Bloggers are some of the smartest, hardest working, best looking and cheapest candidates you can find. Well, not all of those, but they certainly are worth looking into as a source of candidates. Bloggers tend to have access to a wider range of cutting edge tools, assimilate information quickly, are cutting-edge technology users, and often know more about social marketing than your marketing agency. So how do you find them and how do you filter them?
1) Finding them: Hello Mr. Search Engine. Blogs rank highly in search results because they give relevant information on the topics you search for. If you want to find a blog on java developers in St Louis, search "java developers St Louis blog". To improve your results - go 10 or 20 pages into the search results, and ch change your searches to say "java programmer", "Java missouri", and the names of local companies you often source from.
2) Go where they are. Some bloggers don't want to identify where they currently work, so the place to look for them is in local user groups that cover the technology you want to hire for. Bloggers leave comments with their url attachede, which means if you are reading about a coding problem, and the user says they are from St Louis, click on their name, and it will often take you to their url.
3) Make friends with bloggers and ask them for referrals. Bloggers know other bloggers, and if you have a good reputation, they might be willing to go to bat for you when you are looking. Offering referral rewards is a positive.
4) Advertise on local tech blogs. It's cheap, it's effective, and it's branding. If you buy pizza for the local .Net group, you ought to consider putting a logo on a local tech blog. It lets the bloggers and developers know you support their community. And I'm not just saying this to get advertising - although I wouldn't say no if you e-mailed me.
5) Do interviews with bloggers. Get permission first, but if recruiter bloggers are suggesting interviews, take them up on the offer. It's free advertising. Also consider leaving good comments.
6) Make sure you read the blogs of your candidates. The person you hire is not going to quit blogging if you hire them. It's important that if they are writing on your industry, that they do so in a way that is not embarrasing to the company. At the same time, if they are writing about personal matters and never mix their professional life in, it's not really your business what they write.
7) Make sure you treat them well. Blogs are mini-reporters. Treating them badly, putting them through high-pressure sales tactics, or threatening to sue someone will turn you into a minor celebrity, and not in a good way. Search JL Kirk to see what I'm talking about.
There is a lot of benefit to hiring bloggers, but a downside as well. Make sure you have a blogging policy in place, and go out there and find you some!