8 Best Practices for Using Twitter to Your Recruiting Advantage

Katherine Mehr

Social media is sweeping the recruiting landscape, offering new innovative ways to engage potential candidates in the talent pool. But Tweeting to find your future talent isn’t about posting 140 characters and hoping something takes. It’s about taking the entire platform and maximizing it to your advantage, involving key stakeholders and aligning it with your corporate strategy.

Keith McIlvaine, Global Social Media Recruitment Leader for Unisys, discusses with Human Resources IQ, global best practices for using Twitter for your recruitment needs.

Best Practice #1: Be There!
ROI (return on investment) or Risk of Ignoring
The Return on Investment is always a question with internal stakeholders and an important topic to discuss. But what many individuals do not consider is whether the question is a monetary return or if it is a presence return. Conversations are occurring online whether you are there or not and whether you are a participant or not. While companies cannot control conversations, just being able to both listen and engage adds value to your brand perception.

Best Practice #2: Integrate Twitter
Everything is connected. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Myspace, etc. are all integrated—one social strategy.
Social media is changing every day and each tool looks to leverage the strengths of other tools, a very strategic integration approach. While companies and individuals are able to select the tools that best suit their needs for their target audience, the ultimate goal is to drive people to one site and leverage all of the social networking properties to drive traffic.

Best Practice #3: Involve your Stakeholders
Identify your stakeholders, determine a police for strategy to steer employees in the right directions. Everyone should be on the same page.

  1. Business—HR, Marketing, PR, Legal, any business lines
  2. Strategy—have an integrated strategy, policy and governance
  3. Resources—know the go-to resources

A social media strategy is not about one person or business line but about the entire organization. It becomes critical to make sure that everyone has a solid understanding of the strategy as well as what information should be conveyed and focused upon. You should also consider what to do/not do whenever negative feedback may arise. There are a number of topics to consider which also leads to the criticality of having key stakeholders in the room!

Best Practice #4: Create Handle Strategy
An often overlooked and underappreciated topic but the selection of a Twitter handle strategy is also important. How do you want to approach the market? Once you understand the four types of accounts that maybe (or have already been created), this will further allow an organization to take the next step in their strategy and help to focus the content.

Best Practice #5: Drive Cohesion
PR, Marketing and HR need to create a cohesive message, consistent voice.
A consistent voice is important in social media and on Twitter. You cannot have the company addressing one topic and have recruiting or a business line speaking about something completely different. Again, going back to Best Practice #3, by knowing who the stakeholders are makes it much easier to ask questions and seek guidance. This should not be left up to someone on their own but instead as a total strategy –especially if you choose to have more than one Twitter handle.

Best Practice #6: Publish content creatively
Hashtags, URL shorteners, SMS texting techniques, 120 character messages, Twitter search, @ or D followers are just a few ways to publish creatively but you need to continue to work and identify content that is both interesting and that adds value to the company. Posting press releases or commenting on deals won are great, but add value so that non-employees may understand more about your company. Engagement is critical and helps to break down walls to your customer base, or even better, to your potential customer base.

Best Practice # 7: Delivering Value
Listen --> Follow --> Engage --> Share --> Link --> Ask --> Repeat
Value is often overstated in social media but it is completely critical to everything we do. If a person or company does not add value then they will be tuned out of many conversations. This "process" is an excellent way to better understand and relate to those you choose to engage. Listen and Follow to hear the conversations and begin to strategically build a list of interesting people. Engage and Share to start conversations and building trust to your network. Link interesting articles so that others see you add value, and not just about your company. Ask for anything only after you have spent time building your network and proving that it isn’t only about you or the company. Repeat as this process is never ending!

Best Practice # 8: Think Globally
Regardless of the size of your company or what you perceive your geographical reach to be, social media is accessed by all. You may work for a company in Iowa but someone in Istanbul, Turkey may become interested in your Tweets. It is social responsibility and networking wrapped up into 140 characters of global impact.

Twitter is a global tool. To integrate to your organizational strategy you have to think globally.