Meredith Soleau shows two ways she is sourcing new applicants using Twitter (actually three ways).
Her first way is to try and find what interests her ideal candidate would have, finding accounts who would cater to them, and then see who interacts with those accounts. Her second way is to search for a phrase and then narrow down the location and finally see who is talking about on Twitter about it.
She also lists a third tip near the end of the post, about searching for terms her ideal candidates would use when talking to each other.
While each of these methods could work, I think the second is the most effective and the third will help you write better job descriptions. Here’s why.
The first way, finding accounts the candidates follow, starts off pretty easy but the critical piece is finding a relevant connector account, Wired for IT candidates in her example. If you find a bad connector account or one that isn’t relevant, the rest of the process falls apart. One tip I’d have is to find a smaller, more niche connector account. The smaller accounts will have a lot less noise but they will also have a lot less spam to wade through. For example @WindowsITPro or @LinuxJournal could be better than Wired for looking for IT.
The other thing to watch out for with finding popular account is that some accounts post a lot to Twitter every day. This means you’ll have to dig through more tweets from Wired to find who interacts with them. If you have a lot of time to dedicate to each position, you might be able to dig through everyone who interacts with Wired every day. But if you’re strapped for time, the lower number of interactions on smaller accounts might be a better use of your time. Remember to balance quantity and quality.
Twitter as a search engine
Meredith’s second way is to use Twitter as a search engine, just like how you might use Google to find candidates. The only downside to this approach is that some searches might have very few results. To combat this it is best to create a number of regular searches and run them every few days (there are tools that can do this for you automatically too).
Writing better job descriptions
Her best advise was at the end of her post and should have been bold. I’ll quote it here.
You can also search by key words that a candidate would use while tweeting with peers. Follow people in various fields and learn their trendy lingo. They don’t speak to each other in Job Description. They all have a language, just like we have a language.
Why is this the most important tip? All to often recruiters can turn off an applicant by faking the candidate’s jargon. This is especially visible in tech recruiting and is one of the causes behind the battles between tech recruiters and candidates.
By watching how your potential candidates talk to their peers you can get better at talking to them without making a fool of yourself. Like asking the creator of Ruby on Rails how many years of experience he has in Ruby on Rails (which is like asking Henry Ford how many years of experience he has as Ford Motor Company).
Twitter can be a great tool for sourcing new applicants but you have to figure out ways to use it effectively.