Twitter for Recruiters: Value Your Tweets, Part 2

May 27, 2009

Yesterday in part 1 of this article, I discussed the best ways recruiters can immerse themselves in Twitter — from what to say, to how often, to what not to say, and beyond.

Today, I’ll discuss the second way to find value with Twitter. As a recruiter, Twitter is a must-have tool to find clients and candidates.

How, you ask? This isn’t easy, but if you’re the kind of recruiter who prides yourself on delivering distinct candidates to your client base, I would highly recommend taking the time and figuring it out.

Now that job boards have proved themselves virtually worthless and LinkedIn is well on its way to becoming the job board of a new generation, recruiters need to stay ahead of the curve. Twitter is actually a goldmine of information that can absolutely be tapped to find clients and candidates.

The Art

As far as finding candidates, they’re all on Twitter (or they will be). It’s just a matter of finding them.

I employ a researcher who I asked to spend an entire day on Twitter looking for candidates. As I expected, he came back to me 15 minutes later passionately confirming that Twitter sucks and that it’s worthless for finding candidates.

I responded by saying:

“I totally hear what you are saying and I don’t care. You have the entire day, so get comfortable and figure it out.”

I told him to imagine every single candidate and client to be on Twitter. They’re just masking their candidacy in the form of 140-character thoughts. Just like I don’t use the word recruiter in my thoughts, even though I’m clearly a recruiter, a software engineer might not use the word software engineer in her tweets. But she might tweet about her employer, upcoming conferences, and useful technologies.

The goal is to figure out what they’re tweeting and to search accordingly. That’s the art!!

The Science

The science is to use the appropriate Boolean search strings to conduct the search. For that, I recommend going to Shally or one of the other Internet sourcing gurus. They have tips and ideas for days!!

Once you find a candidate you are interested in, here is what to do:

  • Follow them, of course.
  • Read their Tweetstream and you’ll very quickly get a sense of their passions and interests.
  • If you can figure out where they work, you can proceed to traditional headhunting methods and contact them. In the meantime, engage them in conversation on Twitter; do not be as direct as you might be on LinkedIn, but give time for the relationship to develop.
  • Retweet one of their posts (people like that).
  • Comment on some of their posts (they’ll definitely get read).

The goal here would be to get followed back. That way, the next time you send out a note about a hot job or an MPC, this person will be sure to hear about it. And so the ball begins to roll.

In my year or so using Twitter, I have found it to be one of the most profound services in existence. The best way I’ve found to explain Twitter is to compare it to that Mel Gibson movie, “What Women Want,” where he gets to hear the thoughts of all women around him.

Of course, nobody wants to hear everybody’s thoughts about everything, but if you could figure out a way to slice-and-dice those thoughts and take advantage of the streams relevant to you and your marketplace, I think you will find Twitter to have a positive influence on your recruiting practice and life in general.

Good luck, and “May the Tworce be with you!!”

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