Why you should use Twitter for recruiting

Recent studies have shown that about 15% of new hires in Canada initially found their job through social media, with 11% coming from Twitter alone, with a similar trend in the US. It’s pretty reasonable to believe that this trend will continue, and that these numbers will continue to grow, so what does this suggest for recruiting and talent retention strategy going forward?

First, it means that companies who choose to remain outside of the social media loop may very well miss out on top talent. Now, this may seem like an assumption that the best candidates are looking for work on social media, but let’s examine this closely.

The most qualified and suitable candidate is probably employed, and therefore probably busy. This usually means they aren’t looking to set up accounts on several job boards or jump through the various hoops of applicant tracking systems like Taleo, Bullhorn, and the like. In fact, 70% of applicants who start an ATS form don’t complete it, and all too often, the ATS providers are selling your applicant’s resumes to your competitors as well, further complicating the problem.  However, these highly qualified people are usually on some kind of social media. Nearly half the population of the US and Canada uses Facebook, and while only 7% use Twitter, Twitter accounts for more than 2/3 of social media’s share of the recruiting landscape.

Twitter has a large competitive advantage over the rest of social media when it comes to recruiting. While only 7% or so of the population is using Twitter, there are some reasons why Twitter continues to out-gun the rest of social media in this regard. For one, Twitter’s 140-character limit on posts means tweets need to be focused and well-targeted to be effective. This focus, in turn, results in less content to wade through to find what you’re looking for, especially when we consider that people using Twitter are usually following other accounts with similar interests. While there are affinity groups on Facebook, and their search function is fairly good, you’d still have to sift through a lot more content to find what you want, while Twitter’s hashtags, search, and ‘forced’ focus make it really easy to find what you’re after, and much faster.

More eyes on your posting. One of the reasons Twitter is o powerful as a marketing tool is that others with similar interests may ‘retweet’ your posting, which means you will not only reach more people, but you will reach more people who are actually interested in what you’ve posted. While not everyone who’s interested is necessarily qualified, the likelihood of qualified individuals is much higher than what it might be if it were simply on a job board, which brings us to our next point.

The recruiting landscape is VERY fragmented. Ten years ago, Monster had most of the job board market, and in those days, newspaper advertising could still get the job done. However, in today’s market, there are now over 30,000 job boards, with more coming into the game every month. Your next great hire doesn’t have time to search all those job boards, and chances are you don’t have the time or the resources to post on all of them, either. However, if you can correctly use Twitter, you can increase the number of interested and qualified eyeballs on your postings without having to set up an account on all the major boards.

So we can understand that using social media, and Twitter in particular, can enable us to create focused, targeted recruiting announcements which then will drive traffic to the positions posted. Understanding this, let’s now consider some tips for using Twitter effectively:

1. To be interesting, you must be interested.

This doesn’t mean that you need a full-time staffer spending the whole day on Twitter. Be mindful that simply posting a lot of links that are all about you and your business will make people see your account as spam, and that will lead to being ignored. I use TweetAdder to post a large number of compiled quotes, and links to useful resources relevant to my industry. Others use paper.li to create an automated sort of daily ‘newspaper’ which draws content from sites in the categories you choose, an easy way to provide useful content that will establish you and your brand as an authority without having to use a lot of your time.

2. Be specific.

This applies not just to your tweets, but also to your job posting. When I was a young stockbroker, my mentors used to say to me, ‘Don’t qualify him, DISqualify him!’ Rather than trying to cast a broad net, narrow the focus of your posting and your tweet to improve the likelihood of weeding out the unqualified and uninterested. We’re all busy these days. Who wants to leaf through 300 resumes from unqualified candidates?

3. Build goodwill with others of similar interests.

Part of how I built a Twitter following of more than 20,000 was by promoting others in my industry. Rather than seeing them as competitors, I chose to see them as colleagues, and as a result, many of them re-tweet my content. For this I use Twitterific, a low cost app that enables me to do a search then save it to my sidebar. For example, for my artistic pursuits, I keep the hashtag NDCA (iNDependent Creators’ Alliance) in my sidebar, and can keep up with what my fellow artists in the NDCA are up to. So, with about 5-10 minutes of daily effort, I can quickly interact with these colleagues, re-tweet their posts that I find useful, interesting or clever, and as a result, they help me reach a larger audience. Like the old saying goes, we reap what we sow.

4. Create a concise and interesting profile.

Many people use software like Tweetdeck or Tweetadder to perform profile searches to find people to follow, so be sure that your description uses appropriate keywords that will help them find you.


If you can do these things consistently, you’ll find that your online efforts to find better people will become more fruitful more quickly.