Jobvite Blog: Today’s Recruiting Trends

5 Ways to Recruit More Effectively on Twitter

Recruit TwitterWelcome to the second in our three part series on using LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for social recruiting. In the first post we looked at 10 ways to use LinkedIn to attract, source, and approach your ideal target candidates. Today we’ll turn our attentions to a series of steps you should take on Twitter.



1. Be Clear About Your Twitter Strategy and How It’ll Convert

You’ll see me reinforce this point again and again, but on any social platform the first key step is to define clearly:

  • Who it is you want to reach?
  • What are the next steps you would like those people to take?
  • How are you going to measure your success?

For example, a market leading brand with a huge candidate database might want to use Twitter to constantly have its recruiting messages in front of candidates who have already expressed an interest in the business. Retargeting may therefore be the primary focus of their Twitter strategy and driving up the proportion of website visitors who go on to apply may be the end goal of their strategy.

Compare and contrast that with a fast-growing start-up that needs to quickly gain visibility among its target candidate market. This business will need to take proactive steps to get itself seen, maybe with the help of influencers or maybe with a budget to target promotions at specific demographics. Driving up targeted visits to the company’s careers page may be the goal of their strategy.

A third example would be the leader of a recruiting business, who might want to use Twitter to elevate his or her position as an expert in their industry. He/she might seek to build relationships with conference organizers and journalists, with the end goal being to win speaking engagements or be featured in industry articles.

Each of the above examples would call for a very different strategy on Twitter – hence why it’s critical to have this clearly defined from the outset.

2. Make Your Twitter Profile Compelling

I cannot overstate the importance of making your Twitter profile a magnet for the types of people you need to attract to hit your goals. Let me share some figures with you to reinforce the point. A poorly worded and low-value Twitter profile will often convert fewer than 1% of visitors. That’s to say, if 100 of your ideal candidates or clients were to look at your Twitter profile, you’d be lucky to have even 1 choose to follow your profile and therefore be signed up to see your future updates.

Those pitiful results are in stark contrast to value-laden profiles, where we’ve seen conversion rates of 40% and more be achieved. This is when you really start to motor on Twitter, when every action you take to get relevant people seeing your profile results in a significant number of new highly targeted followers (and often advocates) for your recruiting team.

In the low conversion corner we have accounts that are all about selling the company and promoting the latest vacancies. Their Twitter bios recount how long they’ve been in business and the types of clients they work with. Their updates are a stream of job listings and requests for help. Noise and promotion in other words.

In the high conversion corner we have accounts that appeal to people’s motivations for choosing to follow. “We’re passionate about Big Data and the ways it’s impacting our world. Follow us for the latest #BigData insights and developments”. No mention of being a recruitment business. No mention of the types of jobs you offer. People will find out about these things in due course, but at the outset our only goal is to have the right people choose to follow your account so that they are exposed on an ongoing basis to your brand and updates! With a bio like this you then clearly need to follow up with a stream of tweets that are indeed valuable Big Data updates, so that people in that space feel compelled to follow you, look out for your next updates, and increasingly start to re-share them with their own followers.

3. Target the Right Audience

If yours is a business looking to engage with your existing candidate audience, your focus is likely to be on retargeting. First, you’ll want to use a tool like Audiense (formerly SocialBro) to import your candidate database and identify who is active on Twitter. These are people you’ll want to follow and add to Twitter lists so you can monitor their activities for opportunities to engage.

Second, you’ll want to consider paying to promote key tweets to be seen by your existing audience. You can place a piece of code from Twitter onto the careers pages of your website – and thereafter will be able to run adverts on Twitter that are shown just to the people who’ve visited your careers page. Similarly you can upload your candidate email list and adverts can be targeted at those people too. This is powerful. We’ve had campaigns where retargeting on social media like this has doubled the response rate of a recruitment agency, compared with just sending an email shot alone.

Alternatively, you may be a business (or individual recruiter) who wants to get noticed in your industry. Two tools will help you do this. A detailed search of Twitter using Audiense will allow you to identify professionals in your niche market who are active on Twitter – and who you therefore want to try to connect with and engage. If you’ve crafted a valuable Twitter profile then the chances of these people choosing to follow you is greatly enhanced.

Once your account has a bit of credibility, you can then ramp things up by finding influencers in your industry and seeking to build rapport with them. Influencers are those people who already have a sizeable following of the exact audience you’d like to reach and whose audience engage with them. You also want to narrow your efforts to just those influencers who are willing to retweet other people. All this data you’ll find available using the BuzzSumo tool.

4. Engage in Conversation

In our experience as a social media agency working on hundreds of accounts for recruiting teams around the world, time and time again we see that engagement outperforms promotion. If your goal is to drive candidates to your careers pages, you’ll achieve far more clicks by interacting with candidates and dropping this suggestion into the conversation than you ever will by sending out tweets promoting your careers pages.

So a key element of your strategy is to figure out how you can ensure that every day there are natural opportunities arising for you to engage with prospects. Maybe you’ll set up tweet streams to monitor relevant conversations happening in your industry. Maybe you’ll monitor people who are sharing articles from the key industry publications in your niche (or indeed your own website). Maybe you’ll identify lots of live tweetchats that you can get involved in.

Once you have that regular stream of opportunities flowing in daily, jump in and engage. Comment on what people have shared, thank them for their insights, ask which part of the blog resonated most with them, enquire if they’re seeing those same challenges in their businesses. The point is to get the conversation started and to interact. This happens relatively infrequently in the average Twitter user’s day, so when it does happen it really stands out and makes the person warm to you. Having done this, experiment with different wording that allows you to turn the conversation to what you’d like to achieve. A little bit of test-learn-test here will go a long way – and get you to a point where 1/3 of all the people you interact with each week go on to take the step that you’d wanted them to take.

5. Use Direct Messaging Wisely

One final thought to share is around the use of direct messaging. This is the functionality on Twitter that allows you to send a private tweet to someone as opposed to the public domain nature of mainstream Twitter. There is the potential here to really harm your social recruiting efforts, but also to achieve great results if used wisely.

Turning first to what you should avoid – any direct messaging that looks automated. The scourge of Twitter is the auto-DM sent to someone who has just followed you. You receive an auto-DM within moments of following and it’s not personalized – no mention of your name to show that it was crafted by hand. It’s also a blanket message sent to everyone who follows that person, regardless of their profile. Often it’s sent with a free tool that adds “via @” to your DM, making it even more obvious that it’s automated. Or worst of all, the tweets that start out with “Like you I don’t like auto DMs, so I promise this is the only one you’ll get from me. I just wanted to encourage you to like my Facebook page too…”

Regular users of Twitter consider this to be incredibly spammy – and many will unfollow you simply for having treated them with such contempt!

However, I’ve seen some people make the knee jerk statement that you just shouldn’t use DMs as they come across as spammy. My advice is the polar opposite. We have seen that if messages are carefully targeted to a highly relevant audience – and ideally are personalized – the response rates achieved can be phenomenal. We’ve seen this with companies using Twitter to generate client leads and we’ve seen it used to drive candidates to visit particular pages or to sign up for events. The key thing is that the recipient feels like you’ve chosen to contact them, rather than blasted a message out to all your followers. For tools to help you with doing this effectively, have a look at either Audiense or Socedo.

Everyone Can Recruit on Twitter

Often we hear recruiting teams say that they’re not sure they should bother with a presence on Twitter (incidentally we’ll hear a similar debate about Facebook too). They worry that their target demographics aren’t on Twitter – or that those people simply aren’t using it for business and so wouldn’t welcome any interaction with a recruiting team.

To this day I’ve yet to find an industry/location combination we’ve worked on for clients where this concern has proven to have any validity. There are of course some audiences who are more active on Twitter than others, but that’s true of all social media – and is a prime reason why “one strategy fits all” is delusional when it comes to social recruiting.

If you need any help figuring out what’s the right approach for your business then feel free to reach out for help – and do look out for our final installment on recruiting with Facebook a few weeks from now.

About the Author

Tony Restell is the Founder of and helps candidates and recruiters leverage social media. You can find Tony on Twitter; or join him on one of his forthcoming webinars where he’ll walk you step by step through the processes he uses to get results for recruiting teams on social media.