By Neil Patrick
Today, I read an interesting and insightful piece by the ever clever Glen Cathey here, called ‘14 Tips on How to Use Twitter for Social Recruiting’.
Glen’s piece was about how recruiters needed to up their game in terms of using Twitter as an effective tool to find suitable candidates.
It got me thinking that there’s another side to this equation, which is how job seekers should use social media to engage with recruiters effectively.
Over on my Twitter account, I have set up lists of recruiters, so anyone who wishes to can find and follow relevant recruiters more easily. I have organised them by continent here. Please feel free to subscribe to any list that you feel may be helpful to you.
As Glen pointed out though, many recruiters have yet to fully grasp how to use Twitter effectively in their hunt for the best candidates. Many simply use Twitter to tweet jobs as a means of free advertising.
This is far from ideal for a recruiter. Unless they have a lot of followers who are the right type of profile for their search, they won’t achieve much reach on Twitter.
But this post is about job seekers not recruiters, so here are my thoughts on a strategy for job seekers to engage effectively with recruiters on Twitter.
Ensure your profile on Twitter is right for a recruiter
It may well be that when you first set up your Twitter account you were not job hunting. If that is the case, and you are now looking to job hunt, it’s time to adjust your Twitter bio so it describes you in your professional capacity rather than a purely social role. You have 140 characters to do this - but less if you include a link to your LinkedIn profile which I recommend.
Because space is so limited, you cannot talk about your accomplishments and nor should you – that’s for LinkedIn. Instead describe yourself succinctly and professionally. What’s your area of specialism? In what industry or sector? What experience or capabilities set you apart from your peers?
I do not recommend that you mention you are presently job hunting. This will exclude you from the screening for some recruiters who (wrongly in my view) are only interested in candidates who are presently employed.
It’s also time to adjust what you are tweeting about. Try and focus your tweets on matters which are relevant to your career and professional interests.
Find and follow all the recruiters relevant to your search
My Twitter lists are a good start point for this, but you’ll find many more if you do a Twitter search for recruiters in your city/area such as recruitment Dallas, recruiter Dallas or jobs Dallas.
Don’t worry about whether or not they follow you back
It’s great if they do, but what you want is to get their tweets in your tweet stream.
Get noticed by RTing them
There will probably only be at most a dozen or so recruiters that are appropriate to your sector and geography, so it’s not a great deal to manage.
RTing of job tweets isn’t that common, so you’ll find it’s an effective way to get noticed by a recruiter. If you RT them regularly, some will acknowledge your support and follow you back.
You now have the start of a relationship
So it’s now time to invest a little more. Apart from helping the recruiter spread the word about their jobs, by RTing them and earning some goodwill in the process, you can now take it to the next level.
And the way to do this is to pay it forward by helping them some more. Don’t just think about your own job hunt. Think about the recruiter’s goals. Do you happen to know someone that would be a great fit for a role they are seeking to fill? Yes? Tell them - but talk to your contact first to make sure they are happy to be referred.
Take the relationship to the next level
Once you have exchanged some tweets with a recruiter, and hopefully an identifiable person at the recruitment firm rather than just an anonymous corporate account, you have a basis to connect with them on LinkedIn too. To avoid the risk of rejection though it’s best to ask first on Twitter. This has the double benefit of showing them some courtesy and giving you the highest probability they will accept your LinkedIn invitation.
Continue the process on LinkedIn
The pay it forward approach I am recommending can continue on Linkedin. You are now in a higher visibility and higher impact relationship and platform with the recruiter. If they are using Linkedin well, they will be posting information here, not just jobs but other pieces too. You may well feel qualified to comment on some of their posts. Do it. This is a great opportunity to show what you know and add value to the discussion.
You are now in a privileged and high visibility position
By following this strategy, you should have managed to build a relationship with a handful of the key recruiters in your area of specialism and territory. Do not abuse this status. You might think I recommend taking the relationship next to face to face. I don't.
Whilst this is great if the recruiter initiates such a move, don’t invite it yourself. Recruiters are extremely busy people and they have to prioritize their time for getting the best prospects for their clients. But you can now be sure they’ll contact you when the right position comes along if you've pursued this strategy. After all, you are one of probably just a handful of people that they have such a close relationship with.
As Glen pointed out, 'Ultimately, people like helping people they like, and people like people they feel that they know'.
I think the time to carry this process out is only about 3-4 weeks. It’s not a substitute for other parts of your job hunt activity, but it’s probably more likely to yield results than spending the equivalent amount of time sending off another pile of resumes.
If you’ve followed this strategy or a similar one, I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. And if you're a recruiter. I'd love to hear what you think too.