Recruiting and Twitter – Part 2

by The Red Recruiter on April 27, 2009

TwitterLinksThis may be the last of two parts on how to use Twitter in conjunction with your recruiting desk, but I doubt it. The topic continues to evolve as more and more participants jump in the game. One thing is for sure – we have lots to look forward to within this relatively new realm of communication. If you have questions about Twitter and how it may be used for your specific demands, feel free to post a question in the comments section. I do not have all the answers, but surely the community can work together to solve all of our individual challenges.

I’m going to get a bit more step-by-step in this post for those of you that are ready to start using the tool. If you’ve already started, this may just be a refresher.

If you are reading this and you know of different, additional or better ways of doing it, I encourage you to share in the comments section as well.

You are ready to start Tweeting

  1. It’s important to establish a name that is consistent across multiple social media channels. For example, if I went by mlong in one place and TheRedRecruiter in another, there would be no way for people to know that these two names were connected. So, choose a name that is both applicable and available across multiple channels. The best way I know how to do this is by visiting this website. If you can’t reserve your name on at least Twitter and LinkedIn, then I would choose something else. Preferably, you will choose something completely unique.
  2. Go out and establish a Gmail account. Beyond having an email strictly assigned to your social media adventures, Google has a slew of free add-ons that will be helpful as you dive deeper in to the realm of social media recruiting. Among others, and I’ll cover this in more depth in another post, the reader (aggregator) that Google offers is very easy to use and will pretty much change the way you currently read the news.
  3. Now you are ready to get in to the details. If you haven’t already registered your Twitter account, take care of that now. Be sure to use your same consistent user name. In the set-up process, you will be able to enter a brief bio, your company or personal website and a photograph. I want you to take great care with these three items as they really will make or break your ability to express your personal and/or professional brand. Oh yeah… and if you think you don’t need a photo… think again. The days of being completely nameless and faceless on the internet are about over. If you really want to use this tool to establish yourself, I encourage you to take the vital step of being yourself openly… and that includes a picture.
  4. Now that you have your account set up, it’s time to start finding people to communicate with. I recommend that you head over to Twellow. This website serves as a sort of Yellow Pages for Twitter. You will have the ability to search for people within Twitter based on their bios. For example, if you recruit Engineers, then it would be great to start following Engineers that have profiles on Twitter. Twellow makes it very easy to do this. The other resource that I’ve enjoyed is called We Follow. With this site, you can categorize your skills and also look for people based on a keyword. The lists are based on followers, so the more people who follow the individual, the higher on the rankings they will be.
  5. The next big recommendation I have is to step outside of the web page interface used for Twitter and use a third-party tool. There are two main tools that I have used; TweetDeck and Twhirl. They both have pros and cons, but I simply prefer TweetDeck for my purposes. It makes it easy for me to communicate with others, set up multiple search types and categorize my friends. In all fairness, Twhirl has some cool features as well and I have found that it’s really a matter of taste. Try them both… you have nothing to lose – they are free!
  6. You have the account, you have the control, you have people to follow… now what? This is usually where it all breaks apart, but the next step in using Twitter is about engagement. You can’t expect people to just start talking to you. So, you must listen to the people you are following and be willing to respond to what they say… without them soliciting you directly. However, please know that while Twitter gives you the ability to establish relationships with candidates in an open forum, I do not believe that you should use it as a sales or hard recruiting channel. This is about a community of people who feel comfortable sharing openly. As with all other relationships, they build slowly and require work. To attempt to establish that relationship on a “What’s in it for me?” level would be foolish.

So, that’s the end of part two. That should get you started if you haven’t had a chance to jump in the game yet. Truth be told, Twitter is a lot of fun. I have, in a very short amount of time, established relationships with a number of people that extend outside of the Twitter channels. These are individuals who bring a high level of value to Human Resources as a field and I feel privileged to have met them. I wish you the same success no matter what your future audience is.

I have a few more thoughts about using Twitter and how that will impact recruiting going forward. Just this week I had my first official conflict with a person on Twitter. It was both uncomfortable and highly frustrating. Mostly it taught me a good lesson. As recruiters, we are going to encounter individuals who both question and reject our judgment. We are, by trade, compensated to rule in and rule out people. Humans, by nature, are emotional beings. As a result, certain individuals may use this communication channel to discredit your decisions. How we prepare and respond to these issues when they come up will be important. While I do not proclaim to know the magic solution, I will happily share my real life exchange in an effort to build understanding around this pressing topic.

Have you started using Twitter for recruiting? Do you have additional questions before jumping in?

Special thanks to Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten for the above link cloud!  Great stuff Boris!

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