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.