How To Use GitHub Advanced Search For Recruiters

Clara D. Flaherty

The need for tech talent is large, but the pool of skilled candidates is in limited offer. It also doesn’t aid that unemployment is lower, as it additional narrows down your talent pool and will make it harder to come across great workforce. 

With competition for tech expertise high, you are probably seeking for new and innovative techniques to identify, entice and recruit fantastic tech pros. This short article will aid you do just that by detailing a one of a kind sourcing tactic, Github state-of-the-art search. You will master what Github is as properly as why and how you must resource tech pros from the system.


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Desk of Contents


What is GitHub?

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GitHub is a cloud-dependent social sharing web site. Alternatively of sharing lifestyle updates, job postings or images, nevertheless, GitHub people share code. The platform runs on an open up-resource framework, which means the code is open to the typical general public and can be altered by anyone. The modifications are tracked through the platform’s Git revision handle system (consequently the title GitHub), so end users can see how code changes from its first sort. 


Why Recruit on GitHub?

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In this day and age, just about every enterprise demands professionals with coding, producing or programming knowledge. Whether you’re updating your firm’s site or developing an application, you want application engineers and software package builders — the two of which are some of the most in-need roles in the occupation industry. 

Employers need to get extra strategic with their sourcing techniques if they want to conquer out the competitiveness and catch the attention of major program engineering talent. Due to the fact tech industry experts have limitless career prospects, they are not actively hunting for work or updating their electronic resumes. They are also not likely to react to the extended checklist of recruiters hoping to join and get them to use.

Rather, for people really hard to hire technical roles, you need to meet up with expertise on the platforms they repeated. For most program engineers and builders, that platform is GitHub. 


How to Recruit with GitHub Innovative Lookup

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In order to locate wonderful software program engineers and builders on GitHub, you very first want to have an understanding of how the platform works and what to glance for. Get started by developing an account on GitHub that consists of data on your company.

Furthermore, generate a applicant persona so you know what to glance for during your lookup. Your candidate persona really should include information like site, expertise, training, programming language and expertise.

Very similar to other social sharing web pages, GitHub buyers have profiles with the adhering to information and facts:

  • General: Identify, Locale, Date joined, Manage (or screen title)
  • Specialist: Work title, Employer, Instruction, Skills, Web site, Make contact with information and facts
  • General public action
  • Followers/Pursuing
  • Forks (code that’s been copied)
  • Resources (authentic code from person)
  • Stars (GitHub’s edition of likes)

GitHub profiles also consist of a calendar graph of when and how many contributions a user has designed to open up resource code in the preceding year.

Additionally, there is a portion known as repositories, or “repos”, which are destinations on the system the place open-supply progress jobs or software package offers are saved. On a user’s profile, you can see which repositories the user has worked on and how a great deal their get the job done has been starred or forked. Repositories give you perception into what languages and skills a consumer has demonstrated, which is substantially additional educational than bullet points on a resume. 




Lookup for Applicant Personas

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Repositories are a goldmine for recruiters browsing for unique information to discover aptly experienced gurus. Dependent on what you’re looking for, GitHub breaks down a assortment of lookup inquiries and how to make use of their site to narrow down your effects.

Once more, your prospect persona will help you decide what you have to have in your up coming software package developer or engineer, so make confident you complete that very first. Below are the most typical techniques to lookup for end users by criteria on GitHub

  • Language
  • Selection of followers
  • Amount of forks (copied code)
  • Range of stars (likes)
  • Matter or range of subject areas
  • License
  • Repository measurement, identify, description, or contents of the README file
  • Inside of a user’s or organization’s repositories
  • Lookup based mostly on the contents of a repository
  • Search centered on whether or not a repository is a mirror
  • Look for based on regardless of whether a repository is archived
  • Lookup dependent on the quantity of issues with fantastic to start with concern or support needed labels

Relying on your look for metrics, you can reorganize the lookup results you get by best match, most followers, fewest followers, most lately joined, minimum a short while ago joined, most repositories and fewest repositories. When it may well appear counter-intuitive to come across people with few followers or repositories, if you happen to be looking for a junior program engineer, this can be valuable to obtain folks new to the industry.


Slim Down Best Candidates

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As you commence to establish gurus that resonate with your staff and replicate the prospect persona you produced for the job, you can start out narrowing down your selections more by seeking for additional distinct conditions, this kind of as:

  • Area (locale:chicago)
  • Expertise (language:ruby)
  • Followers (followers:<100)

On the profiles that stand out, make sure to take note of important information on their profiles, like:

  • Name 
  • Job title
  • Email
  • Website
  • Public activity

Additionally, you can use Boolean search tactics on Google to further narrow your search on GitHub. Boolean search is like a DIY version of advanced search fields, and using Boolean search in recruitment saves time sourcing candidates, ultimately reducing your cost-per-hire.

Let’s break down some examples of how to use Boolean search to find information on Github. 


You can search for results on a specific website by entering the URL: or site: Boolean search operator to target specific candidates on GitHub (or any other site for that matter). You can use this search to narrow down candidates by keywords, like their job title, current company, location, skills and language. 

Boolean Search Example

  • software AND (engineer OR developer) AND ~resume -job -jobs -hire -hiring

*Do not include an extra spacing between operators. Follow the format above exactly.

This is an example of a search query for someone looking for:

  • Candidates on GitHub ( 
  • Who are software developers or software engineers (AND (engineer OR developer))
  • Who have a resume or something similar (~resume)
  • And wants to exclude any job postings (-job -jobs -hire -hiring)



You can also utilize Boolean search tactics to search GitHub for resume pages or links within a website. Candidates often create websites with digital portfolios and professional documents. Such documents are often uploaded under a file name that includes “resume” or “CV.” Use the following search string to locate those downloadable documents on GitHub.

Boolean Search Example

  • (inurl:resume OR inurl:CV) software AND (engineer OR developer) -job -jobs -hire -hiring

*Note: intext: searches the body text of a web page, whereas inurl: searches within a URL.

This example is for recruiters who are looking for:

  • Candidates on github ( 

  • With a downloadable resume or CV ((inurl:resume OR inurl:CV))

  • Who are software developers or software engineers ((software AND (engineer OR developer))

  • Excluding any job postings (-job -jobs -hire -hiring)


Connect with Candidates 

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Once you’ve identified a few prospective candidates you want to pursue, do your due diligence and learn as much as you can about them before connecting. Go onto other social platforms and search their name to see where they’ve worked and what projects they’ve worked on. The more information you gather, the more personalized your message can be, and the better chance you’ll have at standing out from other employer inquiries.

Consider the projects they’ve worked on in the past and inform them of similar or more challenging projects your job opportunity has to offer. If you know their interests, you can identify how they will add to your company culture, and you can share elements of your culture that will entice them to take a closer look at your company.

Most profiles have a public email address so you can reach out to candidates and add them to your talent pipeline. Even if they’re not interested in your job opportunity now, it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your company altogether. You can always ask them to join your talent community so they can hear about open positions in the future.

In the event that they are interested in pursuing your offer, prepare your team for how to handle salary negotiations. In a candidate driven market where tech talent is scarce, these candidates know they’re in high demand and will wait around for the best opportunity. Having a solid negotiation strategy will make sure you’re prepared to meet the candidate’s expectations while staying within your budget for the role. 



GitHub is one of the best resources out there for companies looking to find exceptional tech talent. All it takes is a little learning and adaptation to optimize your search tactics on their website. Once you get in the swing of things, you’ll become faster and more efficient at finding the specific candidate personas your team needs to drive business and boost your culture. Continue to grow your tech recruiting expertise by brushing up on additional tech recruiter resources


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