I found this message waiting for me in my inbox the other day:
We have analyzed your open source contributions on Github and have concluded that your experience could be a good fit for the position of Frontend Developer.
Wow. This is the future of developer recruiting.
But let’s take a few steps back and look at how traditional recruiting works for developers.
You start by submitting a Word document version of your resume to the recruiter. I actually tried to tell a recruiter once “I keep LinkedIn up to date, so you can find my resume there”, only to be told “No, we need a document to save into our internal system”. Needless to say that any IT recruiter who doesn’t accept a link to an online profile like LinkedIn is not off to a great start.
Once the “hard” copy of your resume is safely locked away in the recruiters internal system (becoming more stale by the minute), it can be scanned for keywords that match incoming job requirements. If you're a developer whose resume includes the phrase “HTML”, and there is a job for someone who can make HTMLs, then congratulations, you’ve just demonstrated that you are fit for the job and can make it to the next round.
Assuming some robot has pushed your resume to the top of the list, and you agree to pursue the job, it’s probably time to sit some online test. This automated process allows you to be pre-judged with other candidates, and allows those doing the hiring to focus their time on those with the highest scores in some artificial testing environment.
Then maybe there are a few rounds face to face meetings where employers try to convince candidates that they are not just another meat grinding IT shop, and candidates try to convince employers that they are the coveted 10x developer.
The recruiting process is profoundly broken. Every aspect of the traditional recruiting system is badly designed and badly executed.
How about instead matching employers and employees by the work they produce rather than empty words they put into their sales pitches? Imagine both Bob and ACME Co could screen each other based on the quality of their open source GitHub contributions?
Do both ACME Co and Bob have a GitHub account that:
- Includes code written in <insert language here>?
- Has well documented code?
- Has unit tests?
- Includes a build script to make repeatable builds?
- Demonstrates the use of pull requests?
- Includes sensible versioning strategies?
(This was just an example. For a better list of quality requirements, you may want to refer to the Joel Test.)
If the answer to these questions is yes on both sides, then both Bob and ACME Co can be reasonably assured that the other is actually a good technical match.
GitHub, if you’re reading this and you’re looking for the next billion dollar idea, please, please give developers and organizations a way to use their open source contributions as a real-world resume. Enterprises are tired of interviewing candidates who aren’t nearly as advanced as they claim, and developers are tired of enterprises that aren’t nearly as IT savvy as they like to make out. There really is an opportunity here to fix a broken recruitment model.