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Purpose of Sourcing

The speed with which we can grow our team is dependent on the rate at which we get qualified applicants. If we have capacity to interview more applicants than we are receiving organically, we may resort to active sourcing in an attempt to close the gap.

The purpose of sourcing is to generate a large list of qualified potential candidates. From this list, Recruiting will solicit interest, and we hope to increase the number of qualified candidates in our pipeline.

Sourced vs. Prospect

Sourced - a candidate who is IQA'd (Interested, Qualifed, Available). This candidate has shown interest and is scheduled to speak with someone (Recruiter/Hiring Manager) at GitLab.
Prospect - a candidate that looks good based on the information we have available (LinkedIn, GitHub, Blogs, Conference Talks, etc…). The candidate has been reached out to but we do not have any response or anything scheduled with them. These should be marked as prospects when added to Greenhouse.

How to Source Candidates

"Sourcing", in general, means that you don't know and would not be able to speak about the candidate confidently in a professional sense with GitLab. At best, your sentiment might be, "They seem qualified."

For anyone that you do not have a personal relationship with, please add them as a Prospect in Greenhouse. Here's how to do that:

  1. Click the "+" button, then Add a Candidate
  2. Switch to the Prospect tab and complete the in-take form
    • After receiving confirmation from a Prospect about moving forward in a vacancy can you change them over to a Candidate.

This means that such candidates do not qualify as Referrals; more information about the Referrals can be found on the Referral Process page.

The most efficient way to source candidates for any vacancy is to search through a professional network, such as LinkedIn, AngelList, etc. for people who match the skillset and job history that you are looking for. For some positions, other networks may prove useful as well - for example, someone sourcing for a developer role could search GitLab profiles to identify promising candidates. Professional networks however make it easy to scan a person's employment history quickly and efficiently and are designed to present their best impression to potential employers. Because of this, they are a very efficient tool for finding potential candidates.

Engagement of Candidates within Sourcers - The process of contacting the candidates are as per the following scenarios:

  1. Re-contacting the candidate for the same position: If the candidate hasn't replied to the previous inmails, the other sourcer should recontact the candidate after 3 months.
  2. Re-contacting the candidate for another position: A Sourcer can reach out to the candidates if they haven't responded from the past inmails. Please consult with the other Sourcer who contacted them previously and take a call.

New to LinkedIn? Use LinkedIn Boolean hack Follow the instruction on the sheet, discuss with your recruiting partner/sourcer for the keywords. If you have LinkedIn Recruiter account - feel free to reach out or add into a Project to discuss with the manager or recruiting partner.

If you don't have Recruiter account, put the leads you sourced on this Leads sheet, shared it with your recruiting partner so they can reach out!

When you have identified someone as a good potential candidate, send their profile along with any requested information to a Sourcer so they can reach out to the candidate and add them to Greenhouse. You can check the Sourcer alignment here. As an alternative, you can also ask the prospective candidate to apply directly. Kindly note that in this case, their application won't be automatically credited to your name but you can ask the Sourcing team to change this.

If you want to reach out to a sourced candidate directly you can refer to our reach out templates or create your own message. Kindly discuss your communication strategy with your Sourcing partner to avoid duplication and poor candidate experience.

Take a look at these talent brand resources for the latest team member count, employer awards, blog posts, and more facts about working at GitLab. These resources are meant to help guide your outreach to potential candidates.

Diversity - In accordance to our values of diversity and inclusion, and to build teams as diverse as our users, Recruiting provides a collection of diversity sourcing tools here to expand our hiring teams’ candidate pipelines. If you have any questions on how to implement these resources into your current sourcing strategy or have suggestions for new tools, please reach out to Recruiting.

Upgrading your LinkedIn account

We're eager to provide hiring managers and all hiring team members with a LinkedIn Recruiter seat.

Based on LinkedIn's research, passive candidates are more likely to respond to direct outreach from a hiring manager or hiring team member than from a recruiter or sourcer. That's why we're encouraging greater adoption and use of LinkedIn Recruiter company-wide. A few benefits to upgrading are being able to collaboratively source candidates with other team members via Projects and being able to send unlimited InMails (InMail metrics is one of our KPIs).

You can request one of the following seats (we recommend requesting a Recruiter seat):

To upgrade your seat, please add your GitLab email to your LinkedIn profile, then submit an Access Request Issue using the LinkedIn Access Request template within the Recruiting Operations project.

To integrate your LinkedIn account with Greenhouse, please refer to the Enabling LinkedIn Recruiter System Connect section on the Greenhouse page.

Please reach out to your recruiter for tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile, write an InMail, and use Projects.

To note, we won't be able to reimburse any LinkedIn seats purchased at your own expense.

Sourcing Sessions

Sourcing Session is a required step of the recruiting process for every role at GitLab. These sessions help us to ensure that we look for outbound talent and leverage our sourcing effort for all the roles we’re hiring for.

Once a new role is opened, Sourcer assigned to the role will discuss with Recruiter and Hiring Manager who should participate in the Sourcing session and schedule it within 5 business days after the intake call.

You can find more information about Sourcing Sessions on the Recruiting Process - Sourcer Tasks page.



As our company continues to see rapid growth, we need to aim to hire the best talent out there and we want all GitLab team-member’s to participate with the Recruiting team in building the greatest GitLab crew! We ask you all to contribute by digging into LinkedIn or your favorite social media space and add candidates to the spreadsheet. By doing this, we are reaching out to people that are very closely aligned with the team’s needs and finding better-suited candidates, instead of just waiting for ad-response! (We call that, “the Post and Pray” model).

Source-a-thon participants

How to organize


Source-a-thon targets

What We Do With Potential Candidates

Save the sourcing strings for future reference to the project to help generate new strings from different perspectives.

When you source a candidate and provide their information to our sourcing team, you can expect that they will receive an email or inmail asking them if they’re interested in talking about an opportunity to discuss the position. The sourcer will then upload their profile from LinkedIn to our applicant tracking system and tag their name as sourcer to follow their candidacy through the process.

We do try to personalize these emails or inmails as much as feasibly possible so that they are not impersonal or "spammy," and we rely on the team sourcing to identify relevant and qualified candidates to ensure these messages are as meaningful as possible.

Example: Sourcing Developers

Here's an example workflow for sourcing developer candidates:

  1. In LinkedIn, search for "ruby on rails" developer. LinkedIn presents you with a list of matching profiles.
  2. Based on their current company/job title, open any profiles that look interesting in a new tab.
  3. Review the candidate's job history and skillset for positive indicators, like:
    • Multiple endorsements for Ruby
    • Tenure at established/strong Rails companies
    • Startup/product experience
    • …or anything else that makes them seem likely to be a fit for our team
  4. If they seem like a good fit, pass their information to the Recruiting team by adding them as a Candidate to Greenhouse. To do so, please login to Greenhouse and click on Add a candidate on the top right. Once a candidate is submitted, please ping any Sourcer (all information about our Sourcing Team are linked on the team page), by @ mentioning them in the notes section in Greenhouse - this will ensure we reach out to them! If you need any help with adding a candidate to Greenhouse - kindly reach out to any of our Sourcers.

Following this method - and with practice scanning profiles - it's possible to find a few dozen potential good candidates in 30 minutes or less.

Example: Sourcing Product Designers

Here's an example workflow for sourcing Product Design candidates:

  1. Before starting a search, you should spend some time defining the skills and experience you're looking for in the ideal Product Designer. You should look to outline the organization(s) this person may have worked at, the product(s) they could have worked on, any domain-specific experience they will need (e.g. monitoring, authentication, or Kubernetes), and the level this person will need to be at.
  2. From here, we advise adopting a tree ring sourcing strategy. With this approach, you begin with a search that is based on narrow criteria, formed of all of your most desirable attributes.
  3. To start your search, open LinkedIn Recruiter, and select PROJECTS from the top banner. Here you will need to either start a new project by naming it Product Designer - stage group, or open an existing project if the Recruiter has already shared one with you.
  4. Once you're in the project, you'll need to open up Talent Pool.
  5. Now you're on the search page. In a new project, the search field will be blank. You will see the last search run if you're in an existing project.
  6. If you're in a new project, you can begin your search using the job title search box on the left of the interface. You can input Product Designer to search for anyone who has held this title in their current or past role. If you're following a tree ring strategy, you should select current from the dropdown. In an exisiting project, you can delete all the information as this will be saved by the Recruiter. You can then start your search using the job title field.
  7. From here, you can refine this search further using the current company search box. Here, you can input the names of organizations you noted at the start of this process.
  8. Next, you can narrow your search further by searching for keywords that may be found within a potential candidate's Linkedin profile. The keywords you search for could be domain-specific, or keywords that could imply relevance for GitLab (e.g. Enterprise). You can narrow your search further by using a Boolean operator in the keyword search box within Linkedin. Authentication AND Authorization AND Enterprise could be an example keyword search you would run if looking for a Product Designer for our Manage:Access stage group.
  9. Finally, you may want to narrow your search even further by searching for the number of years a candidate has been in the industry. Years of experience are an imperfect measure of ability so you should only do this if your search is returning >200 candidates.
  10. In the above example, if the initial tree ring search returns too few candidates, you could broaden it by searching for (Authentication OR Authorization) AND Enterprise.
  11. If you decided to search by current job title, you may also wish to broaden the search by selecting current or past in the job title search field.
  12. Alternatively, you can broaden your search further by searching for alternative job titles like UX Designer, Visual Designer, or Interaction Designer, if you believe someone with that title will be relevant for the role you're sourcing for.

Saving your search

  1. If you're looking to come back to the same search at a later date, you can save the search string by selecting the save icon. This is found next to showing results for at the top of the search box.

  2. When you wish to come back to the saved search, you can find it by opening search history and alerts. Again, this is at the top of the search box on the left side of the screen.

Some things to keep in mind when sourcing Product Designers: