The Most Creative Recruiting Techniques


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Karthik Subramanian

Karthik Subramanian

03 Nov, 2020

In this blog, we will look at some of the most creative recruiting techniques, that are incredibly effective, yet remain obscure.

Let us dive into it right away.

Recruiting can be really challenging. The job requirements are ballooning each passing day, while the talent pool doesn’t seem to expand at the same pace. And, there are only so many tools available to ease the pain.

So, what do we do?

The answer lies in adopting a creative approach to unearthing the ‘hidden gems‘ that do not respond to conventional communication. Here are 9 creative ways to recruit using unconventional tools.


1. Hacker News

Hacker News is Paul Graham’s original creation (if you didn’t know who he is, here’s his website.) From using it as a medium to support his new programming language, Arc, to making it the go-to platform for technology enthusiasts, Paul has led its emergence.

Hacker News works similar to Reddit – users submit their news stories that get votes from other users. Every time a story gets 100 votes, it comes to the top of the page.

Hacker News has an incredibly useful sub called Ask HN: Who wants to be hired?

Here is how you can search for candidates in Google using the below Boolean search string: “Ask HN: Who wants to be hired? (“October” OR “September”) AND “2020”

We tried the above search term and below is a screenshot of what Google provided us.



And, when we opened one of these links, here is what we found: they were Hacker News links with candidates expressing their interest in new jobs. While you see the details of only one candidate in the screengrab below, there were several more in this URL:



2. BitBucket

BitBucket is Atlassian’s web-based software version control repository. It provides you total control over your DevOps lifecycle. It enables software developers to effectively manage their projects, track issues, and other technical aspects. Its biggest competitors are other coders social networks such as GitHub and GitLab.

Now, software developers contribute to public projects on BitBucket via commits, which are visible to anyone. You can spot passive candidates through these commits.

If you’re tracking a software developer, find their Bitbucket commit. Click the commit name to open the commit page. Add “/RAW” to the end of the URL/page address in the address bar and hit “enter” on your keyboard.

Then, search for “@” or “.com” for the developer’s email id.



But, if you’d like to make it simpler, you can try the evergreen X-ray method of sourcing candidate profiles. So, if you’re looking for Python professionals in BitBucket, here’s the search string that you can use: “ Java.”



3. organizes events in different cities for people to meet on similar interests that they share. For example, there are groups for traveling, trekking,  yoga, reading, etc.

We searched for Node.js experts in San Francisco and here is the screengrab from our results.


Then, when you enter each group, you can see the different members in each group. Look up their profiles in before researching more about them in other places like LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. so you can build effective outreach campaigns.


The next step is using Data Miner Chrome extension to scrape email ids from the above list of members. Download the extension and create your own recipe. In the ‘Nav’ tab, search for ‘member’ and follow the instructions of the extension/video to extract the member profile URLs.


Below is the screengrab showing profile URLs of members from our searches.


Download the data in a CSV file to extract more details about them.

Most times, event organizers elicit LinkedIn profiles of attendees to validate their identities. You can extract these LinkedIn profiles using Parsehub.


Alternatively, use Andrew Bradshaw’s javascript code to extract data. Here is his code:

Add a new bookmark from the bookmark manager on your browser. Then, add the above javascript code to scrape and download all members of a particular meetup group.


4. Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a Question and Answer forum for software professionals.  It owes its creation in 2008 to Jeff Atwood, a software developer and entrepreneur, and Joel Spolsky, a software developer. It is now part of the broader group, called Stack Exchange.

So, how do you look for software experts in Stack Overflow? All that you have to do is use go this StackExchange Data Explorer URL, and scroll down to the bottom of the page. Enter the expertise you’re looking for in the ‘TagName‘ field and your preferred location in ‘LocationName.’

Then, hit on ‘Run Query.’



When we searched for Python experts in San Francisco, we saw the below results. The best part about this is that you can see the reputation of the different experts and their rankings. Click on the user link of each expert to see his/her achievements and expertise.



How to use RecruiterFlow to recruit candidates?

Use this URL “” to source developers on Stack Overflow. On this webpage, enter the user locations and skills you’re looking for.



Then, click on “Copy query and go to data.stackexchange” at the bottom of the page. And, then head over to StackExchange Data Explorer. Click on ‘Compose Query,’ and then paste your query in the ‘Edit Description’ field. Then, click on ‘Run Query‘ at the bottom-left of the page.



You will get the names of experts on Stack Overflow along with their profile URLs. Download the results in a CSV file for your reference.



How to get a list of experts in each country in Stack Overflow?

You can even download a list of experts in each country in Stack Overflow. Here’s how you do it. Visit this URL on Stack Exchange Data Explorer.  Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter the country name where you’re recruiting.



We searched for Germany and here are the results. You can access the user profile of each candidate or even download them in a CSV format.



How to use an X-ray search in Stack Overflow to recruit candidates

Now, we also have the traditional X-ray method of shortlisting candidates. Here is the search string for it: “ Tel Aviv JAVA” and here is the search result. Click on the search results to go to individual user profiles on Stack Overflow.



There is one more trick that we want to tell you. If you’d like to source candidates with their CVs on Stack Overflow, here is the search query: “ Tel Aviv Java.”



How to use answer badges in Stack Overflow to recruit candidates

Stack Overflow awards the ‘Great Answer’ badges to candidates whose answers have a score of 100 or more. Such answer badges bear testimony to a candidate’s immense potential. Here’s a search we tried and its result: “ GREAT ANSWER Bay Area.”



5. Kaggle

Kaggle is a subsidiary of Google that allows users to find and publish data sets, explore and build models in a web-based data-science environment, work with other data scientists and machine learning engineers.


How to use X-ray to recruit candidates on Kaggle?

Here’s a sample search string for using on Kaggle and a screengrab of the result. joined CHENNAI -inurl:“c/” -inurl:blog -inurl:competitions -inurl:organizations -inurl:kernels -inurl:discussion -inurl:followers -inurl:general



If you’re looking to find the top 1% performers on Kaggle, then use this search string: “*/competitions “top 1%.”

And, here’s our search result.



6. Social media

Using social media to recruit is a great way to find candidates where they spend a lot of time. In this section, we will look at ways of recruiting on Instagram and Twitter.

Recruiting on Instagram

Yes, you can recruit on Instagram too! Use this X-ray search string to find developers by location and skill. We recommend this search query on Google: “ -inurl:tags -inurl:p/ “Python Developer” SAN FRANCISCO.”



But, there’s more to recruiting on Instagram. Read our blog on 17 Tips to use Instagram for recruiting without spending a dime.


How to recruit on Twitter

You can recruit on Twitter too. Here is how you do it. Go to the FollowerWonk website and head over to the bio section, i.e.,  Search for the skill you’re looking for and hit ‘Do it. Click on ‘More options‘ and enter location, name, and URL, etc. to further narrow down your search.



With the help of FollowerWonk, you can even source candidates on Twitter by mentions of IT companies’ names in their bios.


How to recruit on Twitter using an X-ray search

You can also use Boolean search queries to look for profiles on Twitter. For example, here’s a boolean string ( lists Python) that you could use to search for lists of Python forums, communities, and networks. You can subscribe to these lists, follow their discussions, and keep an eye out for active members.



How to extract email ids on Twitter

If you’re following potential candidates on Twitter, here’s how you can extract their email ids. Go to All My Tweets and log on with your Twitter account.



Enter the Twitter handle of the candidate you’re looking for, and then use the Email Extractor extension to know his/her email id.



7. Behance

Behance is Adobe’s social media platform that enables designers to showcase their work and discover creative work.

Here’s the X-ray search string that you can use on Behance to search by location: “ “work experience” CHENNAI -inurl:following -inurl:“collections_following” – inurl:appreciated -inurl:followers.”



If you’ve found an awesome designer portfolio on Behance that you’d like to chase, but were not successful in hiring the author, try finding projects with multiple owners. That way, you’ll find designers working in the same style. You can also ask one of the authors to introduce you to his/her co-authors to build relationships.



8. Others networks/techniques

Use this X-ray string to find CVs posted on VisualCV by skill and location: JAVA CHENNAI. This search string also works for CVMaker: JAVA CHENNAI.



How to recruit on Goodreads

And, here is the thing – you could recruit even on Goodreads too! Here’s the Boolean search query for it: “inurl:user (“DATA SCIENCE” OR “BIG DATA”) intitle:books SAN FRANCISCO.” Change the skill and location while running this query on Google.

People interested in technology are most likely to read books and leave their reviews on Goodreads – that is why it is an awesome place to look for candidates.



How to recruit on is a personal web hosting service co-founded by Ryan Freitas, Tony Conrad, and Tim Young in October 2009. It is similar to a personal dossier that enables you to let people know who you are and what you do.

You can recruit on using the X-ray search string: “ Python Bay area.”


How to verify candidate email ids

Type in the first name, last name, and domain name (starting with @) for the person you’re trying to get in touch with. Use the Name2Email Chrome extension to unearth several possible versions of the candidate’s email.

Hover over each variation until you see a popup with the person’s name — that’s the right address. Use Linkedin Sales Navigator to validate the email id and match it with their Linkedin profile.



How to enrich candidate profile information

Sometimes, candidates do not disclose their contact information on the platforms that we discussed above. While you can always look for their names on LinkedIn, what if you want to gather more data about them? In that case, use AmazingHiring to obtain enriched information about candidates.

Here’s how a candidate’s profile looks like on AmazingHiring.



Creative Recruiting: Conclusion

For a long time now, recruiters are guilty of using tactics that are no different from their peers.  But, they need to widen the scope of their imagination and be a little creative in looking for passive candidates.

In this blog, we saw the top 9 platforms beyond traditional media such as LinkedIn that can yield impressive results. These platforms are:

  • Developer communities: Hacker News, BitBucket, Kaggle
  • Networking groups: Meetup
  • Q & A forums: Stack Overflow
  • Social media: Instagram, Twitter
  • Design platforms: Behance
  • Others:

Don’t miss out to use the Boolean search strings that we’ve mentioned in this blog/ We’ll keep adding more platforms to our blog as we discover more of these amazing networks. Meanwhile, let us know in the comments below if you’d like to feature any community/network that we might have missed out on.

Karthik Subramanian

Karthik Subramanian I’m passionate about content marketing and I love to help people get started on their marketing journeys. I am a medium-distance runner and I love beaches (especially on balmy Sunday evenings). I can read a balance sheet and have a Bachelor of Commerce degree, but I’m wondering what to do with it.

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