Twitter is the latest buzz on the hiring scene as employers are turning to social networking platforms to supplement their traditional methods of searching for talent.
This social networking platform allows people to post quick, short text updates of up to 140 characters on what they are doing right now. Thoughts, news and ideas, called tweets, are broadcast almost instantly in a type of micro-blogging service.
People can select other Twitterers to follow, and others can in turn follow them. This ability to quickly learn from and share information enables powerful relationships to be built, providing employers with a great way to connect and network with passive job seekers.
"Candidates with high-demand skills are mostly passive job seekers who are happily employed and not looking for jobs. This means they¹ve got to be found in other ways, as they¹re not posting their CVs to traditional job boards," says Mark Gray, head of online recruitment specialists, Graylink.
"Connecting with them on Twitter is far more cost-effective than appointing a headhunter. The other great thing about sourcing talent in a new place such as Twitter is that you¹re reaching a pool of talent your competitors aren¹t yet targeting."
The starting place is setting up a Twitter profile, optimised with keywords related to specific jobs. Based on the relevance of the conversations a company is having about its industry, this will attract followers, which can then be used as a platform to drive relevant content for employer branding and job opening notifications.
Companies can set up multiple Twitter profiles to suit different jobs openings, publishable via instant messaging, e-mail, RSS feeds, the web or even SMS. Different kinds of notifications can be set up to reach followers on their cell phones at certain times of the day.
By integrating Twitter with other social media platforms, for example embedding it in a blog or Linkedin profile, job alerts can be extended to even wider audiences. A host of other complementary applications further exist outside Twitter, which can be applied for recruitment. For example, TwitterJobSearch is a search engine for jobs that have been posted on Twitter.
Twitter is particularly useful to companies looking for talent in the technology and media sectors thanks to the progressive, tech-savvy audience it attracts.
Nonetheless, employers need to understand the profile of the candidates they are targeting, as Twitter has a very specific application when it comes to recruitment. Facebook and Linkedin are deep platforms where people volunteer a lot of personal information, making it easy to segment and target candidates that are actively looking for work.
Twitter is a shallow platform with more specific, immediate, events-driven interaction. This enables employers to work their network and share relevant, interesting information, making it better suited to get passive candidates to come to them.
"Recruitment marketing is still marketing. Employers need to get connected and understand how social media platforms relate to recruitment to develop strategies that work," says Gray.
While Twitter currently works off a smaller user-base than Facebook as it is a new service, Twitter is the fastest growing social network at the moment, growing at three times the rate of Facebook. Twitter is set to grow substantially in the next five years as Internet access improves. According to the latest survey from World Wide Worx, South Africa¹s Internet users will double, reaching nine million by 2014. This makes Twitter a worthwhile ongoing element in the online recruitment marketing mix.
"Innovation is crucial if companies want to continue growing in an increasingly tough environment. Recruitment processes are no exception. The competition is sharpening up at finding and keeping talent, going online to cut costs by targeting talent directly and automating the process. If you don¹t figure out how to make social media platforms such as Twitter work for you, you¹re going to find yourself behind the curve in the attracting the best talent," Gray adds.