Candidate Sourcing on Reddit: The Most Useful Website You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

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As a newbie to the sourcing world I’ve tried out a variety of social media websites for sourcing, from the obligatory Twitter and LinkedIn to the roads less traveled like Facebook and Tumblr. The website I’ve found most helpful, not to mention the most fun to use, has definitely been Reddit. With its young IT geeks for hire, variety of free job boards, and industry-specific forums and “Ask Me Anything” threads with candid commentary about the fields we source for, Reddit is an incredibly useful social networking website for sourcers and recruiters.

Wait, what? Reddit? What is this “Reddit” you speak of?

Reddit is the self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” often because news articles and funny pictures show up on the front page Reddit before normal people see them. If you have a friend who uses Reddit, you may have sent them something only for them to say “yeah I know, I saw that on Reddit like a week ago.” It’s an anonymous forum-based website, with forums known as “subreddits” for every topic you can imagine, from the professional sort to the “not safe for work” variety. It’s popular among 20-something nerds like myself, which may be why it’s clicked so well with me. Your mileage may vary. Reddit has a Digg-like voting system, wherein users can “upvote” posts they like and “downvote” those they don’t, so good content floats to the front page and rejected content sinks into obscurity where it belongs.

How Sourcers and Recruiters Can Benefit from Reddit

First, I know what you’re thinking. Is this another ‘Sourcing-site-of-the-month’ hacks that doesn’t actually work? No. One does not simply track click-through rates for job postings on Reddit; however, I’ve produced documented results from these techniques (ie Hires) from advertising job openings on Reddit.

Research: When I need to research a job I’m stuck on, and Wikipedia has ceased to be helpful, I often turn to Reddit for some more personal, firsthand insight from the people who have worked in the field. I may find an AMA or “Ask Me Anything” thread from someone with experience in the field, or there might be an industry-specific subreddit with helpful information. There is not a guarantee that I’ll find anything useful, but it’s always worth a look. It’s sometimes also worth posting a discussion thread to gain some further insight.

Recruiters Take Note: Reddit has also given me a little insight about what people often of sourcers/recruiters in general. It’s not good. They find recruiters annoying, deceptive, and fairly bad at actually reading resumes. It may be beneficial to read some threads where people complain about the things recruiters do so you can try to avoid doing those things.

Job Posting: Reddit has a lot of job boards, with varying degrees of activity. There are a few general job boards, one of which links to recent job postings on Twitter; there’s a board specifically for young job seekers and entry level jobs; there is a board for almost every city in the United States; there’s even a board specifically for system administration (sysadmin) jobs. To avoid spamming the boards I don’t post every job I source for; I generally save posting a job on Reddit for when I’m starting to exhaust my usual resources.

Geeks for Hire: Reddit provides a forum where job seekers post their resumes, with the personal information like name and contact information taken off to maintain anonymity, to get feedback. If a job seeker appears to have the qualifications you’re looking for, you may send them a private message to request more information and begin a dialogue about the job you’re sourcing for. On job boards, job seekers post [For Hire] threads, summarizing their qualifications, and inviting any interested parties to contact them via private message or, if they’re brave, they’ll post their e-mail addresses. This is mostly useful for finding candidates for entry level or junior IT jobs, however it’s important to note that a lot of Redditors are only looking for freelance work to supplement their day jobs, so you may want to clarify that they’re open to the type of work you’re sourcing for. It’s a good idea to make a connection to gauge their interest, perhaps request a formal resume, and then put their information and a link to their post in an Excel sheet for future reference.

Recruiters and Reddit Today

I know I’m not the only one using Reddit for recruitment purposes. When I reply to a [For Hire] posting, I’m often the second or third person to do so; and someone has to be posting all those jobs. There’s a new head hunting subreddit that really only has two active participants: the forum’s creator and myself. I’ll be honest, a part of me worries what the impact of too many recruiters may have on Reddit – mostly inbox spam, the thought of which is making me cringe – I would encourage more sourcers and recruiters to at least check it out. It would be fun to have a more active subreddit to discuss the RPO industry.

Joining Reddit

Okay, so you want to give it a try! Awesome! Setting up an account is pretty easy; although I will advise you to verify your account so you can post more often and you won’t be locked out if you forget your password (they won’t allow you to reset your password on an unverified account). Once you’re in, I suggest subscribing to relevant subforums right away in order to tailor your front page is tailored to your interests. If you’re unfamiliar with internet culture, lurk a little before posting to get a feel for things before you post so you don’t sound out of place. Read the FAQ and “reddiquette,” and familiarize yourself with proper formatting for job postings.

Finally, don’t spam! If every active member of, say, the sysadmin subreddit gets a cookie cutter message (or two, or fifty) along the lines of “hello X, I saw your post on r/sysadmin and I was wondering if you were open to new job opportunities . . .” we’re going to have a problem.


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