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Github Recruiting: Retrieve profiles with emails

Alright, so I am back in 2012, close to a year after I wrote my first blog post Github Recruiting. Since then, I have been researching the topic a little more on my free time, now that I am no longer actively engaging in headhunting. That brings me to this blog post today. I would like to share with you some advanced, yet simple skills to add to your recruiting arsenal, when it comes to using Github. This will explain the usage of Google to retrieve Github profiles with e-mails. 


So right now there is no way that I know of to search Github for profiles that specifically have e-mails attached to them. I think that would be counter productive for users on their site if that was the case. It would be too easy for lazy recruiters to get ahold of and spam users. With that being said, we can still outsource this challenge to Google search for the solution, by using a boolean string.

The term “Boolean,” often encountered when doing searches on the Web, refers to a system of logical thought developed by the English mathematician and computer pioneer, George Boole (1815-64). In Boolean searching, an “and” operator between two words or other values (for example, “pear AND apple”) means one is searching for documents containing both of the words or values, not just one of them. -“what is boolean?” by searchCIO

The above definition does a decent job explaining the basis of boolean. However, “AND” as an operator is elementary. We will be using operators such as “site:” and “*” to tell google to  retrieve specific results.

Since I want to keep a theme in my “github recruiting” series (authorization purposes), I decided to tailor my search to find something closely related to Lorenzo Pasani aka Zeelot3k. I used him as an example last year.

A year ago, when I was actively working with Lorenzo to try and get him into, he was accepted officially into the Kohana Organization as an open source developer to extend and enhance the core framework. Please do not be frightened by the term “Kohana”. It is simply a PHP5 framework. If we wanted to, we could simply use PHP as a search term. But we wouldn’t find Lorenzo on the first page. This is due to ranking concerns.

Retrieve e-mails:

In the image below, is a google search that I am going to use, and in this image there is five things that I will point out for you. So that way we’re both on the same track.

The above string looks pretty simple right? If it doesn’t now, it will as you continue to read.


This is telling Google to specifically search inside the github site. No exceptions. Also known as X-Raying or to X-Ray in the Sourcing community.

2. kohana

We are telling google that we would like to find profiles that consist of “kohana”. For your experience you are welcome to plug-in other programming languages you may be looking for. Such as C++, Python, PHP, etc. You can also search for two or more by typing Python JavaScript. The space in between these two terms is automatically telling Google to use the “AND” operator. If it makes you feel comfortable at first, go head and put Python AND JavaScript.

3.”email *”

This little phrase is the magic. This is stating to Google to look for a title “email” and find profiles with actual e-mails on the profile by using the * operator. However, it does require you to have a user account, to see e-mails or else it will look like this: {email} 

(thank you Shane Bowen for your assistance)

4. “location * ca”

  • Pay attention to the quotes. You  need these quotes in order to tell Google to search github, logically with the above phrase. Without the quotes, location, *, and ca would be separated, and not get the results you are looking for. Each of them would be considered a term in itself, for Google to search for instead of a phrase.
  • With the word location we are telling the search to pay attention to the “title” structure of the page, location is one of the titles.
  • the * operator is simply telling Google to please search for location ____, CA. CA being California. In this case * is a placeholder for any city in California. If we wanted to be more specific and search for San Francisco, California then it would look like “location San Francisco, CA”

5. “member since *”

This is optional, but it does help. The reason why we are using this is simply because we want to bring in profiles only. Without this phrase, we may get 2-3 results in our list that may not be a profile. “Member Since” is an actual “title” within the title structure of the page and it is specific only to organization & member profiles. The * is simply a placeholder again to represent the variable. In other words, “member since December 28th 2010”

(again, thanks to Shane Bowen advice)



Title Structure:

Thank you to Jennifer Bowen for explaining to me eariler through a comment, in greater detail about “Title Structure.”

Jennifer says

If you right click on a webpage and “View Page Source” you will see a bunch of information at the top that is called the Meta Information. Within that will be a tag. Whatever is in between those tags is what Google sees as the title when you use the intitle: command.

If (in rare instances) a website has not created a title tag then Google determines what the title is and we have no way of knowing. They may use the meta, an tag or simply random text. But this will be rare and most sites will have title tags.

Thank you Jennifer for your explanation. That clears up a lot for me when it comes to titles. To the audience: this is extremely beneficial for you, as you gain confidence in sourcing and decide to take your skills outside of Github. Remember to “View Page Source” for an understanding of what terms you would use to search for when using Boolean strings.


So there you have it. One more trick up your sleeve to make you one step closer to a sourcing ninja. I hope that my time spent researching this information will provide value to others reading this. Even if just one person was able to gain something from this and apply it, I would be grateful and fulfilled. Let this knowledge have effect on you, and enhance your abilities for the future. Just make sure you pay attention to who you’re contacting. You don’t want to pull another Groupon Recruiter contacting the creator of rails for a junior Rails role. :)

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