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Sourcing.io (sourcing.io)
94 points by jmduke on Dec 26, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 57 comments

Engineers are valuable for what they can learn (skills and about the problems they are solving) not for what they know at a particular point in time.

A myopic way to look at hiring.


You should care about the delta of an engineer's career and knowledge. That says a lot more about how they'll perform now and in the future.

These days companies prove themselves to engineers. I'd rather see something like a more descriptive and meaningful glassdoor so that I can know what companies are worth my time.

Tags/attributes like:

"$company is in the 67% percentile for employee freedom in your job type [Software Engineer]"

"$company practices open allocation."

"$company is known for fast-firing. They are also known for paying XX% above average for your job type [Software Engineer]"

I don't want some bullshit tag-based skill endorsement clone of LinkedIn profiles. I hate LinkedIn for a reason. I definitely don't need to be even more discoverable by recruiters - my website is a fucking curse on that front as it is. I leave it up because I do get valuable conversations going because of it.

I'm more interested in sites that could further balance the lopsided information power dynamic between employers and employees.

I want to know if there's a chance of a fit between me and the company before I even email somebody.

A company is more likely to be able to recruit me the more substantive information I have about what it's like to work for them. Shut the fuck up about perks, tell me about how you empower your employees to perform their best and entrust them to do the job as it needs to be done.

Things like sourcing.io don't just hurt engineers, they hurt the companies that recruit like this (technology checklisting) too.


Making it even easier for lazy recruiters to be shitty is a bullshit thing to do. May the spam of a thousand recruiters looking for "Senior Java developers" flood your inbox and decimate your sanity MacCaw.

(I'm working with Alex on Sourcing.io.)

Hi Chris--I completely agree that an engineer's ability to learn is a huge part of their value. With that said, many companies are searching for engineers who are intimately familiar with particular languages or frameworks. Anyone can get comfortable with a new framework over a weekend--it takes much longer to be become an expert.

Your idea for a better Glassdoor is an interesting. In the future we're hoping to build a set of tools for engineers who are interested in getting a job--we'd like to cater to both sides of the market.

Alex and I do not want to increase the volume of recruiting spam in the world. Poorly-constructed, boilerplate emails are the mark of a bad technical recruiter--we're not building tools to help them. We want to give the great technical recruiters a tool to help them figure out if they should be sending an email to an engineer in the first place. Furthermore, we're encouraging our customers to have the C*O's and engineers construct and send the initial emails--an email from the person you'd be working with is much better than another piece of recruiting spam.

If you'd like to get in touch and chat more please feel to email on richard@sourcing.io.

I don't know if it's universal (Dutch freelance IT); but I would loooove to have a tool that would:

* broadcast my availability to a group of approved (company) recruiters

* let recruiters propose companies to me (and have me list companies I already have contacts at or was introduced at.)

* let me set up job interviews with the interesting opportunities

* and, most importantly, let the recruiters/companies place bids on me negotiate.

I've found that every time I'm on the market I'm essentially running this auction myself and it's a lot of work.

Given the massive impact it has on my earnings I'd love some tooling that would let me focus on the important parts of this process rather than the administrative minutiae.

That is an interesting idea to have some kind of broker platform where you trade skills against rates. I have been exploring a small job platform idea too, and maybe anyone out there wants to chat more?

During my latest round of searching for a new gig, I realized I could use an application to at least track the opportunities I had. If you juggle a bit of interviews at once it becomes a little difficult to keep things sane if you aren't careful. Having something to help me refine my crappy interviews or take adequate notes to realize the pros and cons for future endeavors would've been a godsend. I hadn't really done a lot of interviews for development shops around here so I had no clue what I was missing until I saw it first hand. I kept somewhat adequate notes in OneNote (yes, windows phone and yes I know I'm one of 3 users). I even made an Excel spreadsheet to keep most of the information together but nothing beats charts, graphs, or adequate reminders like "Hey, you should likely prepare for the interview you're about to have buddy" because the ones I weren't prepared for sucked hardcore and they were totally my fault.

I had the idea that it could be beneficial to freelancers/contractors as they do the same thing but usually in much more limited time scales to the x months I took. I'm one to share ideas because if someone makes it, I'll stop building it. As someone that wants to be a freelancer at some point, I don't look forward to the oDesks of the world (no offense to people that do great there) but having just something to keep all of these plates spinning more freely would help a lot of people I think.

Interesting, so you say it is also a problem to track the jobs that company offers? I totally agree that ODesks, elance, etc. are very poor to find a good match between project and interest and rate. These platforms are really about "out-"sourcing, often not about developing solutions to your unique problems.

Well, the main problem is that companies often don't know what skills they really need, and employees don't get a sense for the work culture from vague job descriptions.

Last, from what I heard was that most freelance jobs go via the personal network anyhow.

Just curious if there are others interested in discussing a better project platform for freelancers, and the way to meaningful work? Have a look at http://voki.me for a rough prototype.

I'm currently working on something like that. Still looking for a cofounder: www.innerloop.io

I used to say this as well, as someone who has done C# (5yrs), Perl(2yrs), and Python(5yrs) work. But the truth is that there is a training/ramp-up period during that learning period.

When I made the switch from C# to Python it probably took me a year or two before I became as good at Python as I was at C#. This is also true for a lot of the developers I currently work with who are using Python for the first time.

There is something to be said about being a master of a language, libraries, and tooling around a certain platform and getting there isn't a quick 1-2 week crash course in the language. Sure you can figure out the syntax and make things work, but if you are truly an expert in 1 language, you wont be comparable in another for at least a year while you use the language and learn the ins-and-outs.

People never ask me language questions at work, "how do I do a for loop", but I get daily questions on how virtualenvs work, python packaging, and what libraries to use.

A lot of people have a "Clojure" tag on their LinkedIn profile. It doesn't mean anything. You have to assume in any case that if you're seeking depth, you're going to have to talk to them.

The problem is the tacit assumption that the engineer doesn't also need to pre-validate the company before an interview.

> Engineers are valuable for what they can learn

This statement is also myopic and bordering on cliche. While true, there are a lot of times want to hire for a specific skill set. For instance, if there's a problem that needs solving right now, or a team that needs a new lead (assuming you must bring on outside leads), or a whole number of scenarios.

> You should care about the delta of an engineer's career and knowledge

This is, often times, a great indication of how competent an engineer will be.

Right, so I'll just come right out and say this:

What the flying fuck?

I already get a TON of recruiterspam (much of it hilariously inaccurate, like offering me a relocation bonus to move to the city I was living in).

Based on their "How do you find engineers" answer

  >  We scour the web, and use multiple different sources of public data to find candidates. Next we put all that information through a variety of different algorithms to try and separate the wheat from the chaff. 
I would presume that you're gunna scrape my github, notice that I've got code in a couple of big projects, and then proceed to email me? How the hell do I opt out? Or view the profile that you've got for me?

(I'm working on Sourcing.io.)

We don't currently have a quick-and-easy way for you to opt out--we will do soon. If you'd like to email me on richard@sourcing.io I'd be more than happy to find your profile, show it to you, and remove it permanently.

As an aside, we really hate recruiter spam too. We've just got started but our plan is to build a tool to help great recruiters manage engineer-to-engineer outreach--it's much better to receive a recruiting email from the person you'd be working with. If you're interested, they can connect you to their technical recruiter who can manage the process from there.

Just for understanding: What is a "great" recruiter in your view? So far, I haven't met any that did much more than making a phone call.

Email sent. Looking forward to hearing back.

Reply sent--thanks for getting in touch.

I don't understand. They say "we find you developers from our database of 4 million devs" but later say that they find them from YOUR github/fb/linkedin/twitter connections? So is this a sort of web scraping tool?

Time for the damn GitHub to introduce more privacy, instead of putting all you ever do in a PUBLIC activity feed, with no opt out.

Time to stop using GitHub.

i thought they gave privacy options to paying users, no?

(I'm working on Sourcing.io.)

Apologies for the confusion here--we're going to be adding a much more detailed explanation of what we do to the homepage soon. In the meantime, this blog post gives a broad outline of what we're doing: http://blog.sourcing.io/hello-world


Hi, I'm the co-founder of Sourcing.io, and the engineer who built it. Stoked that we're on HN, and get the chance to respond to the engineering and hacker community.

Our introduction blog post says a bit more about our mission.


Believe it or not, I hate 'spam' recruiting emails as much as the next engineer. This is how I feel about them:


We're not here to increase the spam problem - quite the opposite. We've put a number of safe guards in place against this kind of abuse:

* We don't allow big recruitment agencies known for spamming on the system.

* Our system is geared around referral based recruiting - finding people already connected to your company. For example, promoting candidates who follow one of your engineers on Twitter. This is the type of recruiting we live for and want to promote.

That said, there are definitely some things we should (and will) do.

* Allow developers to see, edit and update their own profiles

* An instant opt-out button

Let me know if there's anything else I can answer.

I appreciate this idea leveraging data from Twitter and GitHub and truly believe that's the better way to find professional engineers which are associated with your community somehow. What about intelligent algorithms to evaluate and to display engineer skills (points or school grades)?

We actually originally started generating a 'score' for engineers, and it's still part of our API. However, we dropped it from the interface since it was confusing a lot of people, and the score tended to reflect how popular an engineer was, rather than how good they were. As you can imagine, figuring out the latter is a very complex problem. For now, we've removed it.

That's true. It's nearly impossible to evaluate accurately how good an engineer was, but for me personally it seems to be useful to display similar informations to companies. Something like "geek cred" (coderwall.com) or open-source track record, because building many projects is one of the key-factors of experience. Coderwall published that they work with statistical methods like central tendency. https://coderwall.com/blog/2012-02-05-the-companies-id-want-...

That they launched with a price tag and functionality for recruiters but nothing to even let developers see the profiles they've assembled, without consent, by scraping public data tells you all you need to know about their respect for engineers.

(I work at Sourcing.io.)

This is a very valid criticism--we need to do a much better job of explaining the service to engineers. Like most startups, we've got a list of things we'd love to build but haven't had time to. With that said, the tools for engineers could certainly have been prioritized. At the very least, we should have added a simple way to opt out. We will be adding this soon.

I'm not sure you quite understand the concept of "public".

It's a specialised search engine. It aggregates public data, data you have said the world should see, and presents it in a form that a particular userbase might appreciate.

Not honest to say its 'our database' when you are just scraping/searching github and stuff.

But I looked at the https://help.github.com/articles/github-terms-of-service and I don't think it says you can't scrape to a database, although at least one clause about reselling or whatever causes a question.

Its cool if they are honest in their marketing and actually add something to github search, which I am pretty sure they do, because github search isn't very good.

Anyway seems very useful but don't really like the marketing.

(I work on Sourcing.io.)

I'm sorry to to hear that you don't like the copy on the homepage--it's definitely a work in progress and I appreciate the feedback. We're going to be adding a section for engineers soon.

Just as Google keeps a copy of the web, we have an index of all the engineers we can find in a database. This is built up by crawling publicly available information.

When developers on a team using sourcing.io connect themselves to the service (in order to enable the social search functionality), does this add them to the sourcing.io database? If so, doing this would probably lead to more spammy recruitment emails for all those devs.

(I'm working on Sourcing.io.)

Great question. Our database is built up by indexing publicly available information. Some (or all) of the engineers that connect their accounts will already have a GitHub account and, if so, will probably be in our index. However, we certainly don't use the social connection feature to index even more people, particularly if they're not publishing code and are more private.

The ability to see your team's extended network of engineers is really useful but we recognize that it's pretty scary to connect your personal social accounts to an app that's work-related. We're working hard to earn the trust of the engineers who happy to share their network with their employers.

First of all, best of luck with this guys.

This approach has been already tried many different times. I've got some friends that really pushed really high on that whole "recruiting via web scrapping" thing - https://masterbranch.com/ ( feel free to contact them, they are really nice guys ).

I wish you luck because I understand this approach never really worked for anyone. IMHO, it's simple [Disclaimer: I created a super fancy ATS software / job board too and did all the sales up to a point of really hating HR people :)], recruiters are truly lazy and are interested only on tools that do their job - something understandable as the sourcing part of the job is really weary. Web scrapping tools instead of doing their job just add more noise to it, i.e. forward them tons of profiles that are not really interested in the specific job posting they are marketing. You might think most developers are always open to move because some of us might be, but many people are really happy with their daily jobs, so this sort of tool always ends up making angry both sides of the coin: the developer and the recruiter.

So, it does not really matter that your "database" has 4M people on it. Even if those are somehow linked to the company recruiting. When as a recruiter I search for "node.js programmer" and get 100 results back but 99 of them are not interesting in changing jobs, well... that sucks. I wouldn't use the tool again myself. And going further with this example, well, believe me, most recruiters would think the tool sucks if just the first three profiles are not interested in the job.

But hey, I insist, I wish you the best of luck. Just pointing some stuff I learnt ( hopefully for you wrongly learnt ) during my HR entrepreneurship stage.

Thanks for sharing the link Masterbranch--it looks like they're catering to both sides of the market place. I'd be really interested to hear more about what you learning during your foray into recruiting--could you email me on richard@sourcing.io?

I was expecting an ability to view the data not so much as a way to opt out, but to see if there's anything I could improve. Maybe something is public that is only hurting my "score" so to speak. Maybe the little I contribute to other OSS projects due to limited free time is hurting me more than I expect?

I purposefully went to the site hoping I could see something on myself without going behind a paywall. I'm starting a new gig on 1/6 and even if I weren't, I'm not quite the "target market." I do want to recommend this to the powers that be and hopefully use myself as a "control" to find a somewhat adequate replacement. I'm such a jack of all trades though that I'm afraid I may not be adequate for that either.

I do quite understand that $95/mo is much less than any recruiter fee over time so I completely understand the value of this service. It'll just be really hard to do a cold recommendation to have my soon-to-be-ex employer spend money on something they wouldn't be able to evaluate as easily as I can. I may be addressing problems Sourcing.io can't really speak to anyway. These may be "shoot ourselves in the foot" sort of issues no one can address but them.

Scraping data of engineers not looking for jobs with the purpose of recruiter spam?

Sounds like that dating site that scraped facebook and called it their userbase:


Honestly, sometimes this stuff really works and only seems shady before it takes off.

But sometimes it's just shady.

Yikes, on the one hand this sounds like a very useful search tool for technical recruiting. On the other, it sounds like its usefulness depends on how many members of your team you sign up for it...and once someone is signed up they scrape all their data and add it to their "database".

(I work on Sourcing.io.)

Although the social connections feature is really helpful, there are lots of other ways you can use Sourcing.io to search for engineers. There a lots of other ways to filter the data: location, project contributions, language experience, current employer, et al. For example, to find people who might be a fit for your DevOps role at Perfect Audience, you might want to see all the engineers that had contributed to Graphite's web app (https://github.com/graphite-project/graphite-web) or have lots great DevOps people following them on Twitter--we try make these kinds of searches really easy to do.

So how does one know if they are in your database?

(I work on Sourcing.io.)

Right now we don't have a simple way for engineers to see what their profile looks like--we'll be adding this soon. In the meantime, please feel free to email on richard@sourcing.io so I can show you what your profile looks like. If you'd like to be permanently removed from our index I can do that right away.

Hmm, so there might a profile created for me without my permission? This is wrong in my opinion, and illegal too in Finland.

Alex and Richard good job. looking at the progress of your competitor's link below, suggest to me that what you are building is needed. http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/19/entelo-the-big-data-recruit... leverage social data to search for and identify great candidates

While I may like the project, I really hope that in many countries is illegal to earn from profiles of oblivious people who never choose to be part of an "offer"

Why does it need my credit card number during trial period?

This is one specific reason I have no Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. (And I still get tons of recruiter spam calls and emails.)

won't this just enable recruiters to spam developers?

(I'm working on Sourcing.io.)

While that is a possible outcome, we're working really hard to make sure that doesn't happen. We'd hate to be responsible for an increase in the volume of recruiter-spam sent to engineers every day. Although this isn't on the homepage, we are planning to add a set of tools so that engineers can manage their profiles and companies' technical recruiters can coordinate engineer-to-engineer outreach. We believe that it's a lot better when engineers should receive cold recruiting emails from the people they'd actually be working with.

So the answer is /yes/. Everyone you index has to know about you, and go to your website in order to opt them out of receiving emails they never asked to receive in the first place? That means it's spam.

Ok, It's good that you are working in an opt out, but how about of an opt in?, many developers don't have a public profile to scrape their abilities..

How is this different to http://www.3sourcing.com/ (500 Startups 007 batch) ?

Hello, I'm working Alex on Sourcing.io. Please feel free to ask me a question here or email me at any time (richard@sourcing.io).

I asked this on Twitter and never got a reply - how do I opt out?

I get enough spam already from recruiters on LinkedIn - even though I've said I'm not looking for work.

If you want to make this useful, become opt in only. As a recruiter, I don't want to waste time emailing people who aren't looking for work.

(I work with Alex on Sourcing.io.)

Apologies for the delay in responding your tweet--I found it here(https://twitter.com/edent/status/415537481829068801). I'll get back to you over Twitter as soon as we've removed you from the index.

We are working on a set of tools to allow engineers to manage their profile on Sourcing.io (and opt out)--I hope that they'll be good enough to encourage you to re-join.

Thanks. Although, in the spirit of HN pedantry, I cannot re-join as I never joined in the first place.

Please, I urge you to move to an opt-in only model. Otherwise you run the risk of being as despised as Klout and other similar forced participation sites.

Correct! That was not clear. I hope you'll forgive the transgression as I'm juggling a few forms of communication at the moment--this HN submission came out of the blue.

I completely understand your perspective. The problem for companies who want to recruit great people is that most of them aren't looking for new a job (several studies put the percentage at around 80%). Therefore, companies are forced to reach out to those people to pique their interest. There's a subset of great companies who take the time to craft personalized, relevant emails to these people; there are some who even get their engineers to write the initial email. We want to work with these kinds of companies.

> The problem for companies who want to recruit great people is that most of them aren't looking for new a job

Right, then they're not looking for a new job. What part of that do you not understand?

I'm not actively seeking new employment and am very happy at my current position. However, I am always (passively) interested in new opportunities, and am not going to ignore something awesome that falls in to my lap. A service like this is actually very valuable for someone like me.

That said, opt-in is the way to go. I definitely don't understand the seemingly contradictory point of view of them saying "we don't like recruiter spam either" and "we find ways for companies to send unsolicited requests".

So, I would fall under the categorization of "aren't looking for a new job", while at the same time don't agree with the opt-out (without an actual opt-out mechanism) nature of this service.

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