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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.

Sourcing vs. Referrals

Sourcing and making referrals are similar activities, because they both involve recommending people to join the company. They differ in familiarity and confidence, however:

Because of this difference, sourcing is usually not a very detailed activity, and it is common for a person to source dozens of candidates in a brief session where they may rarely if ever make a referral. This also means that referral bonuses and other incentive programs for referrals do not apply to sourced candidates.

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 candidates doesn’t mean that you should know these people in person. For anyone that you do not have a personal relationship with, simply add them as a Prospect to Greenhouse. To do this you should go to Greenhouse, click on Add a candidate and then switch to the Prospect tab. This means that these people won’t be counted as your referrals. Once a candidate expresses their interest in our openings, you can convert a Prospect to a Candidate status in Greenhouse. If you have anyone that you know or are familiar with that you think would be a good candidate, please make sure to submit them to Greenhouse as a referral (you can ask a Recruiter for a link).

The most efficient way to source candidates for any position 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.

When you have identified someone as a good potential candidate, send their profile along with any requested information to your Sourcing partner in recruiting so they can reach out to the candidate. You can check the Sourcer alignment here. 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.

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 happy to tool up our hiring managers and all the team members involved in hiring with the needed sourcing licenses. You can request a Hiring Manager seat to be able to collaborate with your Recruiters/Sourcers on LinkedIn. You can also request the upgrade to a Recruiter seat if you're actively involved in sourcing. Kindly note that you should ask your Sourcer/Recruiter to upgrade your account. We won't be able to reimburse any LinkedIn seats purchased at your own expense. Please make sure to associate your GitLab email with your LinkedIn profile before requesting a new Hiring Manager or Recruiter seat.

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

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:



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

When you source a candidate and provide their information to our recruiting team, you can expect that they will receive an email asking them if they’re interested in talking about an opportunity to join our team. You won’t be involved or mentioned in this process aside from having passed their information along.

We do try to personalize these emails 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.