If you write any kind of code at all, chances are you know GitHub. Many of the site’s more than 10 million users make it a regular part of their day, posting their own work, commenting on the efforts of others, and contributing to open source projects. When it comes to job hunting, tech pros are routinely told that being active on GitHub gives them an advantage because it provides recruiters and hiring managers with a way to size up their skills. But are they listening? “I’m not sure candidates realize how effective a marketing tool GitHub can be for them,” said Robert Fleischhauer, senior technology recruiter with the InSource Group in Dallas. In fact, he added, reviewing candidates’ GitHub profiles is becoming a “standard protocol” for his clients. Some recruiters use GitHub to study a candidate’s interests and skills after they’ve identified a possible match. Others use it to seek out tech pros with very specific skills, or who’ve shown an interest in projects that are similar to their company’s work. For example, Casey Kugler, a tech recruiter for the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Va., follows users who have engaged with his organization’s repositories or communicated with members of its tech team. Such users, he noted, have demonstrated a direct interest in the Center’s projects. Of course, GitHub isn’t designed to be a recruiting ground, and many users actively avoid having any contact with headhunters there at all, Kugler noted. But in truth, good recruiters are careful in how they make an approach. Some will ask a member of their development team to reach out when they have a role that aligns with the candidate’s interests. Others will make an approach directly, but only when they’ve established that there’s some sort of common ground between a user’s interests and the company’s technology. “There’s a lot of information if you look between the cracks,” Fleischhauer observed. For example, by following the projects users participate in, he can identify areas of technical interest they may not have listed on their resume or social-networking profiles.
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