• Reuben Roth

Sourcing for Developer Relations

It’s easy to see the stress on a recruiter when a company needs a technical hire. It’s harder to know the pressure it exerts on a Founder, their team, and the investors who heavily rely on this successful hire.


Being able to put yourself in the shoes of your future hire is always critical to your sourcing mission and success, but perhaps even more so when the hire is uber technical.


There’s an untold amount of upside in taking just a few minutes before a search to consider what is the most effective way to find and nurture a candidate pool while ensuring the highest return on your time.


And here’s how I think about a Developer Relations search for an Open Source Enterprise SaaS company building Kubernetes operators and controllers.


Before we begin, I’m going under the following assumptions:

  1. You’re a recruiter, sourcer, or founder interested in creative sourcing techniques to hire the right DevRel candidate/team.

  2. You’re familiar with the title DevRel and what they do, but if you aren’t, I suggest reading this content-rich article from Decibel.

  3. You’re awesome for reading a blog on technical sourcing ;)


And if you’re ok with the three assumptions above, I think we can move forward and start to formulate our sourcing strategy.


Why is having a sourcing strategy important?


Not every role is challenging to hire for, and some don’t require much overhead thinking. But as the hire’s technical complexity increases, then I find a bit of research and planning can save weeks on time-to-hire.


Sourcing strategies may help keep your efforts focused and reduce viewing candidate overlaps while building out your candidate pool.


And for our sourcing strategy today, we’ll want to define the following questions:

  1. What will this hire be doing?

  2. What prior experience is needed for #1?

  3. What social sites do these individuals spend their time on?


To keep our DevRel example simple and concise, I’ll answer the questions above with:

  1. Content creation

  2. Hands-on experience with K8s

  3. Twitter

Keep in mind that our goal is to maximize the time we focus on sourcing while getting the highest ROI on our efforts. Basically, reducing the number of false positives in our candidate pool. And by answering the questions above, I’ve only just created a hypothesis that I’ll be looking to validate over time.


I decided to use Twitter as our sourcing social network during this search because I believe it’s where the most active candidates are the most qualified DevRel.


To begin, let’s see what Twitter returns us when we do a simple search for #Kubernetes or #developer relations.


Below are the results Twitter gives us for these two keyword searches.


From a quick glance, the #Kubernetes search is the clear winner of our two as it returned more relevance to the company we’re representing today. The developer relations search may still have use, but we’ll come back to this after we’ve exhausted the #Kubernetes search.


Let’s explore a little deeper into the #Kubernetes search to see if we find anything exciting:

  1. @kubernetesio is following 92 people and has 284k followers

  2. @memenetes is following 1 person and has 34k followers


My immediate preference is to stay away from the 284k followers since we’re still validating our sourcing hypothesis, and that number is quite large. But 92 people is quite reasonable to explore, and if those don’t give a positive signal then the 34k followers is still significantly more digestible than the 284k.


Let’s take a peek at the 92 folks who are followed by #kubernetesio



Ahh, and perhaps we need a slightly larger pool since I see my neighbor, Sundar Pichai, pop up in the thread. No need to ping him when I can ask him about the role next time we’re both grabbing our mail. Let’s peek at the larger candidate pool of 34k followers.



A few things are clear from the very beginning:

  1. All of the prospects in this screenshot mention K8s

  2. 4 of the 5 prospects have indicated something about DevRel

  3. I don’t recognize a single person from my neighborhood

  4. And this type of technical individual loves dank memes


Jokes aside, I validated this source of DevRel candidates through about 100 more followers, and now it’s time to enrich the leads.


Fortunately, at Zenture, our development team has built a few sourcing tools that can immediately pull and enrich these 35,000 leads. But for this blog post, I added them to this CSV, created a few filters, and found over 1,000 candidates.


And now it’s time to reach out - I hope you enjoyed this blog post!







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