by Elliot Garms, Founder/CEO of humanpredictions


When reaching out to tech people and places outside of LinkedIn, use these tips to improve your response rates and find great candidates.


Tactics to Boost Your Response Rate When Reaching Out to Tech Talent

The tech industry is hotter than ever before, and the competition for hiring tech talent continues to increase. Tech people are receiving an unprecedented amount of emails from recruiters, and they are generally not responsive to template recruiting messages/spam. Here are some tips to help you write messages that actually get a response and that represent your company/employer brand in a positive light in the process.

  • Understand that tech people get A LOT of recruiter emails and generally hate spam/template messages. 
  • It’s best to keep your initial email short and sweet (3-5 sentences).
  • Make the email about THEM instead of about you and your open job.
  • Write for a long-term relationship instead of a “yes” or “no” about a job (“Would love to introduce myself” instead of “Do you want a new job right now?”).
  • Demonstrate you’ve done some research on the person you’re emailing and talk about what led you to the candidate and how their skills/background relates to the company and specific opportunity.
  • Is the candidate active on Twitter, Meetup, Stackoverflow, etc.? Do they have a personal website? If so, try and mention something you noticed about them online.
  • Does the candidate have any interests outside of work that align with your interests (Fitness, photography, music, foodie, craft beer, whiskey, dogs, cats, etc.)? If so, mention it in your email.
  • Do you have anything in common with the candidate (know some of the same people, went to the same school, worked at the same company? If so, mention it in your email.
  • Try using gifs and/or emojis in your outreach (digital body language).
  • Don’t ask strangers for referrals in cold outreach.
  • Try a PS line at the end of your email.

Places to Find Great Tech/Design Talent Outside of Linkedin

While LinkedIn has been the de facto place to find and recruit passive tech talent for over a decade, the value of the platform is beginning to diminish as techies flee to new, more niche sites/social networks. Below are some of the largest communities outside of LinkedIn where tech folks are publishing code and open source projects, asking/answering questions, sharing their portfolios, and organizing community events.

(56+ Million users as of Sept 2020)

Unfortunately, you need a GitHub account to search inside of their network. Luckily, setting up an account is free and easy. Once logged into your new GitHub account, use the search bar to search locations and languages.

(10+ Million users as of Jan 2019)

Use Stack Overflow’s user directory to search locations and languages.

(12+ Million users as of Nov 2019)

Use Behance’s public search to search locations and design tools/keywords.

(49+ Million users as of Dec 2019)

Choose a city e.g. “Chicago” and use keywords like “Python” or “Scala” or “Design” to find relevant Meetup groups.

Outreach Examples

Applying the tips and tricks from above, use these outreach examples to contact people you find in these niche communities outside of Linkedin.

“Hi Nikki, I saw you’re a part of the ML/AI meetup here in town. Our company is in the ML space, more specifically NLP. How have we not met yet? Would you be open to an intro call sometime?”


“Hey, John – ran across your Twitter feed while looking at potential deep learning candidates today and thought I’d reach out. Anyone who loves ML enough to put it in their Twitter bio is someone I want to meet!”


“Hi Giselle, Saw from your Twitter bio that you’re a fellow Bulls fan. What do you think of Billy Donovan as the new coach? We’re looking for some strong full-stack devs to join our team of mostly bulls fans… Wanted to reach out to introduce myself :-)”


“Hey JP, I saw that you gave a talk on reducing runtime at scale for a DevOps conference and wanted to reach out. We’re actively looking for an engineering leader who can help build out our new DevOps team.”


“Hey Matt, We’re a new data science startup in town and while poking around Kaggle today, I came across your profile (a few folks on the data team here are pretty active on Kaggle as well). I also noticed you were a part of the local data science meetup scene here in Chicago. Have you been able to attend any of the virtual events this year? If so, any events you’d recommend? Would be great to meet you sometime and get our startup on your radar!”


This article was written by Elliot Garms, Founder/CEO of humanpredictions.

My talent acquisition experience dates back to childhood when I got my start in high school sourcing for my father’s executive search business. My entire career has been spent in tech recruiting. In addition to running my own tech recruiting business for many years, I also led tech recruiting at Groupon and co-founded Dev Bootcamp Chicago. For the past six years, I’ve been building, a technical sourcing tool that offers customers a comprehensive tech talent database that uses public data from niche tech communities to help find tech talent outside of LinkedIn.