How Twitter can help you recruit tech talent

You might not think of Twitter as a recruitment tool, but companies are integrating it into their hiring strategies. Here’s how Twitter helps hiring managers and recruiters find talent -- particularly passive job seekers.

twitter as a recruitment tool
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Twitter conjures up images of funny celebrity tweets and corporate PR gaffes rather than job searching and recruiting. However, there is an emerging pool of job candidates on Twitter. In fact, 45 percent of job seekers report that they use Twitter, compared to 40 percent who use LinkedIn, according to 2014 research from JobVite. The same research also points to an increased interest in Twitter for recruitment, with 73 percent of companies reporting a focus on increasing social network recruitment.

Passive Job Seekers

There's a highly sought-after demographic on Twitter -- the passive job seeker. These are people who aren't actively seeking a new position, but wouldn't turn down an interesting opportunity if it presented itself. "I think it's the point of inception often times in the relationship that grows from a passive job seeker to an active job seeker to a candidate and, eventually, an employee at your company," says Matt Singer, CMO of JobVite.

And there is a large market of passive job seekers that companies can tap into, with a whopping 45 percent of workers reporting that they will switch jobs if the right position comes along, according to a 2015 study by JobVite.

Progressive Insurance, for example, has found success reaching passive job seekers through Twitter chats. "We got some people who started following us, following the hashtag and engaging in the conversation, and one of them actually has just recently applied for a position," says Mary Foley, IT hiring manager at the company.

It's more about branding

Using Twitter in recruitment isn't necessarily about reaching out directly to potential candidates. In fact, only 17 percent of employers report using Twitter specifically to search for candidates. Rather, companies are more focused on planting the seed for future job seekers; 44 percent of companies report using Twitter to build a company's brand, 39 percent report using it to post jobs and 32 percent to generate employee referrals, according to a survey from JobVite.

In today's always-on culture, people expect transparency from companies, especially because they can quickly find tons of information with a quick Google search. Companies that engage with prospective candidates on Twitter can help give potential employees a better idea of what it's like to work at their company.

While a company may not reach out directly to you, or vice versa, it's a way for companies to focus on their brand and get their message out to people who maybe haven't considered their company for job opportunities. "It's really about getting followers to take an interest in our company. So we do that for both employment branding, as well as for specific positions we're hiring for," says Foley.

Twitter for company research

Companies can stand to gain a lot of insight from Twitter's consumers and employees, whether it's how to improve the customer experience or confirmation that people are happy with their products or service. When an employee considers taking a job with a new company, he or she is going to set out to do some research first.

Twitter might be the best place to make this first impression, with 24 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 17 percent of 30- to 39-year-olds reporting that they turn to Twitter to look up information on a company. That's more than LinkedIn, Facebook or Google Plus.

An employee's salary also impacts where they turn to research a company as well, with only 11 percent of job seekers who make less than $25,000 per year turning to Twitter, while 21 percent of those who make $75,000 or more report using Twitter to research a company.

A mobile strategy is key

Ultimately, a company's Twitter strategy can be ruined by one simple thing: mobile. Mobile is where everyone is turning to consume content, which is a big part of why Twitter is becoming an important recruitment tool. "We know that the newspaper that [job seekers] used to use on their way to work to look for jobs has now been replaced with their smartphone. And you're obviously not going to -- unless you're very bold -- be doing job searches at your office on your company-issued computer. So you will use your smartphone," according to Singer.

But companies that are active on Twitter, but haven't implemented a mobile strategy, might be missing the mark on branding. A tweet might be the first impression, but once a prospective candidate clicks into a careers page, or a company website, if it isn't mobile friendly, chances are that you've lost them. "If your careers page isn't mobile, then you've actually just sort of done your brand a disservice and left a very negative impression on a job seeker, who's basically making their first attempt to connect with your company," says Singer.

This story, "How Twitter can help you recruit tech talent" was originally published by CIO.

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