Tech & Work

Six tips for using Twitter as a recruitment tool

Job boards that charge for job postings might be becoming a thing of the past if Twitter has anything to say about it. Read how one company is using Twitter as a way to recruit people for jobs.

Job boards that charge for job postings might be becoming a thing of the past if Twitter has anything to say about it. Read how one company is using Twitter as a way to recruit people for jobs.

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According to Nielsen NetView, in February 2009, Twitter had nearly 7.1 million users, with a growth rate of 1,382 percent from the year before. Some companies are finding this growth rate a great opportunity to recruit people for jobs.

In a recent issue of Workforce Management, two representatives from digital advertising agency Organic said they have made Twitter the anchor of their job posting strategy. Here are some of the benefits, according to Organic:

"Once we have an opening that might be a fit for a Twitter friend, rather than making a cold call to a stranger, we can make a "warm tweet." We can talk to someone with whom we've already interacted, who already understands a bit about Organic based on tweets that cover Organic's culture, work and news items. It's less like a blind date and more like a first date with someone you've already met.

Another benefit: There are no time or space constraints to tweeting with a candidate. We don't have to interrupt potential candidates during their busy workdays; they can engage with us when it's convenient for them. And candidates who aren't ready to make a move can easily retweet, or forward, our opening to peers who may also be a fit."

Also, it's free, unlike many traditional job boards.

If you decide to take the plunge and make Twitter part of your staff recruitment plan, here are six tips the Workforce article offers for using it to top advantage:

  1. Create a branded company Twitter profile. Assign a key person -- or automate tweets -- to post jobs as they become available. This person should also be responsible for following professionals that could be potential candidates.
  2. Don't be a Twitter wallflower. Engage in conversation with the people you are following -- and your followers -- whether you have job openings for them or not. Then, when you need to speak with someone about an opportunity, you've already established rapport.
  3. Create a protocol for your job tweets. Consider searchability by using hash marks (#) around key words. Include a trackable URL to your job posting so you can monitor the number of click-throughs a job posting receives.
  4. Help your search by using a third-party tool such as TweetBeep, which alerts you to tweets relevant to your search.
  5. Encourage your staff to retweet job openings by providing an incentive such as a referral bonus for candidates sourced through tweeting.
  6. Don't be a one-track tweeter. Be varied and creative in your approach. To keep it real and not boring or spamlike, tweet on a variety of topics including industry-related items of interest, some personal tweets and, of course, your job postings.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

44 comments
employAstar
employAstar

That was a great article. Thanks for sharing it. It will be really helpful for guys like me!!!

morganross
morganross

I can't really see a comment on here that doesn't pose a reasonable agruement. Realistically there is sooo much content out there it is really hard to make sure your messgae is making enough impact to deserve spending too much time on it. However, build yourself a nice little following and set up a system for posting tweets automatically, and the whole thing becomes VERY low maintainance. You can then translate your "followers" count into a reportable direct marketing figure.. If these are active twitter accounts then your message is being seen by a REAL person's eyes at some point, who may or may not retweet, or may or may not talk about it down the pub, or may or may not have an aunt, uncle, cousin or brother who is looking for work and fits the bill.. You just never know! In a nut shell, don't dismiss it's power... Just don't spend all day tweeting about jobs and bowel movements and everything inbetween!

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I like it. I have a few followers and follow very few. Some of my followers post what amounts to spam, like the "lose weight now" BS and just like I'm sure a recruiter would post. Screw that noise.

rockwork
rockwork

Twitter Sucks, it's makes people not pay attention and wrecks the English language. To make people use it at their jobs or to apply for them is a violation.It's already bad enough with all the acronyms we have witch very often have multiple meanings.It's a High school chit-chat game.Also annoying and stupid.

gcarter
gcarter

Hi Toni, This was a pretty good article, but for someone like myself who is looking for a job, can you or any else recommend how I would use twitter to FIND a job? Great blog, George

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Let me see if I have this right: I am looking for an IT job with a certain skill set. There could be dozens, hundredds or even thousands of potential employers in my area (let alone if I'd relocate) who might have need of me and my skill set. Now, I post a resume Dice, Monster, etc., which provides a central place where such an employer can it and contact me if they like what they see. Sure, the employer has to pay something, but they also have a potentially large pool in which to look and the site's search tools should narrow the list of possibles to a reasonable number. The TWIT way requires me to find out who each of these potential employers is, the TWIT account/user name/bird call that it users for IT jobs, or maybe just jobs in general, and start monitoring it to see if something pertinent comes along. Please, in small, simple words that have been in use in standard English for more than 30 minutes, explain how this is better for either me or the potential employer. Thanks!

mark.giblin
mark.giblin

And I hope those job boards sue twitter for loss of business. Its fine in concept but treading on the toes of established businesses IMHO is a definate no no and to say that I would NEVER use twitter means that I will never use Twitter, so companys using it as a rewcruitment tool can go twit off elsewhere. Like facebook, I have an account that is set up just to allow me to humor people who pester me to look at their profiles. I never use it nor will I ever part with information above the bare minimum. These social networking tools as they are called are more guff than worth and fact that these sites are not good ar retention makes the use of social networking a lame assed idea to start with.

harrylal
harrylal

This is a toy for people who cannot spell and who have a short attention span to boot (kind of like a humming bird flitting from one flower to another). It would be great for teens to find their first job at McDonalds or Burger King. I would never take any company who recruits using twitter as a serious career opportunity.

Jango7777
Jango7777

Please. Organic, never heard of the company. Is that a role model for other companies to follow? Every comment here except one don't like the idea.

Gerry Crispin
Gerry Crispin

Nice job. Several firms have created a widget that aggregates the firm's recruiter tweets and then embeds it [the widget] into their career site and fanbook page. Kind of a real-time job roll of hot jobs. Links back to the jobs and to the recruiters working on the jobs create the pipeline.

larry814
larry814

If you are trying to employ someone who will be on Twitter all day or texting their friends then using Twitter to recruit would be perfect. However if you are looking for someone to get some work done for you, you should probably look elsewhere.

brigham.cook
brigham.cook

I see Twitter as another door to an organization. You wouldn't conduct an interview over Twitter, or use it to pass a resume, but it could be a way to reach people you might not ordinarily reach by other means. And the more people you reach, the greater your likelihood for success!

TX Old Sarge
TX Old Sarge

I recently Twittered myself since a lot of friends suggested it. I write various articles and I use it to post links to those articles or to my books or books my friends have written. So far, I only have 15 followers and I am following about 18. I have done 19 updates but the other folks are avid updaters. I see it as a quick tool to get a message to a techno-geek friend or as an advertisement medium but I would question its use as a recruiting method. I do have three newpaper folks following me and a Aussie blogger so maybe I might get an interview or plug for my books from one of them but I would not recruit there. Like anything on the Net there are far too many weirdos, hackers and ad nauseum to sort through. Traditional is not always bad and sometimes you just need a pen and paper. Like many things I have seen people get gung ho about automating I think it would just be more trouble than it is worth. Facebook or one of those if you just want to have another venue to receive resumes but Twitter is just not a good format IMHO. Sound bytes and ads, sure but not a job board.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

Using Twitter as a business tool is a good example of how technology publications take something that is new and cool and try to MAKE it something that COULD be construed as a business tool. Can I use facebook to recruit? Yes. Can I use a tattoo on my forehead to recruit? Yes. Are they both a good use of my time? No. I think that the technology industry is often guilty of attempting to force a square peg into a round hole. Can you? Maybe. Should you. Probably not.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Twitter this, twitter that! It's always some new online gimmick that everyone has to adopt to be cool. Before companies start "twittering" jobs, they need to learn how to write accurate and reasonable IT job descriptions. No, I don't want to have an intelligent discussion with an IT recruiter that doesn't turn into an acronym-reciting contest.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

1) I agree completely about the use of acronyms, abbreviations, 'leet speek', and deliberate misspellings being a plague. I find it barely acceptable when one must use them, such as Twitter or on nearly unusable phone keyboards. There's no excuse for using them when one has access to a full sized keyboard and a forum with no character limit. 2) The 'S' in 'Sucks' and the 'H' in 'High' should not be capitalized. It's '...all the acronyms we have which...', not '...we have witch...'. 'Also annoying and stupid' is an incomplete sentence. If you're going to criticize someone else's English, be sure yours is correct.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

You might wanna think twice about griping in relation to the demise of the English language.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

Except Twitter. haha - Seriously use whatever works. If you connect with a prospective employer via Twitter, more power to you! However, I think you'll have better luck shouting out of your front door. Toni DOES write good stuff -- and usually "hot" stuff - generates lots of replies.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Screen wipes, please. No, not that box; the big one.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...treading on the toes of established businesses IMHO is a definate no no..." Yeah, we should never have allowed the automobile to put carriage and buggy manufacturers out of business. And the poor slide rule industry, done in by the pocket calculator. And all these blasted cell phone networks, depriving good old wired telephone service companies of income.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

That's a good point - The use of a tool such as this, which does not appear to be perceived as positive in regards to business, could be a negative reflection on the company as well.

kevin.wall
kevin.wall

Agree, if you use Twitter to attract candidates, you will likely end up with twits working for your company. -kevin

highlander718
highlander718

this way, why stop here ? Go out on the street and start asking guys randomly if they fit for your job. That is yet another way of reaching out. And why twitter and not facebook, or linkedin or whatever other sites there are out-there ?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm as critical of Twitter as anyone here, but how a tool gets used is up to the user. Just because you and I don't have a use for it (or Facebook) doesn't mean they can't be used effectively by someone else. It can be another tool in your recruiting box, like job posting web sites, newspaper ads, third-party recruiting services, word of mouth, e-mail, state employment agencies, etc. I don't hire, but if I did I wouldn't dismiss a potentially useful tool out of hand without at least trying it. If nothing else, Twitter and Facebook are probably the best tools to use if you want to recruit social media developers.

markm
markm

Everybody else has; why not me? ;) The thread suggests *not a soul* among its posters has plumbed the possibilities of Twitter. It's remarkably easy to build a cadre of followers (and ascertain who is relevant to follow, including many folks you've never heard of, but should've) that allows in little noise, or cruft. Once you've done that, as a community participation tool Twitter is without peer.

spork66
spork66

Twitter this - Facebook that - it's time that we get back to the realities of having a proper job ad, then inteviews and leave the techno-crap out of the real picture until job and seeker have properly been joined up - then bring in the techie stuff as it is needed and useful to the operation of the company

cbellur
cbellur

Twitter is what happens when a mediocre tool is promoted by Hollywood stars. When I first signed on, I see I am following Pete Wentz, Asslee Simeon, and all of these Hoarywood stars I don't care about. They spend more time on schmoozing than having a decent product. Their use of bleeding edge technologies seems to have inhibited their ability to scale. The only people who think this is neat are teenagers and people who think the emperor is wearing a fine robe. This is the most hyped social networking service ever. That said, it's something that will probably be around for a long time, and we'll just have to deal with the hype. I never thought I would live to see distributed apps have the same marketing hype as soft drinks, movies, and fake "alternative" music. Welcome to the 00's (that's pronounced "oooh oooh" like an ape)

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

Besides who wants to hire a TWIT...er anyway? :-)

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

My biggest problem is that the technology industry ( mostly those who write about it and celebrities ) always seem to be looking for that automobile or calculator. We/they try to MAKE a fit rather than finding a proper fit. Seeking the "new automobile" ( good analogy, by the way ), is a good thing, but there just seems to be this desperate attempt to find the next greatest thing in applications, without asking if it is something that is really useful.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

Nice. Recruit with twitter - end up with twits!

brigham.cook
brigham.cook

You could go approach people on the street; would it be an efficient use of time? Not really. What would be better is if you knew people who might be interested, or knew people who knew people who might be interested. This is where Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. fit in. Should you rely on them as your sole means of recruiting? No, that'd be terribly nearsighted. But should you discout them as a way to find people to recruit? No, that would be just as nearsighted. The key is to spend an appropriate amount of time using these methods. If posting to job boards gets 80% of your job listings filled, spend most of your time posting to job boards. If Twitter gets you 5% of your listings filled, don't spend hours and hours trying to make it your primary means of recruiting.

blarman
blarman

I'm struggling with trying to find anyone who has successfully demonstrated a business use for either Facebook or Twitter. I'd like to evaluate either of these tools objectively, but the lack of business use is too overwhelming to ignore. If you have successfully figured out a way to use either Facebook or Twitter in a business setting, please respond to this post. A lack of responses will confirm my prior investigations and conclusion: Facebook and Twitter don't have a useful business application.

cbellur
cbellur

If this is a tool, it's basically a shim (thin piece of wood slid under something to level it). It's not even a screw, let alone a hammer. It's the ultimate low hanging fruit of the OO's ("oooh oooh's", like an ape). Where's my rocket car? Huh? I was promised a rocket car in the OO's, and I get a textbox that lets me type in 140 characters and other people can look at it? Even Gopher was better than this crap. I actually don't see any of my developer friends on Twitter (not even social media developers -- they think it is crap too). But did you know Pete Wentz is drinking tea and watching the View? But I do think, as lame as Twitter is, it has a future. I didn't think much of MySpace or Facebook. Really, these are for teenages and people who are afraid they will not fit in or will feel old if they are not jumping off the cliff with the rest of the lemmings.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I have trouble locating worthwhile content on Twitter. (I have the same problem with web logs and other social media.) But I'm not going to condemn a tool out of hand just because I don't have a use for it.

blarman
blarman

So have you actually used it to either find or recruit for a job? Or a long-lost relative? :)

blarman
blarman

Short-haul trucking - mostly agricultural commodities. Most of our employees are not tech savvy, so recruiting is out. Our customer base is very large, long-term contracts, so advertising is a waste of time. But even though I can't find a use for it in my industry, I'd like to know how others are using it in a business setting - even if it is an unrelated industry.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Exactly what line of work? Gods only know why, but if you'll provide some idea of what your firm does, I'll try to find some examples. Please tell me it's not public relations or entertainment; the uses there should be obvious.

drew.mcbee
drew.mcbee

There is some wheat - but entertainment wheat ONLY. Nothing else.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

First, you made the 'oooh oooh's' joke already in this discussion. Second, I don't know who Pete Wentz is. I agree with you that what he's drinking and watching is irrelevant, but that doesn't mean everything on Twitter is pointless. The web is full of porn and music videos, but that doesn't mean everyone who uses it is Ron Jeremy or Madonna. You (and many others on this discussion) refuse to acknowledge that there might be some wheat amongst the chaff. I grant you it's a pretty low percentage, but you guys are saying all movies are crap when all you've seen is what Hollywood puts out. Hey, Jason! Where you at, buddy? I can't believe I'm the guy stuck defend your favorite app. Talk about ironic...

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