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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 (Intersted, 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 scheudled 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.

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 along to Recruiting.

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



As our company continues to see rapid growth, we need to aim to hire the best talent out there and we want all GitLabber’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.