Credentials: Hung Lee and Erin Mathew, a Reddit sourcing expert, had a podcast episode where they’ve discussed the ways of sourcing candidates on Reddit, the largest forum with 330 million users engaged there. We have summarized key ideas and hints on how to source on Reddit + added practical info and boolean strings for you to use.

Reddit is the front page of the internet with a recruiting potential

According to Alexa, Reddit.com is the sixth-most-popular site in the United States and the 18th worldwide. To illustrate how powerful this social network is, the total number of LinkedIn monthly active users is 310 million, which is 120 million users less than on Reddit. In fact, Reddit is a massive collection of moderated forums, known as subreddits, where people can share content, ask questions, discuss any issues, related to the subreddit topic. Every Redditor can create a subreddit.

Five main advantages of Reddit:

  • There is a community about every subject.
  • Reddit community is uniquely engaged in comparison to other social networks.
  • Reddit is great not only for recruiting but also allows you to get to know the candidates from your industry better.
  • Reddit is an untapped goldmine of passive candidates. Strict community rules and text-heavy layout confuse many recruiters and put them off using the platform.
  • The tech audience loves hanging out on Reddit.

Unlike other social media networks, Reddit is not about gaining followers, likes, and comments. It is about sharing ideas and discussions. In comparison with Facebook, Instagram, etc., making huge revenues and gaining fame are not the main goals of Reddit. You need to remember that Reddit is a tight-knit community that does not accept strangers. It’s not a quick win – you have to invest a lot of time in it and be an active Redditor yourself. So first of all, before you start posting jobs there, start with engaging with the community, commenting and sharing information. If you are a complete stranger to Reddit, check out the FAQ page. It’ll give you insights into the basics of the platform, such as ‘What is a moderator?’ and ‘What are subreddits?’.

Reddit has an enormous tech audience ‘with more than 27M unique monthly visitors to technology communities, such as r/technologyr/futurologyr/gadgets and r/iphone‘. These subreddits are the perfect places to get to know your candidates better. The beautiful nature of Reddit is that its users feel freer to express themselves and share opinions and inside jokes about their jobs and industry. You can either passively listen for all these insightful discussions or, even better, engage in these communications and show you understand the things your potential candidates care about.

What you also need to remember is that Reddit members despise spam. The first goal of every recruitment Redditor should be the interaction with users and only after that vacancy promotion. Because if you post only job descriptions, you will be banned immediately. People should trust you. One of the first rules that can be found in Reddiquette, a directory of values and rules that every Redditor must follow, “Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life”. Just like in real life, on Reddit, you don’t negotiate a job offer without spending time to establish some minimal personal connection. Your profile has to be a 50/50 mix of recruitment and entertainment/non-recruiting content. Be a Redditor first and recruiter – second!

How do I find a candidate using Reddit?

1. Use Reddit boolean strings for candidate search

Sourcing on Reddit is much more time-consuming, but the quality of candidates can be much better than in other sources. For instance, the majority of Reddit users have some sort of higher education meaning it’s a decent sourcing place for both entry-level positions and vacancies which require years of experience. Moreover, on Reddit, you can easily identify users’ fields of interest and expertise. Hence, you don’t source by the profiles, but by behavior.

There are no profiles with detailed personal information on Reddit, so it is not that easy to evaluate a potential employee. You can know more about the location, working sphere, etc. through the various communities (Chicago jobs, for example). Also, you can use Reddit boolean strings which scan through the comments and index user profiles. The con of using boolean strings is that they do not cover any specific fields of profiles.

If you are not familiar with how boolean search in recruiting works, we recommend checking our Sourcing hacks #2 guide.

Here are Reddit candidate search strings examples:

  • React AND Node.js AND “for hire” Bay Area
  • React AND Node.js  “for hire” Bay Area 
  • React AND Node.js (“for hire” OR “looking for a job” OR “searching for a job” OR “lost my job” OR “looking for new opportunities” OR  “open to work” OR “open to new project”) (“Bay Area” OR “San Francisco” OR “California”)

Here is an example of how a complex Boolean string search gave us an immediate finding of a developer looking for a job on Reddit:

Reddit for hire developers search

2. Find relevant Reddit communities and spot candidates there

This approach is more time-consuming as you won’t be knowing the exact location of the developer. However, if you’re looking for talent in the United States in general, chances of spotting the candidate from the US are much higher — since users from other countries are making the minority of those communicating on Reddit.

As we mentioned, there are plenty of communities on Reddit where, for example, software developers hang out. You can find them by searching on Reddit or even Google, e.g., check subreddits like r/developers or just google “Reddit software developers”.

You are most obviously looking for a certain technology expert, so you better search for communities around those technologies where users discuss their problems. When you see a competent user who is sharing their knowledge with others, explore their profile.

Remember, that u/<name> is how you get to see the user’s profile, and you can find their other comments where they may share information on how to contact them, or their name.

developer profile sample on reddit

Proceed to the profile and check user’s posts and especially comments. This way, you’ll be able to spot user’s contact information or name or current or past company if they shared it anywhere.

If they did not but you are sure that the user is a very good specialist you might want to hire now or in the future, google their username and try to find profiles on other social networks.

reddit candidates search profiles

How to message a candidate in the best possible way?

What if you found a really great potential candidate but you cannot get their contacts in any other way except for contacting them on Reddit?

There is a way to gain the trust of an employee by giving them Reddit Coins — virtual goods that you can use to award exemplary posts or comments. Another valuable asset for Redditors is “Karma score” — Reddit uses upvotes or downvotes as its point system. Upvote candidate’s posts and message them: “Yeah I like your post, can we talk?”.

Nevertheless, the nature of Reddit is an honest type of approach — most people do not expect to be scrutinized by hiring managers. It is better to message a candidate using the other social platform because it is not a direct contact channel. You can get talent leads with contact details, including links to social media accounts, to your ATS instantly by using a sourcing solution such as AmazingHiring, an AI-based aggregator. There is a free Chrome plug-in that shows you the social profiles of the person you’re searching for.

Wrapping Up

Reddit is probably one of the best places to look for technical candidates, which is usually overlooked by recruiters. One of the reasons is that, unlike other social sites, Reddit has a tight-knit community that doesn’t take kindly to rule-breakers and spammers. Intrusive self-promotion is also an immediate red flag for most Redditors. It does take time to find your way around the platform before you can start gaining some benefits. Treat Reddit as social recruiting, not as a job board. And if you do it all right and follow our tips, recruiting on Reddit can bring some serious rewards and drive towards your ambitious talent acquisition goals.

If you’d like to know more about sourcing on Reddit, watch Brainfood Live and keep up with the latest news and updates in recruitment and the sourcing world!

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