Erin Osterhaus is the managing editor of The New Talent Times, a Software Advice blog. She focuses on the HR market, offering advice to industry professionals on the best recruiting, talent management and leadership techniques. Erin recently interviewed Anitra Collins, Twitter’s recruiting programs officer, to find out how the social network uses its own platform to recruit new employees. In this e-mail Q-and-A, Erin shares some of her insights about using Twitter as a recruiting tool.
What sets Twitter apart from other recruiting channels?
Erin: Twitter is more responsive, and also more transparent, than other recruiting channels. With job boards, applicants often have no way of directly connecting with the recruiter or the hiring manager. Meanwhile, through LinkedIn, job applicants have no way of knowing who has viewed their profile unless they decide to upgrade to a higher membership status.
With Twitter, there is more equality, for lack of a better word. Recruiters and applicants are on the same level. Candidates can see what the employer has to offer in terms of jobs and company culture (if the employer is fully utilizing Twitter) and the potential employer can vet candidates for style, communicative prowess and attitude — all things difficult to garner from other recruiting channels.
How can companies increase the visibility of their recruiting-related tweets?
Erin: The most apparent answer: Increase the number of users tweeting out jobs. Encourage employees to use their Twitter accounts to tweet out open positions. In fact, go even further. Encourage them to tweet about company events, interesting projects they’re working on or successes they’ve experienced with your company. If you expose your company culture, and let potential applicants know what they can expect if they work for you, you’ll be able to grow your following and your brand.
Should companies create a separate Twitter handle for recruiting?
Erin: It depends on the size of your business. At Software Advice, we only have two recruiters. Each recruits for specific job functions, and each has their own Twitter account. For us, we’ve found that having a name and a face associated with a job listing makes it easier for potential applicants to approach us, and for us to respond to their inquiries. However, having a recruiting handle is great for some companies.
Take Twitter for instance. Their recruiting team is much larger than ours, and so one handle that consolidates tweets about the company’s open positions, as well as Tweets from current employees and other corporate Twitter handles, has allowed them to create a sort of recruiting “brand,” and grow their following to about 400,000. So I’d say: Do what feels right for your company.
Would you recommend using Promoted Tweets for recruiting?
Erin: That depends on your recruiting budget. Promoted Tweets are a great way to reach a larger number of users who might be interested in your open positions. However, if you’re tweeting on a budget, industry specific hashtags might be your best bet.
Are there any potential minefields to avoid? What’s the wrong way to recruit on Twitter?
Erin: Don’t post only open positions on your company’s recruiting profile. Just don’t. Yes, you should post some standard job listings, but that shouldn’t be the whole shebang. If potential candidates have gone directly to your Twitter page, chances are they already know something about you and they’re looking to learn more. Alternatively, if they have landed there as a result of seeing one of your open job postings, again, they’re probably looking to learn a little more about your organization.
To keep candidates interested, use Twitter to the max to show what it’s like to work at your company. Use employee tweets, multimedia and respond to potential candidates. It’s a much more effective way of leveraging this social platform.