SaaS I do like is Hired. We haven't hired anyone off the site yet. We have been fortunate to find developers on our own. But I have used the site and viewed the candidates. They are the only recruiting option that will give you both qualified candidates and candidates that are looking for your position. And better yet, they stay out of your way. You can use your interview process and your timeline. They are just there to curate and connect.