3 Social Recruiting Priorities To Address Today

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If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about successful recruiters, it’s that they tend to be super organised. Disciplined too.

Much of what I’ve written about social recruiting has focused on raising your profile with your candidate audience, learning to engage with them more effectively, becoming perceived as someone knowledgeable in your sector – without it being a total drain on your working week!

Getting these things right is particularly valuable when you come to post your next job openings. If candidates in your niche have got used to monitoring your streams for quality content and insights, they’ll also come to see the job openings your organisation is looking to fill. In a sense, we’ve all become publishers – drawing candidates in with great content and then exposing them to our recruiting adverts along the way. In essence this is the social media equivalent of what newspapers and industry publications have been doing for decades.

Using Social to Proactively Recruit

However, something else has been happening for ages too. Over a period of decades, headhunters have carefully nurtured their networks and positioned themselves to proactively approach candidates when the mandate is right. This allowed them to reach out to a hand-picked shortlist of candidates – and so put forward for consideration candidates that companies missed when relying on recruitment advertising alone.

One of the less talked about aspects of social recruiting is the degree to which social media and social networking sites have made it possible for ANY recruiter to now source candidates this way. So in this article I want to share with you 3 things you ought to investigate if you have any aspirations of being one of the breed of more proactive recruiters:

  • Using Twitter Lists To Create Targeted Candidate Pools
  • Segmenting Google+ Contacts To Create Targeted Candidate Pools
  • Making Use of LinkedIn Contacts As Your Comprehensive Recruiting Database

Using Twitter Lists To Create Targeted Candidate Pools

Twitter lists have always been a powerful way of organising the people you want to engage with. But for the purposes of recruiting, they’ve always been limited by the restriction of only being allowed 20 lists and a maximum of 500 twitter accounts on each list.

The good news is, Twitter just recently increased these limits, enabling you to create 1,000 lists and add up to 5,000 twitter accounts to each list. That’s a massive change – and one that empowers you to really use Twitter as a proactive recruiting tool.

If you’re like most recruiters I know, you probably work on a range of assignments at any point in time. They may well be spread across multiple office locations. In all likelihood, there are specific companies that your company (or your client) would ideally like to poach staff from. Imagine now that you can create lists of potential candidates for each and every specific skill / location/ company combination you might want to target in the future. By using a tool that searches twitter users’ bios, you can quickly find and add candidates to relevant candidate lists. There are many out there, Tactics HR is a new one in beta that I’ve been having a lot of joy using. By searching to find who’s been tweeting niche content in your sector, you’ll be able to add many more who don’t have this information in their bios but who you then come to learn about (and can populate the missing data by researching elsewhere). You could also have lists for people who have expressed an interest in working at your company with particular skills / location / company profiles.

In your day to day twitter activities, you now have a means of filtering who you’re engaging with and prioritising those you can see your business is most likely to be targeting in the coming months. But now imagine that each time you start a new assignment, you can dig into your twitter lists to identify candidates you’d like to approach. Some you may see also appear on your lists of people who want to work at your company. Bingo! Others you can approach knowing already that they’re in your prime target market.

With 1,000 lists to play with, the possibilities here are huge. So if you’ve made Twitter part of your social recruiting activities, start getting organised with twitter lists and position yourself to be ready to pounce as new requirements land on your desk.

Segmenting Google+ Contacts To Create Targeted Candidate Pools

This principle can similarly be applied to your Google+ contacts. You can create as many circles as you like – and the names of these circles will be known only to you. You can also put people into as many circles as you’d like. But keep in mind that – as with Twitter lists – there’s no simple tool I’m aware of for cross-referencing people who appear in multiple circles (or in the case of Twitter, lists). So as a recruiter, you’d want to have circles (or lists) for each office location / skillset you’d like to target in the future (you may need these to be company-specific too, depending on your typical hiring requirement profile).

That’s to say you want to have a Google+ Circle (or Twitter list) for “Talent Acquisition Specialists in New York”. If you instead created a circle of candidates in New York and another of “Talent Acquisition Specialists” you’ll have no easy way of extracting in the future who are the Talent Acquisition candidates in New York – hence the need to group people with this level of granularity from the outset on both platforms.

The other thing to keep in mind with Google+ is that you’re currently restricted to having 5,000 people in your circles. You can place these people in multiple circles, but you can only track 5,000 people in total. So you may need to be more selective when adding candidates than you would be on Twitter. But just as with Twitter, getting organised in advance means you can hit the ground running whenever a new requirements comes through from the business.

Making Use of LinkedIn Contacts As Your Comprehensive Recruiting Database

Have you ever wished that you’d been organised enough that every candidate and client you’ve ever come into email contact with you’d added as a LinkedIn connection? Just think how powerful a database of headhunting contacts (and client prospects) that would be! Well with the new LinkedIn Contacts, this dream is in part fulfilled.

Alongside your existing LinkedIn connections, you can now import anyone whose email address you have. They’ll then appear as searchable contacts on LinkedIn, with their name and current occupational details populated from their LinkedIn profile. This is immensely powerful (and free!). Whereas your own candidate database and outlook address book are full of out of date candidate information, by importing those contacts into LinkedIn Contacts you now have a database – searchable by Company, Job Title and Location – which references their very latest details. If their LinkedIn profiles are up to date, so too is your candidate database. It’s therefore more comprehensive than anything you could maintain in-house.

From within LinkedIn Contacts you can track your activity with those candidates (or clients), plus set yourself reminders for when you should next contact them. So it’s also great as a candidate relationship management tool. The potential is immense for any recruiter wanting to more proactively source candidates in the future. It’d take a whole post just to do this one tool justice, but for more on what it can do I direct you to Irina Shamaeva’s excellent blog post.

Concluding Remarks

A lot of the current media focus has understandably been on the visible side of what can be achieved with social media. How to engage, how to interact, whose messages are being best received and so on. Hopefully with this article I’ve awoken you to the fact that there’s a whole other side to social networking. A side that – through preparation and organisation now – can position you to proactively source candidates in the coming months. Good luck – and please feel free to share your experiences and feedback via the comments field below.

Tony Restell
This monthly Social Recruiting column is contributed by Tony Restell. Tony is the Founder of Social-Hire.com and a respected commentator in the online recruitment and social media sectors. A published author and Cambridge graduate, Tony spent his early career in strategy consulting before going on to build and sell an online recruitment business to Jobsite. He is focused on helping candidates and recruiters use social media to find their next career or their next hire. +Tony Restell
Tony Restell


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