One of the companies I was applying for had a mandatory github id and SO id fields to be filled. It was an online registration form.

I am not comfortable sharing my online ids(tech or non-tech) to any company and I felt like I got rejected just like that.

The company is super cool one; would have had a great experience even if I had attended atleast one tech round.

I am still wondering why is it that the companies, these days, are asking for a mandatory SO id? I could have asked silliest questions on SO and I am not really comfortable for my future recruiter/colleagues to know that silly side of me. Or it could be any other reason.

Did the recruitment world change so much that my online tech footprint is needed for my tech assessment? What makes such companies mandate it?

  • 6
    There's a straightforward solution to this, maintain a "professional" profile on those sites that's separate from your personal one.
    – dwizum
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 17:46
  • @dwizum oh yes... to portray my goodie goodie stuff there. I think I can do that ;) Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 18:16

6 Answers 6


I'm not sure that you would find a company with such rigid requirements to be "a super cool one" to work for once you got there.

While I believe a strong GitHub presence and a solid SO ranking are both strong points for a candidate, I can't imagine a scenario where I would mandate both from all candidates. There are other ways to demonstrate your prowess that should be just as acceptable.

You have to ask yourself, if they are this rigid in hiring, what will happen when you propose doping something in a different way from the norm. Doesn't sound like an open-minded bunch.

  • I missed seeing the rigidity part. I am glad that 'workplace' is helping me expand my thinking abilities. Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 18:15
  • I think that's only one interpretation. It's also possible that they didn't intend for those fields to be required, or that (as is typical) the hiring process is so far removed from the day to day operation that there's no translation of "rigidity" or other properties from one to the other.
    – dwizum
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 18:42
  • 3
    @dwizum, while it may have started as an oversight, i'd expect a reasonable amount of feedback on something like that and if it's still there I'd be concerned
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 19:19

What makes such companies mandate it?

It cuts down on the number of applicants or if it doesn't, it is an easy way to limit which applicants are considered.
That's the same reason some companies require a four-year degree in a related field.

SO and Git are both arguably work related things, and I would provide them.

I wouldn't provide something like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, etc.
But I'm technical - if the position is a PR or social media position, I'd expect you would provide things which are social.

  • Curious about the reason for your down-votes. Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 22:19

Just put in a bunch of X's. Recruiters often set fields as mandatory without thinking too deeply about it. If they are interested, they will get back to you - it's not a dealbreaker.

In the case of GitHub, it's probably so they easily can find code samples. Makes sense.

With SO, it's a bit more complex. One thing that an SO account can attest is strong communication skills, but it can also be compromising for the individual. Not only can it expose posts of personal nature, but an employer could find your level of participation on such a site problematic. Most managers don't mind employees making use of online resources and communities (it saves effort for senior team members to have someone else solve problems for free!), but OTOH they don't want their own employees possibly spending hours every day researching other peoples problems and writing long, well thought-out answers. Likewise, they don't want employees sinking lots of time into dead-end, extremely niched hobby projects (which is, frankly, what most code on GitHub is).

There's also the possibility that a company wants employees to use their (semi-)private "social media" to help build their brand, e.g. my employer routinely suggest we share "interesting" posts from the company blog on LinkedIn ("and write a short comment, just a couple words, so it scores higher in rankings"). However, only if it is actually a marketing position they advertise, can they expect a candidate to have a strong online presence.

  • Personal anecdote (not really part of the answer): I'm not comfortable talking on the phone and don't like answering unknown numbers, so when applying for jobs I fill out a generic 111-1111 number. Usually, they get back to me via email and ask me to call them. However, one recruiter actually called 1111 and got to a answering machine that just said "I'm busy. YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO." It was a mildly amusing misunderstanding, but also a reminder that you shouldn't write "EAT_A_DICK" as your username - it might lead them to something you really don't want to represent.
    – Joe Terror
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 19:14

I am still wondering why is it that the companies, these days, are asking for a mandatory SO id?

Because companies are fooled by buzzwords and stupid trends like "hiring a rock star".
It is important to show your code, but a SO account seems absurd. A repo is important, especially if you're mid to senior level, but if they insist on that I suggest you move on. Your value isn't measured by online activity, and if they can't see that I don't think their company is actually a "super cool one".

On a side note this is one of the minor reasons why SO is such a toxic place. People are (rightly) desperate for those points so they get hired, they promote that companies ask for a SO account and be part of the hiring process

  • 4
    Even the most technical roles still usually require some degree of teamwork. Teamwork is dependent on being able to communicate and learn well. SO is a bunch of people communicating and learning from each other - it seems clear to me that it might provide value during the hiring process. I agree it seems odd for an employer to require it, but isn't it just as odd for you to reject them because they required it?
    – dwizum
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 18:51
  • I disagree. Looking at someone's SO questions and answers can show a prospective employer what you know and what you dont. From your questions and answers, they can see where your strengths and weakness are. They can see your ability to solve problems and provide accurate and constructive feedback.
    – Keltari
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 16:38
  • Q&A you mean like the kind of thing a interview is for? in fact I have seen many seniors and managers disliking high SO activity due to the slacking it implies spending time on the internet
    – user86742
    Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 22:32

Here's the problem with online accounts: you can easily link anyone's account as your own. In my opinion, this is a sign that they are lazy. They want a certain candidate and rather than reading resumes (assuming they get 100s or 1000s) they rather a computer do a pre-screening by being able to seperate accounts that provide this right out through their questionnaire. They're missing out on potential candidates that might be better, or maybe they don't want to provide such information.

With that said, I don't think it is common at all. I seen polar opposites where a hiring manager dislikes people who go on SO to answer questions as they see it as a way for people to simply "copy and paste" without understanding what they're doing. Just as opposite, I don't see how helping people would be beneficial. Maybe they're looking for people who mentor others.

If you have a high ranking SO and/or GitHub accounts, I say provide it to them especially if you been active in any particular group. So long as you didn't ask or provide questionable, not safe for work material, I don't see how it would impact you negatively. Anyone on GitHub or SO would certainly know the type of person who would go on there.

  • "Here's the problem with online accounts: you can easily link anyone's account as your own" until you walk into the interview and the technical lead says, "so tell me about projext X from your git account."
    – dwizum
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 18:47
  • If you're going that route, I'd hope you would have a valid line up. I had a coworker at my last job who said he worked at McAfee. Sounded highly qualified and easily passed the interview. On the job, he kicked his feet up and watched movies on his portal DVD player.
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 19:00

It's just one company, not a trend, some parts of the World (most of it) haven't heard of github or Stack Overflow... I found SO by accident and only heard of github through it and only have a vagueish idea of what it's about.

So like any other requirements, they're company specific, perhaps even specific to the individual who wrote it up.

  • Just because you are unaware of GitHub and StackOverflow, that does not mean the world isnt. GitHub is 62nd most popular site in the world. StackOverflow is the 57th.
    – Keltari
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 16:26
  • @Keltari I'm on stack right now... how am I unaware? But your percentages are relative to locale. 99% of employers in this country would have no idea what either is.... I'm the 1% that has a vague idea of github
    – Kilisi
    Commented Dec 23, 2018 at 19:46
  • "relative to locale" is incorrect, its relative to industry. If you work in development, you know what these sites are.
    – Keltari
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 2:58
  • @Keltari rubbish, I work in IT, do a bit of development, and have devs who've barely heard of Github and never used it. Locale is key, many people don't know English believe it or not, don't project yourself onto the whole World.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 4:00
  • I am literally speechless right now. Instead of trying to make yourself sound smart (believe me you dont right now) take literally 10 seconds do some research. SO is a worldwide resource, where the VAST majority of countries that use it arent English speaking. Perhaps you should think before you type. All this info can be found in a simple google search.
    – Keltari
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 4:32

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