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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. :)

Github Recruiting

What is Github?

Github is a social-programming website. Meaning individuals can post open source code to a community. This allows users to create profiles (social) and upload there “repositories” to the website.
What is Github to a Sourcer/Recruiter?
Let us develop the answer by stating what Github is NOT. Github is not a source for a recruiter to go to, as a means of acquiring all information needed on an individual to store into a database.Now that we understand what Github is not. We can now transition into what Github IS. Github, in the mindset of a sourcer or recruiter, is a tool to use to begin their headhunting journey.

Headhunting does not have to start with Github. A recruiter can use various e-establishments to start his/her searching. Such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Linkedin etc. But for today’s sake we will allow this document to be solely based on the Github foundation.

When you approach you can determine at that moment in time if it is in your best interest to sign up and register for an account or take the easy way out and just use the site as a search tool.

There are both pros and cons to doing both. As of right now (2011) github allows anonymous individuals to browse their site without a registration. However, the downside is obviously you have no access to e-mail if needed.

For our purpose, let us hypothetically assume you are registered and ready to go.

So the site’s layout that we need to pay attention to is on the top right below your account information. It is the search bar.

This is your gateway. Learn it and Love it. Searching is an art. It’s not just some random thing you take for granted in our industry. It’s serious business. Got it? Good! :)

As we proceed for training purposes we will use a current search that I used today (July 11th 2011) while I was working on Box is a current client  who has sent us a high priority “Lead Security Software Engineering” role. It’s an important role, and because we don’t get this type of REQ on a weekly/monthly basis, our Database lacks qualified candidates in the area/core skills of “XSS/ CSRF/SQL Injection”

What does this mean?

It means its time to become that traditional “Headhunter” that oh so many people talk about. Good or bad, its what we do.

show me the money!

“Show me the $MONEY$”

So as we transform ourselves into the mindset of headhunting, take  the term “CSRF” and input it into the search bar. This allows you to find every relevant repository that has been created by an individual for the community.
A repository in a sense is a way for you to show off your programming skills to those who most likely can read it. Not everyone who uses Github can actually read the complex code. So don’t feel alone. For those who might not understand the coding, but have to use github as a recruiting tool, we have three tools to pay attention too once we have our target.
You may be asking, how do we find our target. If this is the case here is a visualization:

GitHub picture one

Once you have accomplished the above visualization, your next step is to sift through the data. This means you go through the list. In our case, I had to go through 4 different candidates who I was able to disqualify due to three areas of interest. These are:

1. Location of an individual
3. Public Repositories
Your next inevitable question for this exercise should be: How do I find out about those listed above. And once I do, how do I dictate the process of how to disqualify candidates easily, efficiently and quickly? To answer these questions Lets look at the next step of your training visually.
Github picture 2

user of the repository

After you clicked your target that you are interested in, you are presented with his comment, for instance “fixing another typo left over from old code” and a author who you can continue lurking (gathering intelligence.)The second part of the above picture is the open source code. My personal opinion is that it is irrelevant to me only because I do not have the ability to read code. However, please don’t take this as me saying that the  information is irrelevant. No, not at all. But I do use the three tools as my main source of quick disqualification.
Find out detailed information about Location, Public Repositories, and Followers down below
Github picture three

3 areas needed

1. Location (Objective)
This is the most important and objective source of information that we use to disqualify a candidate. Our world in 2011 has 750,000 developers. So Github is a international community. Therefore, you need to disqualify candidates based on geographic location.
2. Followers (Subjective)
The reason I write subjective next to followers is because there is no real recipe for us as an agency to disqualify or even favor a potential target by his number of “followers”. With this in mind, let us use followers as a means to understand a persons influence without using a mathematical algorithm. A large part of our job as a headhunter is based off of having an “eye” for patterns and using intuition as a means to determine possibly pursuing a candidate.

Basically, I am inferring to you as a new individual, to lurk github, understand who has influence, develop a hierarchy in your mind and go from there.

In the case of Lorenzo, has 69. From my experience, and based on our recent success with him as a candidate, 69 is doable and influencial. However, match him against someone like Paul Irish from Google Chrome who is a innovator in HTML5. Lorenzo is no match. (Paul Irish:1,700k plus )

3. Public Repository (Subjective)

This as well is a subjective tool that we can use. Understand that there may be a diamond in a ruff on github, but for some reason he only has 5 public repositories on github.

So use these subjective tools with caution.

What this can tell you, is how passionate they are about the developer community, and the idea of “open-source”


So those are the main tools that I use to disqualify candidates. If they pass these requirements, I then continue on with the headhunting process into other domains on the internet.For instance if we have his handle name “Zeelot3k” but no “Lorenzo” I can go to google and search that name and possibly find his twitter account, which may give me more information like a website and such.
Headhunting Skills

Headhunting Skills

Since we have Lorenzo’s name, I was able to go to Facebook during my time and add him as a friend. In like 20 mins he responded to my message. I was able to come to that conclusion of adding him to fb because he is young (my age- 20’s) and we are a generation that loves fb. (my opinion)
Facebook Headhunting

Facebook Headhunting

If your lucky, that the person has an e-mail attached to github, you then can add them to your Database. You will at least need a phone number or e-mail to consider it a successful headhunting task.

So there you have it, use github as your tool to find out the beginning process of an individual and move along the process after qualifying a candidate and move into the first contact phase.
Let the force be with you!
Matthew Jalayer
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