9 Ways To Find Your Next Engineer (Besides LinkedIn)

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Photo: bgottsab via flickr

There’s a very different kind of jobs crisis in Silicon Valley.Startups and large tech companies can’t fill all of the openings they have for software engineers, even at ever-rising salaries.

Pete Kazanjy thinks he has an answer. The former VMware product manager is launching TalentBin, a search engine for job candidates that tracks people’s professional activity across all kinds of websites.

LinkedIn is the gold standard for recruiters—it has 161 million professionals with profiles on the site and counts 10,400 customers for its corporate recruiting products, including 82 of the 100 largest American companies.

But Kazanjy’s theory is that the people you really want to hire don’t put all the information you need on their LinkedIn profile—like their enthusiasm for an obscure programming language. Especially for technical types, that information’s on specialty websites where they hang out with people who share their interests.

Coders judge each other by their Github commits. Designers post their best work on Dribbble. And a sharp Quora answer might reveal your next user-experience expert. Here are Kazanjy’s suggestions. Try them out—you might find your next search goes a little faster.

  • Twitter: “Twitter is a great place to look for talent,” says Kazanjy. It’s hard to sort through updates manually, but if you notice an engineer tweet that she just got back from RailsConf, that’s a pretty good sign she’s into Ruby on Rails. You can also glean information from who people follow. And it’s easy to contact people on Twitter. (You can also track people’s tweets directly on LinkedIn, which has integrated Twitter accounts and recent tweets into people’s profiles.)
  • Github: This social coding site is “a great place to find people based on the languages they’re writing source code in,” says Kazanjy. A bonus: People often include their email addresses directly on the site.
  • StackOverflow: A question-and-answer site for programmers. If someone’s answering questions tagged “Android,” odds are he knows something about Google’s mobile operating system.
  • Quora: Like StackOverflow, but more of a hangout for less-technical types like product managers and user-interface experts.
  • Meetup: You might remember this site from the 2004 presidential campaign. It’s still going strong and has found a following outside politics for technical get-togethers, like the Bay Area Hadoop Meetup. 
  • About.me: This AOL-owned site’s simple homepages are handy for linking together people’s scattered Web presences. For example, if you only know a candidate’s Twitter handle, her About.me page might lead you to her LinkedIn profile.
  • Facebook: Practically everyone’s on it, but most people don’t have detailed professional information here. But some people will list programming languages on their Likes. And it’s easy to message people on Facebook.
  • PatFT:  The US Patent and Trademark Office’s patent-search site “is a rich trove of professional interest information,” says Kazanjy, and can help you find more than just software engineers—think electrical engineers and data scientists, among other sought-after job categories. 
  • Mailing lists: Most open-source projects and other large-scale technical efforts have mailing lists with searchable archives—including people’s email addresses.

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