Twitter Tricks For Recruiters #SocialRecruiting #TruLondon

I’m going to be delivering training next week to a team of corporate recruiters on effective ways to use twitter for sourcing talent. Whenever I run this workshop, it always reminds me how some of the most effective features in twitter are underused, in particular twitter lists and twitter searches.
I think the engagement aspects of the channel have been well covered., though I will talk a little more about this at the end of the post.  It stuns me when I hear of industry spokesman saying recruiters shouldn’t tweet, and shows a distinct lack of touch with reality. Twitter is the introduction channel. You need no invitation to follow anyone and engage with anyone. People are happy to talk to strangers about most things, and there is no real hierarchy of rank.

I know that if I invited recruiters to a networking event which was going to be attended by candidates and clients in their target market, you would be queuing up to attend. I think they would also be wise enough to know that once they got their, the conversation would be about a lot more than shop talk. They wouldn’t just walk up to everyone in the room and introduce themselves by saying “I’m a recruiter, do you want a job?”. There would be plenty of small talk about all number of things in order to start a relationship. Its part of networking. The people who talk only shop get shunned quite quickly, and new connections get tested out with questions or requests for advice from time to time. It’s a part of good networking, and why the concept of the elevator pitch is actually a bit of a joke as an introduction, though it helps to practice answering the question of what you do, without sounding like an a**e. It’s an inevitable question your going to get fairly early in a conversation. When I’m asked, My answer is that “I host unconferences and implement social recruiting plans.” That creates questions if they are wanted, without over pitching. The way you conduct yourself on twitter should not be any different, and small talk will form most of your conversation with any target contacts. This is a good thing, and part of the getting to know you process. In this post i want to share some tactics for organising your twitter followers and following, some applications that help organise you and how to make the channel work for you.
Another myth I want to challenge at the start of this post is that automated job feeds don’t work. Actually they do when they are operated correctly. I think anyone who recruits in any capacity should have one, and here’s why:

Among the social recruiting projects I’m involved in or have access to data, these accounts represent 20% of hires, and a higher volume of click-throughs. People are still actively looking for jobs in the way they always did, and that means searching via google, as well as other search engines, as well as searching in twitter. I’m not sure what the long term impact on this of the twitter feed coming out of Google search results, but right now it is still working, and there’s lots of searches going on within twitter itself. The key to making these posts effective is including location, using #’s for job type, job and location. It’s also important to list that the feed is a job feed, and not to expect engagement, (listing another account for connecting with recruiters for engagement.) Set the feed to post at different times during the day. You can use one of the excellent applications to do this like TwitJobSearch or TweetMyJobs, or alternatively do it yourself by setting an RSS feed to the twitter account or using an automated posting tool. The best I’ve seen at the moment for this is Buffer. Other tips that work are including the link in the middle of the tweet (5 times more likely to be opened), and where there is space asking for a retweet, it still works for increasing reach.

Although I haven’t done it myself, the results I’m seeing back for promoted tweets for jobs against targeted streams or topics are proving very effective, at a lower PPC cost than any of the other channels. I will be trying this myself soon, and will give you feedback.

What you need to do is not judge job feed accounts by follower numbers, you’re not going to get many, the posts just aren’t that interesting. In case you pick up a few though, add tweets every 30 posts or so directing them to a recruiter account for engagement, this stream is built for search, and will return candidates. I have heard of a number of corporates who are now very active with engagement focussed accounts, who started with an automated job stream, and the wins they got from this convinced the business to get more active. Some times its small wins at a time.

Another twitter feature that is grossly underused is twitter lists. I have always used Formulists to build dynamic lists.but unfortunately Formulist called it a day in Jan, so the service is no longer available. I have recently moved to Twitilist that is another good tool for building larger lists. it’s not as dynamic as formulists but it does a good job for simply building lists manually. 

I keep lists for my linkedin connections (this is even more useful now that LinkedIn have elected to take away the twitter app). as well as new followers and follows so that I can keep an eye on their activity for an engagement opportunity.

 For recruiter accounts I also build lists based on disciplines, job titles and employers from competitors. Although it takes a bit of time, you can build competitor lists from LinkedIn company pages by checking employer profiles for the Twitter address. I’m sure one of the super sourcers will have a quicker way of automating this, perhaps Martin Lee can help out with that.

Whatever your view of Klout as a measure of influence, the lists features are often overlooked. These lists are useful for keeping an eye on people who you engage with regularly, or are considered to influence. You might not agree 100% with the list, but I find them useful to follow the conversations they are having to join in where you think it is appropriate. You can export from Klout in to twitter lists, and the other way around. It’s another option for dynamic list building.

The benefit of segmenting twitter lists in to target areas is that you can organise your contacts in a way that is useful to you, and set columns on tweetdeck or hootsuite for closer monitoring and engagement.

Another area of twitter you should be monitoring closer with dedicated columns is competitor job feeds and accounts. You can omit jobs from the feed in the column set up to keep it clean. It’s worth profiling anyone engaging with the account, that way you can elect to make your own approaches. You can also follow competitor lists, or industry lists like trade magazines or events with one click.

One other way to identify potential contacts for following is by setting up twitter searches around geek words. Geek words are words or phrases which one user would tweet to another that would indicate that they work in a particular profession or job role. This allows you to profile the people you find. The clues might be in the bio or you may need to look at another channel, probably LinkedIn to confirm what they do, follow them and list them. As well as geekwords, another good search to follow is 4square check ins against competitor locations. Again you can set these searches up as automated columns in tweetdeck or similar. Check who is checking in so you can follow them and add them to twitter lists.

 Followerwonk is another great tool for building followers in a targeted way. One of the features I really like is being able to search bios to identify people to follow. It’s also great for delving in to competitors followers and lists,as well as comparing  your follow list with your competitors. You can break down their account by most influential followers, most active, by bio or tweetcloud. you also get access to some pretty neat data that helps you understand the strengths and weaknesses in your following.

Another application worth a look at is Twollow which allows you to identify twitter accounts to follow by key-word, as well as some other useful twitter management tools. The upgrade paid for version gives access to extra features including multiple keyword searches. Its worth trialing with the free version and upgrading when or if it proves of value.

I’ve always built twitter accounts organically, but I am aware of others who have used automation to accelerate the process.  The best of the automated twitter tools I’ve looked at and seen in action is tweetadder 3.0. This works by searching bios for keywords, tweets for content, hashtags etc. you can find and follow the followers of other accounts. You can follow lists easily by individual follower, search in multiple languages or by location. You can manage and organise multiple accounts, set to unfollow others who don’t follow you back (if you choose), or send an auto-tweet to identified users by tweet content, inviting them to follow or click on a link. It is very effective for building twitter followings quickly and on scale, and at a price of $55 for one account up to $188 for unlimited accounts, all for a lifetime licence, it’s not going to break the bank. It also has a clever way of switching between servers to avoid twitter jail. My personal choice is always to grind it out building organically, but there is a real benefit to building at speed using tweetadder, and it requires a lot less administration.

Another way to attract a following in your target market is to build a blog sharing account. By concentrating on sharing blogs in your market, you will get followed by people with an interest in the topics being shared. If you recruit auditors, and share audit content, then it is likely that you will be attracting auditors because of the nature of the posts. Because you are sharing blogs, you are also likely to get blogger appreciation, and that can go a long way. To set up a blog sharing feed set up a dedicated account with a clear bio. Search for the blogs you want to include. Although there is no obligation to do this, it’s worth contacting the writers for permission. Once you have this, sign up for the RSS feed from the blog and connect this direct to the twitter account with a share message e:g: latest from (name), post title. Every post that gets published goes to the feed. Monitor the feed for followers, profile them and invite them to your engagement account.

Using any combination of these tactics or tools, you’re going to build a targeted following fairly quickly in your market place. This is going to be worthless without any engagement. As a guideline, focus your time on @ messages first. This starts the conversation, and acknowledges those reaching out to you. My own division of time is roughly 70% on @ messages, 20% checking the main stream and commenting, and 10% on creating new content for the stream. This model serves me well. The important thing is making sure you are engaging and responding to those who want to respond to you. Not answering tweets is a bit like not answering people calling you. Don’t have an engagement account, if you have no time to engage. Organising your followings through lists and columns in tweetdeck help you to know what to engage about.

The last part of recruiting through twitter is analytics. You need to understand what is working for you, and the dynamics of your followings, including things like time to tweet. There are a few analytics tools available to use that mostly have a free version to play around with before you invest in a paid for version. My choice of tool is SocialBro which has some really useful and easy to use reports. You can also get bespoke reports in any area you want to investigate, as well as some useful features for search and list building, mapping, best times to tweet, spam control and plenty more. I love this app, and recommend you take a look.

Twitter is a great channel for recruiting when you adopt a proactive approach, both for building relationships, getting new introductions, branding and as a channel for just in time search. It’s also a great place to promote jobs, make friends, hang out and connect. I’d also say I’ve learnt more from Twitter than any other form of learning, it’s the place for self-development. I recommend the whole package to any recruiter.

This is a breakdown of some of the content that I include in the twitter workshop, which is hands on and interactive. Message me if you want to know more or follow the blog for the next set of dates that are coming out soon. I will also be covering some of this in my #trulondon track: “All of a twitter.” I hope you can join the conversation.
















What I’ve learnt from 50,000Tweets #TruLondon

I went over 50,000 tweets earlier this week. I joined twitter in May 2009. My first tweet was “is this working”, followed by “Can anyone see this?”. I had no idea in those days where twitter would take me, or really what I might get back. I was just curious about this channel that everyone was talking about,, where messages could not exceed 140 characters.
It seemed a kind of crazy place. I know that if I was measuring the R.O.I, I would have given up after a few months.
Without wishing to sound over evangelical, twitter has changed my life and my business beyond recognition, and in ways I would never have anticipated. I can honestly say that if I was measuring R.O.I. and looking at what I was getting back, I would have stopped at 250 tweets. There is very little business I can trace back to one tweet or another. I have not sold many tickets to events or won consulting business from a link i have tweeted, but what I do know is that virtually all the business I do is because of the network of people I first connected with on twitter, and that is what I see Twitter as, the introduction channel.
I tend to follow new people most days. I don’t automatically follow people back because they have followed me. I don’t even rush off and check a bio to see if they are “worth” following, because my view is that anyone who has tweeted something that got my attention in a busy stream, is worth following. I don’t expect people to follow me back, only 40% do. I don’t count follower numbers, because the only matrix that is really important to me is shares, retweets or @ messages. That tells me if people are choosing to interact with me or not.
I’m not concerned about people who unfollow me, that is they’re  choice and prerogative. I don’t hold by the practice of mass unfollows, If someone was worth following once, their worth following unless they spam me with porn, free i-phones or really irritate me. I have learnt that as my network has grown, both in terms of follows and followers, some people interact with me every 6 months or so because of something I’ve tweeted, or they might ask for my help with something because they perceive me as having some level of knowledge of something, or they may respond to my request for help. What I do know from these occasional interactions is that even when we are not talking, they are watching. Thats what most normal (I don’t consider myself in that category) do. I’m more interested in the people I don’t know than the people I do, that’s why I try to follow new people every day. I spend most of my time on twitter either following #’s, taking part in chats or responding to @ messages, or asking my own questions.
According to the “experts” I should have no followers because I tweet a lot, retweet often and take part in chats that can flood the stream. It doesn’t seem to have done me any harm, and I will not be changing that approach any time soon.
I have learnt so much from all the content that has come to me via twitter, and although I connect in all social channels, most of the relationships, business or otherwise, originated from a tweet, and as twitter has no geographical boundaries,they are global relationships. Without twitter, these would not have happened.
I don’t think about brand, authenticity or transparency or any of that stuff when I’m tweeting, I just tweet what comes naturally and it seems to work.
This year I will be hosting 29 #tru events in 5 continents. All the track leaders, attendees and sponsors involved can be traced back one way or another to a network that originated on twitter. I can’t measure that via click-throughs, links or visits, but I know that it’s a fact.
Your approach to twitter should be just do it, tweet, spread your net wide and see what happens.
Thanks twitter for everything!


Viral #SocialRecruiting: The U.P.S. Road Trip

What does it take to make your recruiting  message viral? You want your message, and your opportunities to reach far and wide, particularly when you are hiring in large numbers. There has been plenty of discussion about whether gamification works, and if competitions and games attract players rather than candidates. I understand the critics point of view, but I’ve also seen some great examples that have countered the argument.

Mike Vangel of T.M.P. is an old friend of #Tru, having led a track on U.P.S.’s social recruiting efforts at #truBoston. I also got the opportunity to see him present at the Recruiting Innovation Summit. I have a lot of time for his thinking, and admire that he is very open in sharing the data behind the campaigns. I’m hoping we will be able to tempt him over to London in Feb for #truLondon5. U.P.S. have a great social recruiting story to tell.

Mike spoke to me recently prior to the launch of U.P.S.’s  “Road Trip” game on FaceBook, and I’ve been following this closely since the campaign launched on October 10′th.The game finishes on December 16′th, so I thought it was worth making a half time report, and it is so far so good. The game is aimed at recruiting seasonal driver helpers and part-time package handlers.

The concept of the game is that players enter by signing up for the UPS jobs newsletter and by voting for their favourite careers video, and sharing content or inviting friends to take part. The grand prize for the sweepstake, and it is a random draw, will be a gift voucher for Zappos up to the value of $2,000.00, with a weekly draw for a $100 voucher. The prize is up to $2,000 because the pot goes up the more likes the page gets. There’s currently 26,142 fans with the most important number, 782 people talking about it.

I see the “talking about” number on a fan page as being far more important than fan numbers, because this represents how many people are actively engaging with the page, whether its liking, sharing or commenting. 782 is particularly high for a careers page, so the campaign is obviously working.

Mike Vangel

When you first visit the U.P.S. jobs page, the landing page is a countdown clock to the end of the road trip, a promo logo and a button to enter and find out more about U.P.S. Jobs. Once you enter, you are taking to a page with 26 video’s to choose from or vote on, video’s from opportunities for women through to senior managers getting interviewed. Each video has a button to vote for your favourite, and an opt out button to share the video to your wall. This is a great way to promote the full career video catalogue and give potential employees to choose those that closest match their area of interest, from the corporate stuff like diversity, through to individual job types. Checking on the U.P.S. YouTube Channel, the viewing figures have grown considerable since the start of the competition, with the most popular of the video’s topping 5,000 views.

Once you’ve entered, you can invite friends to the sweepstake either via your wall or by invites. You get your friend list and earns another chance in the draw. What I like about this game is that it is simple to follow and enter. From the headlines I have been given by Mike when we spoke last, it has already been very successful at building up the talent network. (A talent network is people signed up for notifications of jobs and updates.) Applications for jobs are well up, both through the campaign and the work4labs application on the U.P.S. Jobs page. Promotion has been entirely through shares, Facebook and Twitter with no paid for media. It has been an undoubted success for U.P.S. in hiring seasonal staff and getting the message out there. Hats off to U.P.S. and Mike Vangel on this campaign.

The U.P.S. Jobs Sweepstake

Mike Vangel

Dear @Twitter: What happened to no banners?

First off, Twitter is a business. Those of us who use the channel understand that they need to monetize the platform, and advertising revenue is the most likely route. We understand that Twitter provide an excellent free channel, and the price we are going to pay for this is increased promoted tweets in the timeline. I love twitter, ad’s are a small price to pay, but I’m feeling a bit deceived by the good guys at twitter right now.

On May 20′th the twitter blog published the following comment: “The idea of taking money to run traditional banner ads on has always been low on our list of interesting ways to generate revenue. However, facilitating connections between businesses and individuals in meaningful and relevant ways is compelling.”

The explanation given was that promoted tweets would appear at the top of your timeline until they had been read or hidden by the user. This started out as only being tweets from brands you have chosen to follow. There was further coverage that Twitter were not looking to create banner advertising because this would spoil the user experience, and the user experience was most important.

In September, promoted tweets were expanded to reach all users rather than exclusively to those who followed the brand. You see a promoted tweet in your timeline where twitter determines that you may already have an interest in the promotion based on your followers and interactions on twitter. (No doubt there is a complicated algorithm to determine likely interest.) Previously you had the option to dismiss a promoted tweet, although this option has quietly disappeared.

The promoted tweets F.A.Q. answers the question “How often will people see Promoted Tweets in their timeline?” as follows:

“We’re focused on providing a great user experience, first and foremost. As a result, we’re being thoughtful in how we display Promoted Tweets in users’ timelines.
During this initial rollout, we will be conservative about the number of Promoted Tweets that people see in a single day.
Any Promoted Tweet people see in their timeline will appear just once, at or near the top of their timeline. Then, the Promoted Tweet will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet.”

And to the question; “Where in the user timeline will Promoted Tweets appear?”

“Any Promoted Tweet people see in their timeline will appear just once, at or near the top of their timeline. Then, the Promoted Tweet will scroll through the timeline like any other Tweet.
Once a user has seen a Promoted Tweet in their timeline, they will never see that Promoted Tweet again.”

This is all fair enough and not too intrusive, but then came the second coming of Twitter ad’s in September:

The role out of promoted tweets from being exclusively on Twitter.Com,to other app’s like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.
This is where promoted tweets move from being in the timeline to becoming banner ads. 13% of tweets are sent from Tweetdeck. Twitter acquired Tweetdeck.At the time of the acquisition Tweetdeck founder Ian Dodsworth commented:

” By becoming part of the official platform, TweetDeck will now fill that role for brands, influencers, the highly active and anyone that just needs “more power”.”

Tweetdeck is not really about the timeline, although it features. Users create columns around keywords, hashtags, lists or specific groupings. Most of my columns are set to follow either conference/event streams or twitter chats. The columns are populated by a continuous search against the target, and this is where I have a real problem with promoted tweets. Because they are always returned first in a search, they are always top of the stream and I can’t block them.

When I follow an event or a tweetchat I expect the tweet at the top to be the most current. What I get in effect is a banner ad, and that is what Twitter have stated on many occasions they were not looking to create or monetize.
This situation gets even more irritating when you attend a live event featuring a twitter stream. The promoted tweet is back,permanently at the top of the stream with no way of removing it. It’s a big distraction in the stream, and a permanent billboard for the advertiser. As an event promoter, I don’t want a back door to promote companies to the attendees other than the sponsors. I have to consider whether a twitter stream can be displayed at the event, and how does this impact on the event?
I see advertising on Twitter as being different to Facebook Ad’s or Google promoted searches. Facebook ads appear in the right hand column out of my timeline. Google searches are static, I can scroll down quickly and usually do. I want my Tweetdeck columns to be current, free from banner advertising. I don’t blame the advertisers, it could be considered smart marketing, but if other users feel the same way I do, there could be a negative impact on brand perception.
The good people at Twitter have asked for user feedback, and this is mine. The fix is quite easy and would keep users happy. Either don’t allow hashtags as keyword searches, fix promoted tweets so that they don’t appear permanently at the top of the column in tweetdeck, (I have no problem with every 50 tweets or so). You should also make this option available to other third-party apps as well as your own. The other alternative is to reinstate the dismiss button!

Just my thoughts.What do you think?


Twitter Blog: Does Twitter Hate Advertising? - May 2009

Mashable: More Promoted Tweets

Twitter Support: What Are Promoted Tweets?