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How to Use Twitter as a Recruiting Tool

The social media site is emerging as a tool to identify and engage potential job candidates. Here's how to use Twitter to help you find your next hire.
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Adam Heagy is one of the most vocal advocates of using Twitter as a recruiting tool at Synerfac Technical Staffing. "Experienced recruiters want to use traditional methods because they think Twitter is only for young people and they are looking for seasoned individuals," says Heagy, vice president of Synerfac's Philadelphia, south New Jersey, Raleigh, North Carolia and New Castle, Delaware offices. "It's the exact opposite. Twitter has been a great source for more candidates with progressive skill sets."

The micro-blogging, social networking website can be a powerful way for small companies and recruiters to expand their list of potential job candidates. If they use it right, that is. "Are you going to log in to Twitter and instantly have a pool of candidates?" asks Heagy. "It doesn't happen like that. You have to be consistent and it will pay great dividends." 

Here's how to get the most out of Twitter when it comes to recruiting:

How to Use Twitter as a Recruiting Tool: Getting Started on Twitter

As a recruiter, you can use your own Twitter account or use your company's, but it should be clear that the purpose of your account is to share available jobs and information about the companies that are hiring.

Since Twitter gives you just 140 characters to get your message across, don't beat around the bush. Tweets should be along the lines of: "Looking for a Sales Rep in NYC, Very competitive salary, apply at (include a shortened url)." To make your job postings stand out, you can also use hash tags, which are formed simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (#). Hash tags are used as a way to filter and find information on Twitter. By including a hash tag with a keyword in your tweet, it becomes instantly searchable. Here are a few examples of hash tags you might consider using: #job, #jobpost, #employment, #recruiting, #hiring, #career, #staffing, #salesjob, #NAJ (that's Twitter lingo for 'Need A Job?'). You can use more than one hash tag in your tweet, but remember that your characters are limited, so be strategic in which hash tag or tags you use.

If your company has a Twitter account but not a lot of followers, there are tricks for expanding your network and building relationships with clients and job candidates. Run a quick search on Twitter (search.twitter.com) for anybody discussing a specific keyword and you can get hundreds of contacts. You can search for people you know, by location, by industry or interest, by hash tag, by popularity, by time and more. "I've enjoyed building a community on Twitter and follow job seekers and career search experts," says Stephanie Valadez, a human resources generalist at North Texas Leaders and Executives Advocating Diversity. "I think Twitter has helped us gain exposure, redirecting job applicants to our website and people who may be interested in our free services."   

You should also follow associates and other recruiters that might be sources for candidates. Tim Heard, president of eSearch Associates in Louisville, Kentucky adds, "If a recruiter has established a network of followers who tend to fall within the recruiter's area of specialization, then the tweet about a job might not be an invitation to apply, instead, it might be a request for referrals."

There is also the opportunity to market events you will be attending, such as a tweet saying, "Stop by our career booth at the Sales Tech Expo." More importantly, your Twitter account is a place to inform potential hires about your business. Your tweets say a lot about your company and what's important to it.

Dig Deeper: More about Twitter

How to Use Twitter as a Recruiting Tool: Targeted Networking Services

If firing job postings off into the ether doesn't feel like the best use of your energy, there are companies like Jobvite, TweetMyJobs, and others that help businesses target their tweets to a particular audience. Jobvite has recruitment applications that integrate Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter promotion. TweetMyJobs is a service that posts jobs based on a specific job function and geographical area.

Jobvite offers several recruitment tools: Jobvite Source, Jobvite Hire and a new, free product, Jobvite Share, which will launch at the end of May. Jobvite's products help with job post distribution, candidate sourcing and candidate tracking. Speaking specifically of its Twitter application, Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite says, "You can quickly and easily distribute jobs through your Twitter network or employees Twitter network. With Jobvite you can track referrals from employees." A few companies that use Jobvite as part of their recruitment strategy are Zappos.com, Etsy, Digg, Mozilla and Tivo.

TweetMyJobs has over 9,000 job channels, which are essentially Twitter accounts it manages. A company can post job listings to its Twitter account and then TweetMyJobs will grab them from there. If a company doesn't have its own Twitter account or doesn't want to use it for such purposes, the company can enter the post into TweetMyJobs' system for distribution. 'We distribute them based upon their function and location to the correct job channel," says Gary Zukowski, president and CEO of TweetMyJobs. When a job has been filled, TweetMyJobs will also remove all references to the tweet. Synerfac Technical Staffing was one of TweetMyJobs first clients. They have a host of clients including Netflix, AOL, Sony, Intercontinental Hotel Groups and AllState.

Dig Deeper: How to Use Social Media as a Recruiting Tool


How to Use Twitter as a Recruiting Tool: The Quality Debate

There is some debate among recruiters over the ability to track who is finding a job through a Twitter posting. "We're constantly tracking our tweets to see how wide our reach is – but the approach we take to both sector specialization and regional localization seems to be paying off," says James Mayes, director at TweetJobs, LTD, based in Great Britain.

There is also concern that candidates found through Twitter aren't as qualified as those identified through more traditional means. Finnigan disagrees, "The people who are on Twitter are people who are comfortable with innovation, creative and collaborative work, and new and creative ways to get their job done." He adds, "You don't get the introverts on Twitter."

Some recruiters also question the need to use Twitter for recruiting when you already have Facebook, LinkedIn and traditional job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder. "Job boards do still work – for active candidates," said Samuel Dergel, owner of CFO2Grow, a finance recruiting and executive search firm in Montreal, Canada. "We find that they are ineffective for passive candidates," such as those who may not be searching for a job, but would be open to leaving if the right opportunity came along. Dergel says such candidates tend to be active on Twitter.

"Twitter is not the end all be all," said Zukowski, "but it is an affordable and inexpensive way for a small business trying to make an impact to reach a larger audience, share their job offerings and build their brand."

Dig Deeper: How to Improve Your Hiring Practices


How to Use Twitter as a Recruiting Tool: Researching Potential Candidates

When you find a potential candidate on Twitter, evaluate their activity to see how often they tweet, if they have a healthy balance between followers and following, how big their network is and the quality of their tweets. Do they keep a balance between personal and professional tweets? Do they only post updates or do they respond to others and re-tweet others, fully utilizing what Twitter is about?  "You have to properly screen and interview that individual," adds Heagy.

Jobvite even offers a tool that allows for candidate searching. "The person using Jobvite Source would be able to look at a candidates profile, then by clicking on the persons name, pull other information that may exist on the free, open Web such as their Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile and Twitter account," explains Finnigan. "You get a more 3D experience because you are getting a candidates public profile to see how active they are and to get a sense of the candidate."

And since it's potentially a powerful tool, Twitter places some new demands on those who want to use it to find job candidates.

"I do recommend Twitter for recruiting, but you must know what your goal is, have a strong website to direct applicants back too, and of course be open-minded," says Valadez.

Dig Deeper: How to Conduct a Job Interview

Last updated: May 19, 2010




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