Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


YES – Twitter Works For Recruiting! (I have proof)
September 15, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Twitter

This article was originally written for and posted on CruiterTalk.com for the Blog Carnival.

This post is dedicated to all the nay-sayers and people who keep belly-aching “Show me the ROI of Twitter”…. it’s time you stopped asking for proof that recruiting using Twitter works, and actually listen when people share proof with you. I recently used a fantastic resource called HARO (Help A Reporter Out) started by Peter Shankman, @skydiver on Twitter. I wanted to find individuals who have found their current full-time position through communication on Twitter. Take note: this could be via a job posting that was tweeted, an @ message from a company representative, or a DM from a colleague passing along some information about a position. Here are just a few of the responses I received. The results, quite frankly, I think are going to surprise you…

1.      Chris Kieff – Director of Marketing at Ripple6, Inc.: Chris lost his job in January of 2008. He did the usual things such as going to job boards and  applying for jobs, but he also started increasing his presence on LinkedIn and Facebook, and decided to start his own blog about internet marketing,www.1goodreason.com. He began writing about search engine marketing and internet marketing, and he started connecting with other bloggers through several social media resources and having offline meetings with people to solidify connections (hint). Chris had begun interviewing for various opportunities but as many companies ended up in hiring freezes, he simply wasn’t finding anything. After one such opportunity was lost, he went out to Twitter and tweeted ‘I just lost a job opportunity but I think they want me to be a consultant now…’ An observant employee at Ripple6 who was following him saw his message, said they were looking for a social media person, and he started going through the hiring process. He was eventually hired on full-time as Director of Marketing, based on a Twitter follower directly from Ripple6 who was keeping an eye open.

2.      Megan Soto – Account Associate at LaunchSquad: Megan was recruited and eventually hired by her PR firm through Twitter. She was a senior at the University of Oregon and had a couple of internships in the queue for the summer. Megan was active on Twitter and had a class-assigned blog about PR, which was her focus in the Journalism school. She tweeted about one of LaunchSquad’s clients in reaction to a cool New York Times article they’d just secured. While scanning for Twitter activity on the article, Brett Weiner, a partner at LaunchSquad, found her tweet, which led them to her blog and they eventually contacted, interviewed and hired her as a salaried Account Associate.

3.      John Robinson, Jr. – Interactive Developer at Balcom Agency: John started at Balcom in April of 2009. He is responsible for coding and helping design numerous websites for businesses and nonprofits using PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. John actually wasn’t looking for a new job when he noticed Balcom Agency’s tweet about a job opening for a developer for its fast-expanding interactive division. Still, he shot a quick direct message back to @Balcomagency to ask about the job, and by the time Balcom’s social media specialist, Kayla Bond, responded he’d already gotten a tweet from Balcom’s interactive account director, Chip Hanna. As webmaster for the Amon Carter Museum for five and a half years, John handled its Twitter account and the Balcom Agency was on the “friend” list.

4.      Andrea Slesinski – Media Relations Specialist at MediaSource: Andrea was working at a full-service communications/branding agency and had been hunting for a new job for several months when she saw the post by the media relations director at MediaSource, whom she knew in “real life.” She sent her some correspondence and arranged for interviews via Twitter the entire way through. The only time they communicated outside of Twitter was when Andrea sent her resume and cover letter for the position, which she did via e-mail.

5.      Rob Totaro – Account Representative at POTRATZ: Rob just started a job at the end of June 2009 that he found through an update on Twitter. He didn’t know Christy Potratz, one of the owners at Potratz Partners Advertising, but through other people she had begun following me. He followed her back and after a few weeks saw their posting for an Account Rep. He responded and interviewed, and eventually was hired.

6.      Lance Hunt – Software Architect/Consultant at Cogent Company: Lance had been on Twitter for a good while before getting laid-off and had around 100 followers at the time. Before the RIF, he already had accumulated a few recruiters as followers as well as many key players/influencers in the .NET Development arena due to a variety of past discussions on technical, social networking, and philosophical topics. The initial announcement about and from Lance and others being caught in the Telligent layoff was a big surprise to many who had been following Telligent over the years, so the overall response from the community was great. It seemed like everyone he had chatted with in the past offered to leverage their contacts and tried to help. At least 75% of Lance’s twitter job prospects were identified indirectly through colleagues in the industry who saw the tweets and gave him a referral or sent his information to someone they knew. The remaining contacts were directly from employers or recruiters who were already active on Twitter and were either interested in topics that he had been discussing and found him through that, or were actively searching on terms around layoffs and job search and found him that way. Lance’s current employer, Cogent Company, was one of those who found him through the former method of searching on topics and following other peoples’ discussions. Marc Hoppers, the owner, had seen Lance’s tweets while researching discussions on social networking topics and contacted him via a DM to see if he would come in for an interview. The rest is history.

7.      Tac Anderson – Social Media Director at Waggener Edstrom: Tac’s story is a personal one for me, because it was my direct message to him that alerted him to the position he now has. I had been following Tac’s blog, New Comm Biz, for a little over a year, and we had connected through Twitter and shared a few links and other niceties over time. When the position at Waggener became available, Tac was one of the first folks I reached out to for it. I sent him a direct message and asked if he might be interested. Tac was at a point where he was ready for a new opportunity, so he began the interview process at Waggener and eventually was hired.

8.      ME!  Amybeth Hale – Talent Attraction Manager at AT&T: I was laid off from my job at the end of February. Immediately, I started quietly reaching out to some of my network connections through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. One of the individuals I reached out to was Chris Hoyt, Associate Director, Talent Attraction with AT&T. Chris and I had been introduced by Jennifer McClure over the fall of 2008, and as we were both bloggers in the recruiting community, we developed a good friendship and respect for each other. When I told Chris what was going on, he set up a time for us to discuss an opening he had on his team, and it was a great fit for both of us. I was hired and started with AT&T at the beginning of April 2009.

I don’t know what additional proof anyone needs that Twitter is a helpful tool for connecting companies who are hiring to candidates who are looking. And for those who say this only works with certain job functions or in certain select industries – take a look at the variety in the stories presented here: we have marketing, PR, advertising, web development, software architecture, and recruiting professionals from companies operating in telecommunications, technology consultancy, interactive design, advertising, multimedia, and public relations. In addition, this worked for people ranging from fresh out of college to senior / director level professionals. So this isn’t limited to just the “social media” people or the “creative” companies.

Another interesting observation I had from reading through these stories is that the majority of the folks mentioned who were monitoring, seeking, and reaching out to these qualified candidates via Twitter were in fact NOT RECRUITERS, but observant employees and either partners or owners in their companies. So… perhaps this is a rude wake-up call to recruiters: the more you resist and poo-poo using tools like Twitter to find, connect with, and develop relationships with people, the more beneficial it will be for the direct hiring authorities, since they’ve already seemed to embrace this method of search.

So my recommendation to you is this: do what you want, and what you think is right for you. But stop asking for proof that it works, because it’s out there and you’re just not listening. And all those candidates are being grabbed up left and right by others who have chosen to embrace the tools, whether or not you do.

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9 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I don’t mean to give twitter a bad rep but I’m beginning to think that it is a cult – I have an issue with how people are saying it is better than any job board or other social networking site out there. I have read how people are saying it will be a replacement. I also have an issue with the insane amount of repeated information. People re-tweeing and quoting blogs where I start to get bored and frustrated with the ground hog day culture. It is a major time suck for people like myself. I am managing several functions such as large team projects, OD, HR and recruitment. Twitter is a tool that needs to be used universally like you said. More people need to be talking, monitoring, seeking, and reaching out to these qualified candidates via ANY NETWORK or important avenues such as robust employee referral programs. Solid on-boarding and recruitment relationship building is key as well. I am sure it isn’t news to you but there is no magic bullet in finding top talent and never will be. I think people who are focused on one avenue because they believe it is the next big thing are creating a big vacuum and forgetting about HR and Recruiting proven Best Practices. A big component of building a talent pipeline is relationship management and that is acquired through many resources.

Comment by Kathy Narvaez

Hi Kathy-
Unless you have a cyber twin out there, you too are on Twitter, I see. It’s really a shame that you are not understanding the power of this tool which can ALSO be applied to recruitment (the uses are countless, actually). Twitter is global, it’s accessible, it’s fast and to the point.

All your points on what works the “old fashioned way” are valid. However, if you use all the time-tested methods AND combine them and embrace Twitter and other social media…you have a win-win situation.

Seriously, how much effort,time and money does it take to participate in this new media in a effective way?

Try it, you’ll like it.

Comment by SuzyT

Twitter has it’s merits but I’m not ready to make it one of my major resources. I am pretty darn successful and resourceful without it.

Interesting how social networking sites and proven best practices are considered Old Fashioned

Twitter can be useful but the vehicle is used in a repetitive way and I get very bored with how people utilize that function / rt is excessive

The interface needs improvement for me to fully embrace and invest a lot of time into it.

ROI of a recruitment tool usually includes source effectiveness – this requires comparison with other tools does it not?

My twitter is used primarily for personal reasons and I’ve selected to protect my updates

Comment by Kathy Narvaez

Kathy, no one is saying you have to. If you are not finding success with it, then don’t use it. If it’s a time-suck, then don’t participate. Plain and simple. Has anyone forced you to use it? I’m going to guess no. But do not discount it simply because YOU don’t see any value in it. As this post, and MANY other examples will point out, there are plenty of people finding work using Twitter as one of their resources, and recruiters finding candidates using it as one of their tools. I would love for you to provide actual links to places where people are saying that Twitter is going to completely replace job boards or other social networking sites. I must not be reading the same things you are because I cannot recall reading anywhere where someone has said anything of the sort. I know I never have. I’ve made statements like it’s a great new tool to add to your sourcing toolbag (notice I said “add to” and not “replace”). No reputable, well respected person in this industry is going to believe that any one tool will replace the rest.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Please feel free to continue trashing it because my experience has been different and it’s been treasure for me. But I’d really like for you to provide some links showing where people are saying that it will replace job boards

Comment by Amybeth

Here here Amybeth and Suzy. Great examples, Amybeth! Kathy, maybe you aren’t following the right people? That really makes all the difference. I find value in Twitter every day, as an information sharing/learning tool and as a way to follow candidates, social media trends, brands I admire and others in my industry. It’s nice to share news with the recruiting and PR community in real time. Makes you feel the world is bigger than your organization and geography.

As for recruiting, I haven’t officially made a hire yet from Twitter, but I have identified several candidates there and do see the value in adding Twitter to my recruiting toolkit. That said, it is far from the only method I use to identify and connect with candidates. The tried and true recruiting methods (like picking up the phone) are still a huge piece of the pie.

I will admit Twitter’s not for everybody. In the PR and technology niches, Twitter is pervasive and to not use it would be to ignore a huge opportunity. I also acknowledge that the curious/news-hungry personality will be much more likely to enjoy this micro-blogging community…

Comment by WE Recruiting

Amybeth – I’m so frustrated, I just spent half an hour typing up a really thought provoking response and invitation to chat and when I clicked on “say it” it crashed and it didn’t post. I’d really like to talk with you sometime –

Thank you for providing a space for intriging conversation!

Comment by Kathy Narvaez

Twitter is going to replace a lot of the emails that are required to send out a resume. It’s just a matter of time.

With that said, I have done a poor job lately of generating candidates from Twitter.

The reason is that it’s more work involved in it. We need better search features on Twitter to source candidates. When that happens, I’ll be using Twitter like crazy.

Comment by Michael Glenn

Hi Amy,
I like your blog. We are rebranding our firm and I am just learning the tools of social networking (twitter, LinkedIN). I do use a lot of facebook and LinkedIN to find my candidates – however, I haven’t really jumped on the twitter bandwagon.

I thought twitter was used more for social purposes but I am quickly finding out that this form of medium is slowly beginning to creep into the business world.

Looking forward in leveraging our experiences with social media in order to increase revenues! (I guess that’s the bottom line)…

Comment by Brian Pho

Amybeth

I didn’t blow off your response or hide in a corner. so here goes. I think the first time I read something along the lines of social networking replacing job boards was Lou Adler….. Job boards are dead; talent hubs are alive.

The Long, Slow Death March of Job Boards ­– and What Will Replace Them: A Quintessential Careers Annual Report 2009 http://www.quintcareers.com/job-board_death_march.html

This article has a lot of good points to it however it is highly unlikely job boards are going to go away. Transform into a more interactive space yes but die ? not in my mind they wont.

“Instead of posting jobs use social networking” – doesn’t sound like an “added tool” to me http://www.ere.net/2009/07/22/social-media-a-primer/

“Twitter is just one of a growing number of applications that either help drive more people to a social network or that keep them interested in your organization or build a relationship with them over time.”

I get this…I truly do but our marketing department does this for both marketing and recruitment. Recruitment and HR do not do this – we are too busy managing the people of our organization to increase retention and maintain the high quality talent we have. We are filling positions with shorter time to fill, lower costs and better quality AND our attrition rate is lower than any recruiter cares to admit. We have not laid off people due to the economy either.

I do like that social networking leads the way for people to see our website and careers section – points right to it like bird seed.
Yes, we are active on twitter, facebook, flickr, etc etc. My personal account is just that, personal. I don’t have to use it to attract talent. I truly don’t – when I do I will.

Social networking in my organization is not something that is done by each recruiter – we don’t have to spend a lot of personal and work time social networking because we have other functions such as true HR and organizational development large scale projects in a large public organization. Your role is very unique -we are not lucky enough to have a talent attraction manager to feed us leads. Our positions are much more complex and unique then the positions you are sourcing for. They are not even remotely close to retail sales, call centers etc.

If your interested in what type of positions they are I’m happy to share. maybe you can provide advice on how to approach this uniqueness using these ‘tools” – I’m open to learning. Please Teach not Preach – a shove it in your face approach is like trying to get bees to flock to vinegar.

“While at first it may seem overwhelming to embrace social networking, candidates are getting accustomed to being treated in this more personal way, and the results are a higher quality candidate.

Social media will become the primary sourcing tool and will provide the best forum for communicating with prospective candidates.”

I agree on the first part of this statement however the second part concerns me – I don’t think that social networking provides the best forum – I just don’t. I find more value and stronger relationships by speaking with people – especially the unique network I work with.

ROI: showing hires using twitter is great but how long did it take to fill those positions vs. using other sources? it isn’t just filling the positions as any reputable HR or Recruitment professional will attest. It is about time to fill, time to hire and quality of hire too. Do you have those measurable areas tracked? if so I’d love to see those – these are the areas that all best practices recruitment functions are measured on. Regarding the varied industries and levels of positions hired – I saw the variety which is cool – I”m curious about the real metrics though…I could say I filled 22 positions using one tool but the true measurement for my annual review or success isn’t based just on the tool used – it is based on all measurable areas (time to hire, time to fill, cost per hire, client satisfaction).

Please must remember that just because the tools are changing how we do our job the expectations of the measured results aren’t.

I’ve been social networking since 1995 when I started online with AOL and CompuServe – it isn’t new. I’d like to hear more about sourcing as a whole. Talk about all the sources more vs just twitter – all the tools count and have their merits. Give us more strategy how to use these tools not preach that we MUST embrace it.

I’ve attended many social networking webinars, read the white papers and research and blogs.

I know how to use the tools and know it’s important ….but I haven’t seen enough about increased measurable results (time to hire, time to fill, cost per hire, client satisfaction ratings, etc)

Many professionals need this before they even consider taking to the decision makers proposing to have more time to do it or hire someone in a similar role like yours. Do you report to HR, Recruitment or Marketing? Do you manage a team of researchers? or a function?

I thought this was pretty funny in a silly way “nay-sayers” and “poo poo” – to me it sounds like something my ultra cool adult kids would of said as a teenager on xanga “back in the day”.

Some call my thinking old fashioned – old fashioned is how I did army recruitment i.e. type writers, telephones with cords and paper resumes. I would never want to go back to that. Everything else is progressive. It isn’t all about tweeting – to me a handshake says a lot more.

Lastly, I wanted to say that your charity work is amazingly brave and congratulations on the new job as well as the new life in Oregon – you look very content and happy.

Comment by Kathy Narvaez




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