Beyond the Basics: Recruit Effectively on Twitter

Leverage Your Corporate and Personal Twitter Accounts to Share Hot Jobs and Drive Referrals

Twitter’s usage stats are impressive: As a social media channel, Twitter claims 288 million monthly active users and 500 million tweets sent each day.1 Popular brands and individuals reach millions of followers with the images, videos, links, and 140-character messages they share.

Given the size of the active Twitter community, many recruiters have dipped their toes into the water when it comes to recruiting on Twitter. In a 2014 study, the iCIMS Hiring Insights discovered that 51% of all jobs posted on social media are posted to Twitter. However, this study revealed that there’s a significant disconnect that puts a damper on the average recruiter’s efforts: Only 1% of candidates expect to find jobs posted on Twitter.2

Does this mean it’s time to give up on Twitter as a recruiting channel? The answer is a resounding NO. Your Twitter followers (or potential followers, if you’re just starting to build your presence) are out there. What’s even more important? They’re listening: Employers see approximately 22% conversion to apply from Twitter users once they’ve clicked to view the job, according to this study.

In fact, it is more important than ever before to include effective recruiting on Twitter in your talent acquisition strategy. A recent iCIMS Hiring Insights survey reveals that 60% of recruiting professionals plan to improve or implement social media recruiting strategies in the coming year.3 To stay competitive, it is imperative to stay ahead of this recruiting trend.

However, to get the maximum value out of Twitter as a social media channel, Twitter can’t be an afterthought. Recruiters need to develop a social media strategy that includes both corporate and personal tactics tailored for the Twitter platform. 

Recruiting through a Corporate Twitter Feed

For most organizations, it makes sense to consolidate the corporate Twitter strategy around a single official account, often owned by the marketing department. This corporate Twitter account may attract a diverse group of fans, customers, partners, and employees as followers; candidates who are interested in learning more about your organization will also naturally gravitate toward the main account.

On the other hand, organizations with a large Twitter following or specific social brand strategy may create and promote a separate account with employment information in order to better match content with its appropriate audience.

Where should you begin? If your organization already has an account on Twitter, work with the owner of the account to see where recruitment efforts can fit into the larger social media plan. Determine if your colleague would be willing to promote hard-to-fill jobs and employment brand information on a regular basis. Determine whether they would like for you to provide them with content or if they would like to create their own.

If your organization is new to Twitter, work with your leadership and other relevant stakeholders to get your brand online! If you are part of the conversation at the ground floor, you’ll find it easier to make the case that key job information should be shared.

Top Tactics for Your Corporate Twitter Recruitment Strategy

Depending on how much say you have over the corporate Twitter strategy, you may find yourself in a very hands-on role (writing and possibly even publishing tweets for a corporate account) or you may find that the owner of the account just wants to know what employment information to post, when, and he or she will take it from there.

If you are deeply involved in drafting the content for your organization’s official tweets, follow the advice in the Content section of the “Recruiting through Your Personal Twitter Account” topic below, which includes information about different tweet media and hashtags. Make sure that as you interpret this advice you compose your content with your organization’s brand and personality in mind.

If you are tasked with providing ideas to make sure the employment brand is represented on the corporate Twitter account, make sure the owner of the account is aware of the following:

  • New job openings, particularly hard-to-fill and mission-critical openings.
  • Recruitment events that your organization is attending or hosting.
  • Fun, around-the-office news to show others what it’s like to work at your company.

Make sure that any information posted is posted in a timely manner—after all, it won’t help drive attendance at the career fair if someone tweets 15 minutes before the event starts! Coordinate with your counterpart or create a personal calendar to stay organized, and be ready to pivot as new jobs are announced or new information comes to light.

Best Practices: Free Social Media Job Distribution

To save your organization time and effort while still delivering results, your existing talent acquisition technology provider may provide free solutions that allow your company to post jobs automatically via your corporate Twitter account.

Discuss your options with your existing provider to determine what solutions are available to supplement your recruitment branding initiatives on Twitter.

Benefits of Recruiting from the Corporate Twitter Account

By posting jobs and other employment brand information on a corporate or corporate careers Twitter account, you will see the following benefits:

  • Reach the largest amount of active fans. Those who “follow” your corporate Twitter account are already interested in your organization. Even if they’re not actively looking, the right job post might inspire them to take action and apply, retweet, or favorite your post!
  • Establish your organization’s core online identity as candidate-friendly. By posting jobs and employment information on a corporate or dedicated careers account, your organization makes it clear to candidates that finding great people is a business priority.
  • Collaborate with your organization’s social media gurus. A successful corporate Twitter strategy may be a mix of employment-related posts,marketing materials, new sale or partnership announcements, and more.
  • Add legitimacy to your social recruiting strategy. After all, these posts are coming from your official brand, not your personal account. It’s not just you looking to find the next top Web Developer—it’s your whole brand tweeting to the masses.

Recruiting through Your Personal Twitter Account

Posting to the corporate account is great, but it’s not enough to count as a full Twitter recruiting strategy. Because of the limitations inherent in speaking for your full organization, a truly effective Twitter strategy requires an active personal Twitter account as well.

Consider whether you want to use an existing personal account or to create a new work-specific one. On your personal Twitter handle, you can post content, replies, and retweets that are designed to engage potential candidates without the added pressure (on you or on your conversation partners) of speaking directly as your employer.

Whether you are just starting out on Twitter or have been tweeting for years, you should consider the following to make your account talent-friendly:

  • Choose a photo that will introduce you to your followers. People are more likely to take you seriously if they relate to your image—the default“egg” avatar simply won’t do.
  • Write a compelling bio so others know who you are and what your interests are. You only have 160 characters, so don’t feel like you have to cover every one of your interests or skills. Write something that would make you interested in learning more about someone like you.
  • Tweet regularly! A mix of personal and job-related tweets will let your personality shine through. Try to tweet or retweet great content at least a few times a week to keep your posts top-of-mind.
  • Participate. It’s why you’re here, after all; engage your followers, join conversations, and retweet great tweets. More on this topic to come!

As a word of warning, make sure that your full Twitter persona is work-friendly. While your tweets don’t all need to be job-related, they do all need to be posts that you wouldn’t mind your CEO (or mother) reading.

Top Tactics for Your Personal Twitter Recruitment Strategy

You have two missions as a recruiting professional on Twitter: Post content that will interest this enormous user base of potential candidates, and use Twitter search to find interesting people to follow, talent to contact, and conversations to join. Both of these are paramount: You can’t have a successful Twitter strategy without both tactics in place.

The Content:

Although Twitter limits the number of characters you can post at a time, the possibilities on this platform are virtually limitless. Twitter supports the posting of images, videos, links, and more; take advantage of these features to create a visually engaging content stream that will interest potential followers:

  • Images: It’s easy and rewarding to tweet images! You can upload yourown images by clicking the “Add photo” button and choosing the rightfile from your computer or device. Add a quick note in the tweet text boxto describe your image, ask a question, ask others to retweet (RT), or addyour photo to a greater conversation through hashtags.
    Great images to share:
    • Official employment brand images from your careers website.
    • Images from events, job fairs, or other company occasions.
    • Relevant charts, comics, or other pictures that will spark conversations.
    • Uplifting images to put a smile on your followers’ faces!
  • Videos: Your organization may have created employment-brand-related videos; share these with your followers by writing a short tweet with a call to action (e.g., “Check out this great video about working at iCIMS!” or “RT to share!”) and copy/paste the video URL into your tweet.
    You may not be able to preview the video until after you post, but by clicking the “play” button you and your followers will be able to watch the video directly within your tweet.
    Great videos to share:
    • Ted talks or other online lectures related to your field or industry.
    • Interviews with or presentations by leaders in your organization.
    • Videos that inspire you, or prompt conversations.
  • Links: On a regular basis, make sure you link to job posts, your career website, your corporate site, and other relevant webpages! As a best practice, write your tweet text first, then add the link at the end of your post.
    You may want to shorten long links using a link-shortening solution like bit.ly to clean up your tweets and add some additional tracking capabilities. (If you are posting directly from a recruiting solution or other social media management solution, this tracking technology may be built into your posts—ask your solution provider to learn more.)
    Great links to share:
    • Blog posts or relevant industry articles that catch your eye!
    • Links to event registration forms.
    • Ted talks or other online lectures related to your field or industry.
    • Interviews with or presentations by leaders in your organization.
    • Videos that inspire you, or prompt conversations.
  • Text: Don’t forget the tweets that started it all! You can be extremely creative in 140 characters: ask questions, post riddles, reply to others, and more!

Best Practices: Hashtag Tactics

Whether you are posting images, videos, links, or other content, make sure you use hashtags cleverly. Any hashtag you see in Twitter is automatically hyperlinked to other posts that are tagged with this topic.
Here are some popular hashtags related to hiring:

  • #job or #jobs
  • #hiring
  • #employment
  • #careers
  • #internship

While popular hashtags will submit your post to a huge international conversation, these conversations also update quickly and may bury your post. Use niche hashtags to join or start smaller relevant conversations. Imagine what your target candidate might search for to try to find you!

  • Use location-specific hashtags like your city or general area (e.g., #Holmdel, #CentralJersey, or #NJ).
  • Use industry or field-specific hashtags, like skills, programs, or certifications (e.g., #SQL, #Java, or #Agile).
  • Turn your job titles into hashtags (e.g., #webdeveloper, #technicalwriter, or #businessanalyst).

The Conversation:

The greatest tweets in the world will do nothing if you are tweeting to the void. You can’t assume followers will just find you or care: You need to actively search for potential talent, enter conversations, and reach out to individuals who interest you.

As a recruiting professional, you should be trying to find and follow influencers in the field or industry for which you recruit as well as individuals with the skills and interests you need.

Finding the Thought Leaders

Start outside of Twitter. If you follow an industry blog, see if the author posted a Twitter handle. Use Google or your search engine of choice to search for influencers on Twitter; many individuals have already created lists to introduce you to who’s who.

Find and follow your colleagues and leaders as well; many of them are likely to follow you back, and they may post interesting content that you can easily retweet.

Once you’ve found and followed the thought leaders in your space, you can also check out their “followers” and “following” lists to see who else shares similar interests.

Finding the Talent

First of all, find your existing colleagues from your current and previous roles, and any other friends or connections you may know on Twitter. To simplify this process, you may want to import your personal contact lists to see if people you know are already tweeting.

When you’re ready to see who else is already on Twitter, you can check out the Twitter Advanced Search tool to identify potential qualified candidates.

With the right parameters, this tool can show you, everyone discussing #agile methodology within 15 miles of New York City, or everyone who posted about in “agile” “software” OR “agile2015” in the last two days.

You can also search for more general job seeker hashtags, like

  • #hireme
  • #resume or #CV
  • #jobsearch
  • #unemployed
  • #twesume (short for “Twitter Resume”)

Once you’ve learned the “grammar” of a successful Twitter search, you can use the quick search bar to expand your options even further. For example, while the Advanced Search defaults to a 15 mile search radius, you can adjust this radius with the “near:” and “within:” operators, like in the sample below:

If you’re interested in following a particular hashtag or other search term, Twitter’s Advanced Search tool will also allow you to save searches for easy reference by clicking “save” on the results screen.

Best Practices: Joining the Conversation

You’ve found the influencers and the talent: Now get involved! Once you’ve found some interesting individuals, you can do any of the following:

  • Follow them
  • Reply to their tweets
  • Retweet their tweets
  • Mention them in a tweet
  • Direct Message them (if they follow you)

Follow everyone who interests you to increase the chance that they will follow you in return. Additionally, keep an eye on popular hashtags, especially those that reflect very specific conversations (conference-specific hashtags being a great example of time-sensitive tweets reflecting a meeting of the minds).

See something interesting and have something to add? Tweet your response by including the hashtag or account name in your tweet. By joining public conversations, you make it more likely that others will follow you to hear what you have to say.

Once someone follows you, you have the right to send them a Direct Message. Don’t abuse this privilege, but do keep any specific messages about job opportunities private (unless you are answering specific public questions) from potential talent.

Benefits of Recruiting from Your Personal Twitter Account

By posting jobs and other employment brand information on your personal Twitter account, you will see the following benefits:

  • Reach your own friends and extended connections. The single best talent pool in the Twittersphere is your friends and friend-of-friends. Simply put, iCIMS Hiring Insights research demonstrates that employee referrals are the most popular (and highest quality) single source of hire. When rock stars from your last company see how great your new organization is through your personal Twitter strategy, they are far more likely to reach out and apply. Or, even if they’re not ready to jump, they may retweet your posts to help signal-boost your efforts, lending credibility to your social presence and reaching a wider audience.
  • Discover and engage with interesting people in your field. There’s no barrier to entry with Twitter—if you see someone tweet something interesting, you can always easily tweet back and get an online conversation started. The more active you are in your Twitter recruiting efforts, the more people you will reach when you’re ready to post open jobs.
  • Add personality to your social recruiting strategy. You’re a person, not a faceless organization, and interested candidates are more likely to ask questions, reply, and follow another human who shares their passions and interests.

Best Practices: Get the Rest of the Team on Board!

Given the importance of an effective employee referral pipeline for your recruiting efforts, make sure the rest of your company is on board with online recruiting!

Your colleagues around the company might not have the time or drive to manually post jobs to their social networks, but that doesn’t mean they can’t boost the signal (and potentially help a friend land a job).

There are easy social media employee referral solutions that automate job distribution for any employee in the organization! Discuss your options with your existing talent acquisition solution provider to see how they can best support your success.

How Can I Track My Twitter Recruiting Results?

iCIMS Hiring Insights research illustrates that 66% of organizations surveyed are using some kind of Applicant Tracking System.4 If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that leverages a dedicated talent acquisition system, make sure you’re utilizing Twitter and your talent acquisition system hand in hand to determine the effectiveness of your social job distribution strategy.

Leverage your talent acquisition solution’s analytical reporting tools to determine Twitter’s value. These reporting capabilities determine how effective a source Twitter is compared to your other sources. You can determine whether or not your presence on Twitter is delivering you top talent, if your efforts are helping to decrease cost-per-hire or time-to-fill, and more!

Measuring Twitter Recruiting Results

The overall goal of sourcing efforts on social media is to build a high quality candidate pool. To make sure that your goals are achieved, your company must first create goals against which you measure your success. Such goals may include:

  • Increase traffic to career site
  • Increase follower count on corporate Twitter account
  • Increase traffic to job postings

You can also measure how social sourcing directly impacts the bottom line by reporting on:

  • Top sources of hire
  • Sources for high performers
  • Time-to-fill
  • Cost-per-hire

Before you implement your Twitter social media strategy, collect baseline key metrics on your current recruiting efforts. Then, set goals that you would like to achieve with your social recruiting strategy.

Tweeting for the Future of Talent Acquisition Success

In the most recent iCIMS Hiring Insights study, recruiting professionals were asked to rank the ways recruiting has changed from most impactful to least impactful in the last 3 years. Here are the top three results:

  1. Increased competition for talent
  2. Increased adoption of social media for recruiting
  3. More automated recruiting technology

In total, these changes emphasize the importance of a social media recruitment strategy that effectively engages talent—and is automated whenever possible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to work with your corporate social media account owner to make sure that hot job openings are shared on a regular basis to keep fans abreast of openings, while simultaneously building out your own Twitter presence to add a personal, approachable element to your social media recruiting strategy.

Finally, make it easy for others to spread the word as well! When your colleagues also get into the habit of sharing jobs on Twitter, your postings will reach a larger and more engaged audience. If you can provide an easy, automated social media job-sharing solution, it will be simple for your colleagues to become employment brand ambassadors on Twitter.

How iCIMS Can Help

It takes time and resources to build a social media presence on Twitter. By working with iCIMS, you can increase efficiency, reach more candidates, and improve the candidate experience.

iCIMS is the leading provider of talent acquisition solutions that help businesses win the war for top talent. iCIMS empowers companies to manage their entire hiring process within the industry’s most robust Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Built on the foundation of a best-to-market talent acquisition software suite, iCIMS’ PaaS framework, UNIFi, allows employers to expand the capabilities of their core talent acquisition technology by integrating with the largest partner ecosystem in talent acquisition to help them attract, find, screen, and manage candidates. Offering scalable, easy-to-use solutions that are backed by award-winning customer service, iCIMS supports more than 3,500 contracted customers and is one of the largest and fastest-growing talent acquisition solution providers.

Still not convinced? Check out what iCIMS customers have to say:

"Social media is where people are going- and it is absolutely helping our recruiting efforts. In fact, 15% of our external hires in the last year came from social media because of the Social Distribution tool."

“Recruiting in this industry has become very competitive, and it was necessary to show that we were in-tune with the market…[By using iCIMS social job distribution features], we’ve seen a measurable increase in applicants, and the added branding benefits allow us to share other company information, videos, and more on each job posting.”

“We use iCIMS social job distribution features as part of a multi-channel recruitment strategy. Using iCIMS robust reporting capabilities, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in traffic to our job listings from social media... Overall, we’ve been able to increase the number of qualified applicants, improved candidate engagement, and grown our talent pools.”

To learn more about the iCIMS suite of solutions, call 1-800-889-4422 or take a look at our demo at: https://www.icims.com/view-demo

1 https://about.twitter.com/company
2 https://www.icims.com/hiring-insights/for-employers/infographic_know-the...
3 iCIMS Hiring Insights proprietary research eBook: Are You Ready for the Future of Talent Acquisition?
4 iCIMS Hiring Insights proprietary research eBook: Are You Ready for the Future of Talent Acquisition?