Five Tips for Social Recruiting on Twitter

Jobvite is the full-time gig, and they’re nice enough to let me blog. I apply a lot of what I’ve learned about User Experience and Social Media to the recruiting arena. Twitter is an incredible tool for recruiters. Here are some tips on how to use it.

Twitter can be incredibly valuable for recruiting. Thousands take to the Twittersphere every day. They talk about the serious or the not-so-serious. They may be passive or active job seekers. One thing that’s for sure is that recruiters can use Twitter to find quality candidates and referrals. But first you need to find an audience on Twitter – and build engagement in the community of talent you aim to attract.

So, what’s the best way to get going?

Be Authentic

Followers will listen, if you act real.

Don’t use Twitter as a channel to broadcast job listings. Be yourself. Develop a voice and use an image that reflects your personality. It’s like publishing your daily journal in bullet points, coming up with new content every day. It’s who you are in super short form.

Tweets don’t have to be scheduled or well-thought out, but they should reflect you both personally and professionally. People will visit your profile to see your photo, or will view it on Tweetdeck,  an application that makes it easier to read Twitter feeds. They will also check if you interact with friends and followers.

Give tips on interviews or talk about how your job is going and the exciting companies you work for. These bits of information are extremely valuable to an audience.

Remember that what you tweet can’t be interpreted the same way as a phone call. Users only see 140 characters or less. You have to be informative, funny, literal, clever and engaging in that space, which isn’t as easy as it seems. Also, your photo doesn’t have to be professional. Let it reveals something about you. Remember you are sharing who you are and building a network.

Be Creative

Tweet the real stuff that makes your company interesting, fun and attractive.

If you’re recruiting on Twitter, you’ll want to tweet about the jobs you are trying to fill, and Twitter is a great way to do that. Don’t just tweet job information or snippets from your requisitions. You need to tell people  why  they should work at your company.

Becky Wilcox at Orbitz has a good rule of thumb for @OrbitzTalent: no more than one job tweet per eight content tweets. This will help increase engagement to your Twitter feed and keep it as a forum for conversation.

Look for content from a variety of places such as your corporate Twitter. Job seekers are also interested in company news and awards as well as industry insights and developments.

You can also tweet about corporate culture and office day-to-day, such as individual employee accomplishments, dart tournaments, office life and company events. Anything that will give a potential candidate a well-rounded look at what it’s like to work at your company. You can also retweet posts from employee Twitter accounts especially those in similar positions that you are recruiting for. Also, use Twitter to share photos of company events — visuals are wonderful and engaging.

Be Friendly with the B-List

More followers are not necessarily better.

Twitter is an awesome way of identifying well-connected people. There are a good percentage of Twitter users that are super connectors. They aren’t necessarily self-promoters, but they love being involved in the social space for the pure joy of connecting people. They believe in social capital, and know its value.

Super connectors are invaluable, because they provide leads on qualified candidates and feedback on resumes. They believe in sharing for the sake of sharing and will help you find good candidates if you treat them well.

I could be considered one, even though I only have about 2,000 followers. I’m not the most popular, but I’ve referred over 30 people to jobs they were hired for. Think how many hirable candidates you could be connected to if you befriend the right super connectors.

Many of the lower level tweeters are more interested in building relationships, not traffic. So they will take the time to talk to someone on our Twitter list because they have the time and may have the referrals you need.

Be Conversational

Tweeting shouldn’t be a one-way conversation.

The best users I follow will often tweet something about their personal lives (good or bad). They reveal information about themselves that shows they are real people versus auto-follow bots.

What’s better is if I reply to them, they reply back.

Twitter channels should be treated as a true feedback loop. View comments as a positive way to interact with your audience. It’s a public forum, after all. Ask questions about your company’s brand, the types of jobs available or post questions to job seekers. If you have the right audience, you’ll get responses.

You don’t need a lot of followers to generate conversation. In addition to talking about the jobs you are recruiting for, talk about what you did that day in between phone calls. Talk about your personal life. People want to get to know you and that you are not just a walking advertisement.

Be  110 Characters or Less

Just because you have 140 characters doesn’t mean you should use them.

Services like Klout  look for retweets  to gauge influence. The best way to get that is by writing content that’s short enough so the retweeter can keep your @username in the message.

For example, “RT @jobvite” is what our handle looks like in a retweet.  That’s 11 characters, more if yours is longer. Write tweets that are no more than 110 or 115 characters. This allows for easy retweeting and gives your followers a few characters to add their own comment.  TweetDeck is a great tool for this. It provides a character count as I type. When I get to 30 or less, it’s getting too long.

The last thing people want to do is edit a retweet. That’s an extra 20 seconds, and if it already takes less than a second to capture their attention, they might forget the retweet altogether or, even worse, unfollow you.

Retweets should be a frictionless, one click – like an impulse buy, except it’s free.

When using Twitter to build your network, keep your end goal in mind: engagement. You want to be able to nurture your relationships with friends, followers, candidates, etc. so that you can grow your network, capture more social media referrals and make your job easier and more effective.

Patrick Neeman is the Director of User Experience with Jobvite. His previous experience includes working with startups to launch their product, User Experience and Social Media consulting with Microsoft, and managing a team of 25 User Experience professionals for a technology consultancy. He also runs a blog,  Usability Counts, that covers topics such as User Experience, Social Media, and Web Marketing, and tweets at @usabilitycounts.