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Many companies have difficulty recruiting developers, and there are are numerous reasons why this is a difficult task (a shortage of skilled prospects, few really good resources for recruiting, etc). It’s no secret that the savvy companies (and those few tech recruiters who “get it”) have turned to open source communities in order to do their recruiting and their candidate sourcing.

At first, this seems like it makes a lot of sense. Want to find great developers? Go where great developers go. Today, that might look something like this:

  1. Go to github and search for developers in your geographic area
  2. Look for developers who use or contribute to the same tools that you do
  3. Try to poach them from their current employer.

But even though it’s miles ahead of the “must have CS degree and 15 years of Ruby on Rails experience” folks, there’s still a problem. You’re still doing recruiting the old-fashioned way, and if you’re not careful, it’s really easy to fall into the same trap that makes developers hate head-hunters: Don’t be a pushy salesman.

What are companies to do?

There’s another approach to recruiting, and while it at first may seem subtle, I propose that it will result in significant recruiting wins in the long-term.Encourage your developers to participate in open source projects.That’s it. It’s simple, straightforward, and it has numerous beneficial side-effects. It also makes a significant cultural statement about your company:

  • You value openness.
  • You trust your developers.
  • You realize the value of reusable code, and a generic approach to problem-solving.

In effect, you’re advertising your company as a great place to work simply by engaging in (what could soon become) your day-to-day activity. When you can show that your team is solving real problems in an interesting manner, you will find that other developers want to work with you.Eventually, the best way to recruit new developers will be to hire those that are already working with your team.

Building a Company Page on Work for Pie is a great way to show off your team and their open source contributions. And if you want more advice like this, you should check out PieWorks, our recruiting consulting and management service.