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How to source tech talent on GitHub

GitHub is the platform with the most active engineering users, beating LinkedIn and any other platform. A goldmine of rich and up to date candidate information.

July 25, 2021
Yuma Heymans
December 18, 2021

Sourcing engineering talent on GitHub

GitHub is a platform for version control and code collaboration. It offers the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git, plus its own features.

Free GitHub accounts are commonly used to host open-source projects where engineers deposit their repositories. With 190 million repositories it is the largest host of source code in the world.

The benefit of sourcing on GitHub is that the information on talents is very up to date and relevant to their technical skills. If you do your research and you are willing to deep dive on their profiles and public information, you can be the sourcer or recruiter who finds talent that others don't and do outreach that is based on the latest technologies they have been using.

Key facts

  • Engineer profiles including their activity
  • 65 million total users
  • Information is generated primarily based on publishing code repositories


The information on GitHub is primarily based on activity of the candidate on code repositories. GitHub users literally share their code on GitHub and can help each other out by suggesting changes to the code. GitHub recognizes technology languages that are used in the code and tags the repositories with the concerning language. This information is displayed on the user profiles.

A: About section (free text, often misses, can be found in meta tags)
B: # followers and # following
C: Location and urls depending on which ones the user has included (eg personal website, Twitter, email, ...)
D: # contributions per year
E: Dynamic overview page. Sometimes this is popular repositories, sometimes pinned repositories, readme or combi
F: Languages overview
G: Language tag per repository (eg language tags of last 50 repositories)

How to search GitHub for talent

Searching GitHub might not be as easy as LinkedIn, but it's not the most challenging either. You can use GitHub itself to find users based on for an example technologies used and you can use Google PSE to find talent.

Below are two selected options to search GitHub without having to use very technical search strings.


Search straight in GitHub for users and their skills:

Google Programmable Search Engine (PSE)

Google's Programmable Search Engine (PSE) is a search engine that you can build and customize yourself. You can already have quite an effective PSE by including the schema.org type ‘Person’. This type searches for pages that are marked as profiles (or persons) only.

  • Learn how to to build a PSE yourself using our guide on PSE
  • Or use our prebuilt PSE by just inserting your own keywords: GitHub PSE

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