Recruiting Solutions in 140 characters or less? You bet! If you’re not a Twitter user, the whole concept might seem confusing. And you aren’t alone in that impression. It looks fast and furious, and it can be. In a matter of seconds, a tweet can be buried under 10 or 20 others. But if you know the right way to use this social media platform, your Twitter recruiting strategy could reach hundreds or thousands more people than with any other strategy.
Twitter isn’t for everyone. If your target audience isn’t there, you don’t need to bother with it. But if the talent you want lives and breathes through tweets, those 140 characters are a veritable gold mine of opportunity to build out your talent pipeline and Twitter recruiting strategy.
Twitter in a Nutshell
Unlike LinkedIn, which is focused on professional social media, and Facebook, which is much more personal, Twitter is a bit of everything. You’ll find journalists, entertainers, professionals from numerous industries, average folks, and entrepreneurs using the platform to communicate.
Because you don’t have to personally connect as a “friend” with other users, you can reach out to virtually anyone. With about 310 million active users monthly, that’s an impressive potential reach.
The goal with Twitter is to cultivate a group of followers who are interested in what you have to say. Your tweets will pop up in your followers’ feeds, which equals exposure. Once you have their interest, anything else that you have to say, such as a job posting, stands a better chance of standing out.
70 / 20 / 10
A group of followers sounds great, but that’s where some people become frustrated and give up. Some recruiters who aren’t sold on Twitter are merely using it the wrong way. It’s not a job board, it’s a social media platform. So if most (or all!) of your posts are job ads, you probably won’t get the results that you want. A better way is the 70 / 20 / 10 approach.
Dice recommends a balance of about 70 percent helpful tweets that have nothing to do with a job ad, 20 percent promotional tweets, and 10 percent just being yourself. It doesn’t have to be an exact science. Just make the bulk of your Twitter presence interesting and engaging, not a series of job postings.
The reasoning behind it is simple. Social recruiting is passive candidate recruiting, at least for the most part. By definition, passive candidates aren’t actively looking for a new job. So you can imagine what might happen when people who aren’t looking for a job see nothing but job ads from your Twitter account. At best, it will be perceived as irrelevant. At worst, you’ll lose followers or fail to grow a follower base because the important social component is missing.
Hashtags are their own language.
A Word About Hashtags
Hashtags are everywhere. Facebook uses them now, and people even add them to ordinary conversations for no reason at all besides putting emphasis on a word. On Twitter, they’re a bonafide tool.
Using the right hashtags can get you noticed by people far outside your normal Twitter reach. They’re searchable. So when you use the right hashtag, people who search it will find your tweet. Perhaps even better, when you find a hashtag that your target audience uses, you can search it to locate the talent you want to follow.
Boolean Blackbelt uses the example #AJUG for recruiters who are looking for software engineers interested in Java. They use that hashtag. If you search it, you’ll find the right programmers. If you use it, you’ll pop on their radar. And if you’re engaging instead of advertising, they might just follow you.
There is a wealth of material available for nailing the fundamentals of Twitter. Check out the Beginners Guide at Mashable. And Social Media Examiner has a great resource that helps clarify Twitter for business and marketing. And check out our blog post, “A Guide to Using Twitter to Increase Audience Engagement.”
If you only know one thing going in, remember that Twitter is first and foremost social. Think about the way that you meet new people in person. If you only hand out job ad flyers, you’ll be perceived as a walking, talking advertisement. But if you engage socially on a regular basis, you’ll be seen as a person with something worthwhile to say. Then when a job ad does appear, your followers will be more likely to pay attention.
Social recruiting sounds so simple, but it can perplex the most seasoned veteran recruiter.