How Twitter has helped to hire


On March 21, 2006, Twitter was born and everything changed! The world switched from reading long-winding articles to 140-character messages. Hashtags became cool and if a topic was not trending, it was deemed that it didn’t generate enough interest. The users of this micro-blogging social networking website used the platform to share messages, photos and videos real-time and the impact that it had on how information was distributed and shared was so profound that “hashtag” found its place in the Oxford English dictionary!

But, perhaps, the most unforeseen use of the platform was that of a job board. As early as 2009, just three years after it was founded, articles started flooding the cyberspace about how to use Twitter as a recruiting tool. Sharlyn Lauby, an HR professional turned consultant and author of blog, wrote for Mashable in August 2009 on why organisations are not using Twitter for everything else except finding employees, especially when candidates are using Twitter as a job search tool. Even then, most recruiters stuck with traditional methods because they believed that Twitter was only for the young folks!

Eventually, HR wisdom changed. Many were unhappy with the traditional hiring methods and were still having trouble getting the talent that they wanted. With increasing focus on social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn, recruiters changed their modus operandi!

In March 2010, OgilvyOne launched a hunt for the World’s Greatest Salesperson through social media, with rewards being an all-paid trip to Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and a three-month paid fellowship. They asked contestants to sell them a brick! In 2011, MasterCard launched a #internswanted program in Canada to engage the millennials in a very engaging manner. Applicants were asked to submit an idea for a product, app or even technique that would help the company to move closer to its vision of a cashless society. More than 500 students qualified and eventually they hired more interns that they intended to. In 2013, they took the campaign global.

In February 2014, IT services provider HCL Technologies launched the first ever global Twitter recruitment campaign. It conducted a series of interviews exclusively over Twitter with a campaign called #COOLESTINTERVIEWEVER over three consecutive weeks. The candidate could pick any one of the following roles including Big Data Guru, Hacker-in-Chief and Womenspiration. The winning candidate won a year-long project and the chance to work with the company’s top management. The campaign yielded 88,000 applicants and an equal number to HCL’s other social media sites.

Well, even Twitter itself is posting jobs on its own platform. In 2014, the company posted tweets inviting candidates to apply for a job in Mumbai “Team @TwitterIndia is looking for an associate partnerships manager to join us. #ApplyNow.” In fact, they have a separate handle called @Join The Flock, which talks about why you should work at Twitter! Twitter is not the only company to have separate job handles. According to a research by recruiting software Software Advice, nearly 35% of Fortune 500 companies have a separate handle specifically for recruitment.

According to Mindshift Interactive, a digital outreach company, while 2 million jobs are posted on Twitter every month, only 23% of jobseekers leverage Twitter in their job hunt. Nearly 45% of the Fortune 500 companies include links to social media on their career pages and use social media websites to check candidate backgrounds.

More interestingly, Software Advice’s research points out that Twitter has more jobseekers and more job openings than any other social media site. However, while 58% of jobseekers look for a job on the platform, only 15% of recruiters actually have hired someone via Twitter.

The research findings would give a clue as to why it has not become a very effective job board: Majority of the jobseekers (58%) use Twitter in their job search to look at company profiles. The biggest problem, however, has been that most companies are ineffective at posting job openings and communicate with jobseekers and the recruiting handles often cater to specific employees or company events. Even more tellingly, only 35% of Fortune 500 companies have a recruiting-specific Twitter handle.

There has been many a debate on the effectiveness of Twitter as a recruiting platform. However, it would seem that the difference between companies who make it a success and those who do not lies in the ‘i’ of RoI. Personalisation is key and companies should not focus too much on marketing themselves. For you see, history is replete with successful examples of those companies who have invested and shown the door to those who haven’t.

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