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Last week I was meant to be at SourceCon in Lisbon giving a talk titled “Escaping Linkedin” (the theme of the conference was “Escape Room”). The world had other plans. Then a couple of people gave me the idea of turning the talk into a blog post instead.

I have a love-hate relationship with Linkedin. It’s a great place for networking, selling, making new friends, keeping in touch as well as a tool for recruitment. That’s the “love” aspect. But it’s not the only place where you can find people to recruit. However, Linkedin wants you to believe that it’s all you’ll ever need. That’s the “hate” aspect.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use Linkedin for sourcing/recrutiment, you’d be stupid not to. What I’m want you to be aware of is that Linkedin isn’t the ONLY source you should be using, but one of many.

Primary vs. Secondary source

I would argue that most recruiters and sourcers use Linkedin as their primary source. I also use Linkedin, but as a secondary source. Rather then finding someone on Linkedin, and then check out their various other social profiles, I do it the other way around. If I’m looking for a developer, I’m likely to go to Github first and find someone I find interesting. And then look them up on Linkedin, if they even have a Linkedin profile. I do it in reverse order to a lot of other people. Linkedin is my secondry source.

I’ve written about this topic on Linkedin a few times, always sparking quite a discussion. Someone made a comment once along the lines of “If you look them up on Linkedin anyway, they what’s the point of looking elsewhere first”. I’ll tell you what the point is.

What’s the point?

The point is, despite popular belief, that not everyone is on Linkedin. And those who are on Linkedin are not all active. This means there are lots of great people out there, that you might want to recruit, that:

  1. Don’t have a Linkedin profile
  2. Created a Linkedin profile and then forgot all about it (see picture 1.1)
  3. Stopped updating their profile years ago (see picture 1.2)

You might ask “why should I bother looking elsewhere when I can find everyone I need on Linkedin?”.

If you can truly fill all you open positions by using Linkedin only, then keep doing what you are doing. But, if you feel your response rate is slipping, or like you are staring at the same profiles over and over again, and you start to friggin hate Linkedin, and hate sourcing (or hate what you _think_ sourcing is). Then I urge you to at least give my reversed way a try. If nothing else it gives you lots of useful information to use in your outreach, making your message stick out amongst all the other recruiters contacting the very same person that day.

The female Android developer not present on Linkedin

One of my favourite ways of finding potential candidates on Github is by looking at stargazers. I have described that process in more detail in a previous post.

The best example of when that has been a great success was when I found a female Android developer, currently looking for a job as the start-up she was working at had gone bust. She was only present on Github and Facebook. Had I used Linkedin as my primary source, only with the intention of checking out the Github profile of those present in Linkedin, I would never have found her!

Picture 1.1
This is all the info about this person on Linkedin

Picture 1.2
This person stopped updating their profile years ago

The thing with Github is that it’s full of information about someone that you can use in an outreach. I don’t mean the obvious things like looking at their tech stack. Saying “I saw you had a repo using javascript on Github isn’t gonna cut it. However, if you where to find out a litle more about that repo, e.g. what does it actually does, then you might have something. And it’s easier than you think, no need to code or understand code, you just need to read the readme file. It’s a great source to find out more about what the code is for, without having to understand it.

The possibilities are endless!

There are so many sites to find people, other than good old Linkedin, or Github for that matter. But the fact of the matter is, that not every develop has a Github account, or is active on Stackoverflow, or part of a Slack community etc. This means you can’t stick to one site only. You have to use a variety of sources. Some are better than others.
I used to love meetup, but with the roles I’m currently recruiting for I have found it less usefull. When I was looking for “ordindary developers” I found it awesome, but now that I’m recruting for Game Developers it’s not as good. Reason is that there are many wanna be game devs out there, joing these groups. So, do find the one with the experience you need is like finding a needle in a haystack.

You need to keep trying, keep looking at various sources, and find what works for you. If that site is Linkedin, and you’re happy with that, then forget about what you just read. For the rest of you, who would like to try something new, I encourge you to try having Linkedin as your secondary source, rather than primary. Because no matter how much we want to escape Linkedin, we cannot escape it completely.

Sofia Broberger

Sofia Broberger

Sourcing Trainer

My name is Sofia Broberger and I’m a freelance sourcing and recruitment consultant focusing on IT/Tech recruitment.

I have a background in teaching and really enjoy combining my experience as a teacher with my love for sourcing. I’m available to give tailor-made workshops and lectures/talks on sourcing, tech recruitment and employer branding.