Using Twitter As A Social Recruiting Tool

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Of all the platforms you might use for Social Recruiting, Twitter ranks as my favourite. If you’re just starting out in social recruiting, Twitter is also the platform I’d recommend checking out first. Why’s that?

1) It’s transparent
2) It fosters real-time discussion
3) It allows you to be responsive to candidates, without being a huge time drain
4) It’s fun

So why are these things important?

Twitter is Transparent

One of the biggest frustrations of social recruiting can be the platforms themselves getting in the way of what you’re trying to achieve. With Twitter’s rivals, the platforms are constantly evolving – or have hidden flaws and tricks that you have to know about to be a success. The implication is that you have to read a great deal – and be on top of the latest developments – to stand a chance of generating compelling candidate results. You also have to be ever-ready to cope with functions being discontinued or rules being changed in a way that negatively impacts on your strategy. With Twitter, things are quite different. The sheer simplicity of the platform means you can be up and running in no time – and can quickly start watching and learning from the behaviour of the more established and successful recruiters.

Of course there are some gems of advice on how to be more effective on Twitter, but by and large if you want to emulate the success of someone you can freely see who they are following, how they’re interacting, what language is working for them, etc.

Twitter Fosters Real-Time Discussion

Twitter has one awesome advantage over every other platform I can think of (Google+ comes a close second, but the other networks are nowhere to be seen in this respect). Twitter is something that people either have on throughout the working day on their PC – or it’s something they’ll at least check in on regularly. As such, real-time conversations flourish. For recruiting – where striking when the iron is hot is so very important – this is an element of the platform that is really compelling. It also means the time required to forge a good relationship with a new contact can be just hours or days, rather than weeks or months on more static networks.

Twitter Allows You To Be Responsive To Candidates

If you consider the single-biggest complaint candidates have had since the arrival of the internet and corporate careers sites, it’s that their job applications disappear into a black hole and leave them with no means of following up with recruiters. Indeed there’s been little means of interacting with recruiters or staff of a company at any stage in a candidate’s job search process. Until the arrival of social media that is.

The challenge for recruiters is balancing the need to be responsive to candidates with the constraints of the working week. No company wants to face a social media backlash from candidates disgruntled at their lack of responsiveness. But equally recruiters can’t get sucked into lengthy correspondence with each and every candidate who wants to engage. Twitter is the perfect compromise. With its 140 character limit, the medium is ideal for showing a caring side yet capping the time input required to do so.

Twitter Is Fun

There’s a great saying in sales that “enthusiasm sells”. This is so true of social media too! If someone is excited, enthusiastic, open, welcoming, engaging – these sentiments are transferred in your social media interactions too. The ‘chatty’ nature of Twitter – and the fact you can engage without a huge commitment of time – I have found means recruiters have more fun on Twitter than anywhere else. Your personality comes across more favourably – and that rubs off on the success you’ll have in engaging candidates.

Of course if you’re a committed Twitter user already, you’ll have experienced these upsides yourself. But maybe you’d not singled out the reasons why it’s such a powerful social recruiting tool. If you’re not yet a committed Twitter user, the above should have persuaded you that you’re missing out and that this is a network to prioritise (provided you can see your target candidate audience hang out here).

So given the potential to use Twitter as a social recruiting tool, what are some things that you should be focusing on doing? What can I advise you should do to emulate the success of the most established Twitter recruiters? I conclude the article with 7 tips you can implement right away to propel yourself to social recruiting success on Twitter:

7 Tips For Recruiters On Twitter

1) Cut right back on promoting your company or your jobs and focus on sharing valuable content / helping others. A highly engaged audience who are occasionally exposed to your promotional messages will yield far greater returns than a disinterested audience being exposed to them incessantly

2) Focus on following relevant accounts who are actually active on the platform (note: lots of profiles are zombie accounts, so you can lose tons of time here if you get this wrong)

3) Strike the right balance between scheduling tweets and being available online to respond to resulting enquiries

4) Use twitter tools to manage who you follow and to be alerted to those you should prioritise engaging with

5) Streamline your process for finding great content and resources to share, so that you can do so with the minimum of demand on your time

6) Comment on others’ tweets and ask open questions – stimulate conversations being sparked with your followers and potential followers

7) Have a strategy and a plan for twitter – and then stick to it. Like many social media platforms, Twitter can become a huge time drain if you allow it to be. Having a plan – and being disciplined in sticking to it – is the key to avoiding this.

Tony Restell
This monthly Social Recruiting column is contributed by Tony Restell. Tony is the Founder of 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


Social Media Marketing for Recruiters is my area of specialism | Follow for tips + insights that'll help both Recruiters + Jobseekers | #SocialRecruiting
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  1. Malia Jorgensen says

    Great advice! I’m making a real effort to increase brand awareness (myself and company) on Twitter, but am still learning.

  2. Matt T says

    H Tony, thanks for the post. Would you ever recommend targeting job tweets to people who have clearly marked interests in their bios?

  3. says

    @Matt T — a couple of thoughts. Firstly if I steer you in the direction of the link in point 2 above, one of the biggest time drains on Twitter is following / trying to engage with people who aren’t actually active on the twitter platform. The problem with bio research is that you’ll identify a lot of great fits who actually aren’t active enough on the platform to engage with; or who use twitter in a way that means they will not see a DM if you do manage to get them to follow you.

    The second point I’d make – this is gut instinct rather than hard facts – is that if you send 100 targeted job tweets you *might* get one candidate acting on that. If you’d done something to get on the radar of those same 100 people in a non-salesy way (eg. retweeted them, mentioning them in a tweet, favourited one of their tweets, etc.) then I’d wager you’d have 50 of those 100 people start interacting with you or following you. So leading with a job offer isn’t a course I’d recommend – it’s something you can bring into the discussion once a bond has been formed.

    Hope that helps?

  4. says

    I’m a co-founder of Tactecs – a new social recruiting platform that enables recruiters to hunt great talent in Twitter based on skills, interests, network, and geography.

    Unlike the “post and pray” strategy, our product will let you:
    – search and identify great talent on Twitter who may not even be on LinkedIn
    – identify how you are connected to these candidates through your existing Twitter network
    – instantly be notified of new “hot” leads through push notifications

    We’re currently seeking professional recruiters who are interested in participating in our private beta program. There is no monetary obligation and you will be one of the first to benefit from the competitive advantage of our solution.

    If you are interested please signup on our website at and I’ll follow up with you with further details.

    or contact me :[email protected]


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