Is open source still a recruitment tool?

If you want to secure hotshots to your start-up you have to recruit. How much of that involves proving your open source bonafides?
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

As part of its effort to find the best employees it can, Twitter has launched a directory to the open source projects it supports, with cute little icons representing the employees working on each one.

It was apparently enough to bring in former Google programmer Isaac Hepworth, although it's also possible the cover sheet on his offer letter -- with happy little birdies (right) -- had something to do with it, too.

Despite high unemployment true talent remains in short supply. This is especially true in tech. Most of those without work in this downturn came from construction or manufacturing, others from office jobs squeezed out by other parts of the downturn.

Besides, we're talking talent. People aren't all the same. The best chefs, the best basketball players, even the very best plumbers can always find work. Employers seek them out.

Programming is the same. Critics will argue that it's skewed, like basketball, toward those who are youngest, those with the freshest games and the latest skills. Increasingly this means folks with open source experience.

It does seem everyone has a blog, or at least a home page, and this is especially true for young, talented programmers. They maintain their course lists, collections of projects they have worked on, the names of their advisers, and (sometimes) pictures of their pets, from the time they walk on campus until they leave.

These pages may list real-world programming experience done while in school, often open source programming experience, because universities are hotbeds of open source activity, and projects outside school are always looking for help.

Corporate recruiters may hit these pages the way college recruiters do sites covering high school basketball players. But it's not enough to identify the talent. You have to convince them to sign on your dotted line.

If you want to secure these hotshots to your start-up, or even your going concern, you have to do more than put an ad on Craigslist. You have to recruit.

How much of that pitch involves proving your open source bonafides? Any corporate talent coordinators want to tweet on this?

Editorial standards