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How Does Twitter Use Twitter to Recruit?

 

Eat your own dog food

Recently, Software Advice published the results of its 2013 Recruiting Channels Survey. The most notable finding: social recruiting is on the rise, big time.

Social media was the number three source of candidates, and according to our respondents, was the channel delivering the best quality of candidates—beaten only by employee referrals. In addition, almost half of all the recruiters participating said they would increase their investment in social media sourcing channels in 2013.

Put simply, social recruiting is here to stay.

Armed with this information, and facing a continual barrage of articles on how recruiters should be using one social media channel in particular—Twitter—to improve their recruiting techniques, I decided to go straight to the source: Twitter’s recruiting team. How does Twitter use Twitter to recruit?

To answer that question, I interviewed Anitra Collins, Twitter’s Recruiting Programs Officer and one of the people responsible for Twitter’s recruiting handle, @JoinTheFlock. As a seasoned recruiting veteran in the tech space, having held positions at Google, Cisco and Microsoft, she had some great insights to offer as to how others in the recruiting field could—and really should—be using Twitter to recruit talent.

Twitter’s Twitter Strategy

First of all, if you’re going to use Twitter to recruit, you should create a clear and executable strategy. Twitter should be used for more than just blasting out job postings. Sure, creating awareness about new positions is one part of the strategy. But there’s another side to the coin that Twitter capitalizes on: you can create a real-time view into your company’s culture, making people want to work for you.

As Collins says of the @JoinTheFlock handle, “We offer more than just job listings; we also share news about events happening within the company, external events we attend and insights from our executives. The handle gives our followers a look into what’s happening inside of the company and a bit about what makes Twitter a great place to work.”

There are several ways Twitter uses Twitter to get the word out about open positions, grow its following and, ultimately, source and attract great talent. A few of the Twitter recruiting team’s tips that will be covered in more detail below:

  • Use employees to Tweet jobs
  • Share news and events to expose your culture
  • Harness the power of the hashtag
  • Leverage video
  • Connect with candidates

Use Employees to Tweet Jobs

Using the tools available—hashtags, current employees, notable personalities (an advantage perhaps specific to big brands like Twitter) and other multimedia—Collins and the rest of the recruiting team have created an enormous following for the @JoinTheFlock account: to be exact, 361,888 at the time of writing. How do they keep all those followers engaged, as well as add new followers daily? By Tweeting compelling content, of course.

Sure, there are the standard job Tweets:

But here’s the kicker–Collins and the recruiting team at Twitter make a concerted effort to re-Tweet job posts from current employees’, interns’ and other company handles. As she says, “We get the help of our hiring managers to Tweet out job listings to their followers for extra visibility.” For instance, re-Tweeting calls for applicants from the company’s Director of Engineering:

By utilizing Tweets from handles that aren’t “the man,” Collins and the team have made the @JoinTheFlock account seem more like a community of interesting individuals working under the Twitter umbrella, rather than an HR department calmly and coldly scouting talent. It’s a strategy that extends to the recruiting team’s coverage of company news and events as well.

Share News and Events to Expose Your Culture

Allowing potential candidates a glimpse into company culture keeps them interested, and might pique the interest of passive candidates, as well. And there’s no better way to allow potential applicants a glimpse of company culture than through the experience of current employees. Who better to showcase what a great place the company is to work than those who actually work there? Hackweek certainly seems like something I would look forward to if I worked at Twitter. Check out this re-Tweet from a current employee:

Even the lower rungs of the company get in on the action (read, interns):

If your strategy includes involving this cultural component, you’ll need to do more than have one person Tweet out new jobs once a day. Instead, you’ll need to have a multi-pronged approach–and that’s just what Twitter has done.

Harness the Power of the Hashtag

As you’ve probably noticed, hashtags pop up all the time on the @JoinTheFlock account. There are several advantages to using them. First of all, they get your Tweets in front of Twitter users who might not follow you already. And secondly, they narrow down your target audience. For instance, if someone is looking for a job in software development, they might search certain tags, such as #hadoop, #CMS, #UX or #TechTalent. By including hashtags in a job post, these candidates can find the job, even if they don’t follow the @JoinTheFlock account already.

Hashtags are also a great means to source new talent at industry-specific conferences. As Collins says, when looking to fill niche roles, hashtags are a lifesaver: “To fill a specific role, we might look at the hashtags for a conference taking place in that field, and look at the profiles of the attendees who are Tweeting or on a Twitter list.”

For instance, using a current employee’s Tweet about the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), @JoinTheFlock can catch the attention of attendees and potential prospects—and all while showing what a great place Twitter is to work.

Following a hashtag like #oscon helps the recruiting team identify potential candidates. And by re-Tweeting a current employee’s comments on the conference, Twitter’s recruiting team has exposed the @JoinTheFlock account to current attendees following the hashtag.

This is a kind of built-in advanced search option that has the benefit of simultaneously exposing @JoinTheFlock’s Tweets to an audience of qualified—and possibly interested—potential new hires. It’s win-win.

Leverage Video

Perhaps what separates Twitter’s recruiting presence from other companies is its clever use of various media channels. “We are in the process of developing Vine videos to share, and of course we point to our Twitter YouTube channel when we have something new,” says Collins.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a video is just, well, better. It makes the candidate feel like they’re in the office–and Twitter has a really cool office. There are multiple instances of the Vine video app being used on the @JoinTheFlock account, and all serve to showcase what a wonderful place Twitter is to work. One employee took a six second video of the new yoga studio in the office:

Meanwhile, another informed all her followers, as well as those of @JoinTheFlock, of a James Blunt concert that she attended while working hard deep within the bowels of Twitter’s corporate offices:

While these two examples certainly highlight the experience a potential Twitter employee can expect to encounter if hired, the first instance of video on the the page is perhaps the most impactful. Within the header of the @JoinTheFlock profile, you will find a link to what might be the page’s most effective recruiting tactic: a link to the YouTube video “At Twitter, The Future is You.”

As Collins says, the video “was created to be ‘the worst recruiting video ever’ by our internal team.” The tongue-in-cheek tone of the video worked. Collins notes that it “drew a lot of applicants, and showed our style and humor—our CEO [Dick Costello] even participated.” If all the other Vine videos and photos weren’t enough to convince you that Twitter is most definitely a place you’d like to work, this will put you over the edge.

Connect with Candidates

Twitter’s approach, as you can see, is multi-pronged. They showcase their culture in a way that makes the company look attractive to prospective employees, by sharing current employees and hiring managers’ Tweets and using multimedia to allow a glimpse into the day-to-day life at the company.

All these tactics highlight Twitter’s openness to potential applicants. But do they follow through and respond directly to applicants who Tweet at the @JoinTheFlock handle? According to Collins, “Yes, we do Tweet directly at candidates who appear qualified, point them to our current listings. These exchanges make the process much more personal.”

In addition to connecting with candidates personally, Twitter’s recruiters also use the platform to garner information about candidates that would otherwise be unavailable through traditional recruiting processes.

“Many times, we look on Twitter to vet candidates for their style, their communicative prowess, their approach to the world,” says Collins. “It gives a great lens into one’s personality and interests, and adds a lot of texture and sensibility—things you can’t see easily on a resume.”

In the end, Twitter is a great way to expose new people to what your company has to offer. If you follow these tips from Twitter’s own recruiting team, your company has the potential to grow its following and its talent pool—and at an astounding rate. Just in the course of this writing, @JoinTheFlock has gained 200 new followers. So, get Tweeting!

Thumbnail image courtesy of JoshSemans.

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About the Author

Erin Osterhaus joined Software Advice in 2012 after earning an M.A. in German and European Studies from Georgetown University. She focuses on the HR market, offering advice to industry professionals on the best recruiting, talent management, and leadership techniques.

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