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Using Twitter for Recruiting (From the Horses Mouth)

For her article “How Does Twitter Use Twitter to Recruit?”, Erin Osterhaus went straight to the source: Anitra Collins, Twitter’s Recruiting Programs Officer. Thanks to Holly Aker for authorizing me to quote from the SoftwareAdvice article.

Before sharing what Twitter’s Ms. Collins had to say, here findings from SoftwareAdvice’s Social Recruiting Survey:


“Twitter’s Twitter Strategy

First of all, if you’re going to use Twitter to recruit, you should create a clear and executable strategy. Twitter should be used for more than just blasting out job postings. Sure, creating awareness about new positions is one part of the strategy.

But there’s another side to the coin that Twitter capitalizes on: you can create a real-time view into your company’s culture, making people want to work for you.

As Ms. Collins says of the @JoinTheFlock handle, “We offer more than just job listings; we also share news about events happening within the company, external events we attend and insights from our executives. The handle gives our followers a look into what’s happening inside of the company and a bit about what makes Twitter a great place to work.”

There are several ways Twitter uses Twitter to get the word out about open positions, grow its following and, ultimately, source and attract great talent.

Here a few of the Twitter recruiting team’s tips that will be covered in more detail below:

  1. Use employees to Tweet jobs
  2. Share news and events to expose your culture
  3. Harness the power of the hashtag
  4. Leverage video
  5. Connect with candidates

1. Use Employees to Tweet Jobs

Using the tools available—hashtags, current employees, notable personalities (an advantage perhaps specific to big brands like Twitter) and other multimedia—Collins and the rest of the recruiting team have created an enormous following for the @JoinTheFlock account: to be exact, 361,888 at the time of writing. How do they keep all those followers engaged, as well as add new followers daily? By Tweeting compelling content, of course.

But here’s the kicker– Ms. Collins and the recruiting team at Twitter make a concerted effort to re-Tweet job posts from current employees’, interns’ and other company handles. As she says, “We get the help of our hiring managers to Tweet out job listings to their followers for extra visibility.” For instance, re-Tweeting calls for applicants from the company’s Director of Engineering:

2. Share News and Events to Expose Your Culture

Allowing potential candidates a glimpse into company culture keeps them interested, and might pique the interest of passive candidates, as well. Check out this re-Tweet from a current employee:

Even the lower rungs of the company get in on the action (read, interns):

If your strategy includes involving this cultural component, you’ll need to do more than have one person Tweet out new jobs once a day. Instead, you’ll need to have a multi-pronged approach–and that’s just what Twitter has done.

3. Harness the Power of the Hashtag

As you’ve probably noticed, hashtags pop up all the time on the @JoinTheFlock account. There are several advantages to using them.

  • First of all, they get your Tweets in front of Twitter users who might not follow you already.
  • And secondly, they narrow down your target audience.

For instance, if someone is looking for a job in software development, they might search certain tags, such as #hadoop, #CMS, #UX or #TechTalent. By including hashtags in a job post, these candidates can find the job, even if they don’t follow the @JoinTheFlock account already.

Hashtags are also a great means to source new talent at industry-specific conferences. As Collins says, when looking to fill niche roles, hashtags are a lifesaver: “To fill a specific role, we might look at the hashtags for a conference taking place in that field, and look at the profiles of the attendees who are Tweeting or on a Twitter list.”

4. Leverage Video

Perhaps what separates Twitter’s recruiting presence from other companies is its clever use of various media channels. “We are in the process of developing Vine videos to share, and of course we point to our Twitter YouTube channel when we have something new,” says Collins.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is just, well, better. It makes the candidate feel like they’re in the office–and Twitter has a really cool office. There are multiple instances of the Vine video app being used on the @JoinTheFlock account, and all serve to showcase what a wonderful place Twitter is to work. One employee took a six second video of the new yoga studio in the office:

Within the header of the @JoinTheFlock profile, you will find a link to what might be the page’s most effective recruiting tactic: a link to the YouTube video At Twitter, The Future is You.”

As Collins says, the video “was created to be ‘the worst recruiting video ever’ by our internal team.” The tongue-in-cheek tone of the video worked. Collins notes that it “drew a lot of applicants, and showed our style and humor—our CEO [Dick Costello] even participated.

5. Connect with Candidates

Twitter’s approach, as you can see, is multi-pronged. They showcase their culture in a way that makes the company look attractive to prospective employees, by sharing current employees and hiring managers’ Tweets and using multimedia to allow a glimpse into the day-to-day life at the company.

All these tactics highlight Twitter’s openness to potential applicants. But do they follow through and respond directly to applicants who Tweet at the @JoinTheFlock handle? According to Collins, “Yes, we do Tweet directly at candidates who appear qualified, point them to our current listings. These exchanges make the process much more personal.”

In addition to connecting with candidates personally, Twitter’s recruiters also use the platform to garner information about candidates that would otherwise be unavailable through traditional recruiting processes.

“Many times, we look on Twitter to vet candidates for their style, their communicative prowess, their approach to the world,” says Collins. “It gives a great lens into one’s personality and interests, and adds a lot of texture and sensibility—things you can’t see easily on a resume.”

In the end, Twitter is a great way to expose new people to what your company has to offer. If you follow these tips from Twitter’s own recruiting team, your company has the potential to grow its following and its talent pool—and at an astounding rate. Just in the course of this writing, @JoinTheFlock has gained 200 new followers. So, get Tweeting!” Click here to read the original post.


MY PERSPECTIVE: It’s not Quite that Simple

I’d like to add some perspective to this interview with Twitter. Something to keep in mind is that social media recruiting works well for active but less for passive candidates, who are often in highest demand. Having a well-known brand does not hurt either.

I write about this in detail in my blog: How to use Social Media for Recruiting?

There is ample proof that social media can help fill jobs; but it depends on what kind of job you are trying to hire for. Step one is to be very clear on what exactly you are looking for.

Social media works better for recruiting active than passive talent

It seems relatively straightforward to recruit active employees via social media, i.e. people who are actively searching for a new role. Brands like Taco Bell and UPS have created Pinterest boards, Twitter handles and Facebook pages, dedicated exclusively to this purpose. Obviously, they frequently hire for jobs that don’t require a high-level of education and have many seekers.

But this approach might not work if you are looking for a highly qualified super star; somebody who is currently employed and might not even be thinking about making a move. In this case, posting your job on LinkedIn or Twitter is unlikely to have much impact.

Combine social and traditional for passive recruiting

Recruiting with Social Media, B2B Social Media Marketing Consulting

Jim Coughlin, Executive Recruiter at Dynamic says that for passive talent, a social media strategy alone might not work, especially if your business is not a well-known brand. Ask yourself: Why would somebody who is in high-demand leave their current job to join your company?

The Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey found that: “Recruiting passive candidates is the most popular tactic in competitive recruiting.” One way to do that is with LinkedIn Recruiter, one of LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions.

Targets can be qualified and then contacted via LinkedIn InMails, which is where the skill of the recruiter comes in. You’ll either need a qualified in-house resource or outsource the process, as talking somebody out of a job and into a new job is neither quick nor easy.

The best way to get the highest quality candidates is to encourage your (happy) employees to promote your job openings on their own social media channels and in-person. Referrals trump everything else!

For more tips, check out the book “42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing“.

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