Using Twitter to Hire – the Employer’s Perspective

Yesterday, I shared several stories from people who used Twitter to help drive their career bus. Jessica Smith found her “dream job” from a tweet. Kyle Flaherty, moved his family from Boston to Austin, TX as a result of a job hunt that started as a tweet!

Kyle’s boss, Pam O’Neal (who hired him as a direct result of his tweet and blog post), was kind enough to answer some questions for me about using Twitter and social networking sites from the employer’s perspective. I hope you’ll agree with me that her answers help shed some light on the subject of social networking for a job hunt.

Tell me about using Twitter to hire?

Happy to share. I think it is a fantastic tool to find a job and for recruiting new hires. It’s a great way to expand your network exponentially to spread the word about an opening. And, if used properly, to alert employers that you are available.

In this instance, I knew it was going to be difficult–if not impossible–to find an experienced social media marketer. I had hired bloggers and other new media marketers before, so I knew what to expect. It’s a new role that demands a completely different mindset. Also, it’s difficult to find marketers who fit into a start-up culture. It’s usually best to hire someone you know or based on referral, but in this case, I knew no one that matched our needs.

How did you actually come to find Kyle? Did you receive his tweet directly? Via another contact? What about his tweet and/or blog appealed to you?

An important thing I’ve learned in my marketing career is to think like your prospect, speak their language and go where they are. So, when it comes to recruiting, I follow the same path. I had done this in my last position, pre-Twitter. In this case, however, I was not ready to broadcast the position, so I alerted my LinkedIn network, my PR agency, etc. Fortunately, one of the folks at our PR agency Porter Novelli was on the lookout for me and saw a tweet that Kyle posted about his next career move and alerted me that he would be a fantastic hire.

What was special about Kyle?

Kyle really took an out of the box approach using Twitter. He had already informed his employer that he wanted to make a career move and made a list of the exact opportunity he was looking for, so he posted an announcement to his 700+ Twitter followers and described that role. So, between the agency referral, Kyle’s use of Twitter and the insights he’d posted on his blog, I knew he would be a great addition to the team. I emailed him immediately.

(Note – I thought Pam’s description that follows of how she and Kyle used Twitter to update each other on the hiring process was really interesting…)

Once Kyle and I connected, we communicated throughout the interview process via Twitter. I followed his Twitter updates and sent him regular updates on what was going on at BreakingPoint (Pam’s organization) and in the industry. I could also tell the other companies he was talking to in Austin so I knew my competition. It was also a good way to get to know each others’ interests and philosophy about the role prior to closing the deal.

Do you (or your colleagues) regularly source employees online?

Not typically, but for hard to find specialists, I will alert my network via Twitter and other social media sites. We’ve had candidates reach out to us on Twitter and I’ve also spread the word for other colleagues who are hiring marketers.

What sites/tools do you use?

LinkedIn and Facebook mostly. I’m now a member of several online professional groups that I will use in the future.

How many employees have you connected with via social networking tools?

Wow, too many to count. I use them almost exclusively these days. Ads are a waste of money and sorting through stacks of resumes is an extraordinary waste of time. My last 4 or 5 hires have been through social media sites or personal referrals. I found Kyle via Twitter and a demand generation specialist via LinkedIn. I found a blogger via a social media content site. I can tell you that it has dramatically reduced interviewing costs. In two instances, I was able to hire the first candidate I interviewed as they were a somewhat “known” quantity based on their online profiles, content, network, etc.

Do you do background checks online as well? Have you ever NOT hired someone because of what you found?

I’ve used MySpace to do some “reference-checking” to see if a candidate would be a good hire. One such candidate foolishly posted publicly that he had enlisted in the army but would try to “get out of it” if he found a job. That was a couple of years ago. Needless to say, we didn’t bring him in for an interview.

Your Turn

So, how do you feel about engaging in a job hunt via Twitter? Would it be great if your prospective employer tweeted updates so you wouldn’t be left in the dark? What if you were also tweeting where else you were interviewing? Please share your thoughts about open-book hiring using Twitter!


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2 Responses to “Using Twitter to Hire – the Employer’s Perspective”

  1. 1 Alphonse Ha September 26, 2008 at 10:50 am

    I think it would be very smart for employers to send tweets about their job openings. Rather than spending money and put it on job boards, they can simply post it on their website and link their career website to Twitter so that job offers are posted automatically. It takes a few minutes to set it up and then it will be done automatically. The best part? It is free!

    It is also a great way for companies to filter their candidates. Not only an they do ebackground check (or nowadays background check 2.0 as the trendy name would be) via Twitter, they will know that whoever gets their tweets are loyal to their brand. Nobody would “follow” tweets of a company they wouldn’t want to work for. As an employer, I can tell with high certainty that whoever appluied to a job offer via Twitter is a fan of my brand’s culture.

    Alphonse Ha

  1. 1 Vibemetrix Daily Vibe - September 25, 2008 | VibeMetrix Blog Trackback on September 25, 2008 at 3:06 pm

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