Whilst in Dublin, I heard a great story, how technology expert Ivan Stojanovic of Irish recruiting firm C.P.L. The headline of the story was how he had recruited 27 specialist I.T. staff via twitter. Thats right, 27!
The issues that he had in sourcing these people, and why he chose twitter really as a last resort was that the people he was looking for don’t have c.v’s or resumes. They are not looking for fulltime jobs as a rule, most choosing to ply their very specialist skills in contract roles. Being in demand and quite rare, broadcasting links and posting ads didn’t work. 
The approach Ivan took was brilliantly simple.A search of twitter bios and the usual twitter directories revealed nothing. The skills and experience needed just wasn’t listed. he set up a few non-branded twitter accounts and searched for keywords in real-time search in twitter, setting alerts based on the kind of words related to programmes or projects they might be talking about. This returned a number of repeating profiles whose tweets showed they could be of interest.
Ivan followed these targets and began engaging around technical topics, increasing connections and profiles. Techies tend to hang out with other techies in any community.
Once Ivan had built a relationship and qualified his connections fully, he approached them about the opportunities. This proved to be very effective, resulting in a total of 27 hires over a 12 month period, with all connections originating from twitter. Forget apps and all the other good twitter stuff, this came down to using twitter search, listening first, connecting, engaging and building a circle of contacts in the channel. I don’t know the salaries involved, but they were top end. It would be reasonable to estimate an average fee of £10k, offering a return over 12 months in the region of £270k!
It takes time,some specialist technical knowledge in order to engage, and patience to find the right time to make an approach. The return makes it well worth the effort! Anyone want to question the R.O.I?

Thanks Ivan for sharing the story at #IRC2011. it’s one for #truDublin in May.

What has been your experience of sourcing through twitter?

Bill