Twitter, recruiting, and job boards: round 2

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A while back I examined the recruiting value of Twitter and its possible effects on job boards.  Since then, Twitter has kept growing at a torrid pace, the economy continues to slide, and most job boards are happy if their revenues are only down 20 or 30 percent. I thought it was time to take another look.

Chris Russell created a very nice ‘starfish’ that runs down the various social media tools available for recruiting and makes the point that ‘social media works because it humanizes your company’.  I think he’s right on target here: one to one communication can truly bring a personal touch to your recruiting.

But Peter Weddle took aim at Twitter, LinkedIn, and the rest as more hype than fact when it comes to recruiting effectiveness.  Why? First, he pointed out that a social network isn’t necessarily a talent network, and second, this is a passive market, requiring special recruiting skills.

I’ve been involved in a project recently that underlined the value of both Weddle’s and Russell’s points. It involved ‘tweeting’ new job posts from a job board in real time, and then systematically ‘retweeting’ them based on company name, job category, and location.

The results? Not much – a slight uptick in response, no discernible increase in the quality of applications. I suspect there are at least a couple of reasons for these results: a) even though several hundred tweets were posted, they were but a drop in the bucket of tweets out there; b) these tweets serve the dual purpose of immediate direct response (fill that job!) and luring new – and qualified – followers to the job board’s Twitter feed. The latter takes time.

I suspect – no, I’m sure – that the long term effects of the job board’s Twitter activity will be positive. It will bring in qualified seekers and employers that might never have found the board in the first place. But the market is still searching for a ‘killer app’ that makes it simple for me or you to make sense of the Twitter-mess out there. In the meantime, job boards need to use Twitter (and other social media) to expand their reach and give both employers and job seekers another reason to use them.

Your thoughts?

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Brett

    Twitter, for some job boards, is nothing more than a fancy RSS feed.

  2. Felipe Villasenor

    @JohnSumser tweeted this article and I read it. I am glad to see you acknolwedge the fact that traditional social networks and Twitter are not necessarily “easy” from which to recruit talent. The underlying issue is that many of the users are not true friends and don’t have deep relationships with others.

    Existing, or the potential to create, strong intimate relationships are the key to recruiting and a Talent Network is based on this premise. You need to be in an environment which fosters this potential to recruit and be recruited.

    Intersting: Indeed.com (million of hits/month) has a Facebook (200 million users) app with only 2,900 active monthly users. Facebook is not considered by users to be an environment that fosters career promotion (a new job, a better job, etc.) thus the Indeed.com app is used by only 0.00145% of Facebook’s 200 million users on a monthly basis.

    twitter.com/jfelipe33

  3. Paul Paris

    LinkedIn and Twitter are not user friendly to Recruiters or Applicants .Many people I speak with they feel that it has just replaced the Do Not Call List for spammers and advertisers. Have you ever joined a group on LinkedIn that discusses anything the group is supposed to be about. Do you ever go to Twitter and see all the links you need to go through to get to a Companies Website or Online App. People are looking for easy and neither of these sites offer that option.

  4. Shai Shefer

    We tweet job postings in a similar fashion. I think that twitter is a great tool but it’s definitely being misused (by our company too).

    Right now the majority of the companies out there use it as a glorified RSS feed. It’s convenient and easy to post things to twitter but everything is automated! Nearly everything we post at our account (twitter.com/funnelthru) gets pushed from our site and our blog – we try to supplement it with tweets but it’s obviously difficult.

    Twitter is still messy for job seekers – even with all the search tools.

  5. David HR guy

    The Wall Street Journal wrote an article about the best Technologies to recruit, twitter was not even in the running –

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204475004574126832685403014.html

  6. Sam Morse

    We use Twitter as a way to let people know about new articles, events, general regional employment market information, etc. Kind of like a micro-blog with links to the main content. We also manually post an occasional job – typically tough jobs to fill. We’re hoping our multiple message type approach will keep our twitter friends loyal. Even in the twitter universe, content is king.

  7. Sarah

    Thanks for the article. I think this social networking/twitter thing is so silly. We hire all kinds of people and there is no way to do this using twitter or facebook…so silly. Thats the difference between the Wall Street Journal and….well everything else.

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