Like any communications tool, Twitter is a multi-faceted and flexible channel. Originally touted as a ‘micro blog’, users quickly latched on to the diverse range of possibilities offered by the channel. Marketing one’s personal brand is simply one of many uses for the network – and one that job seekers are starting to employ to successful effect.
The recruitment industry is awash with debate over social media. Is it the future of recruiting? Does it open job seekers’ personal lives up to scrutiny? Is it yet another administrative burden on overworked recruitment consultants? For every advocate, there exists a detractor, especially where Twitter is concerned. But, as we prepare to enter 2011, we’re finally starting to see tangible success stories.
Following recent news that a third of job seekers now use some form of social media during their job hunt, I asked (on Twitter, naturally) whether any job seekers had experienced any success using Twitter as a tool during their job search. The result? A fascinating email conversation with a lovely job seeker who has experienced phenomenal success using Twitter to look for employment opportunities.
Here is what Jane (not real name) had to say:
“Well I was applying for lots – and I mean lots – of jobs through advertisements online but getting nothing, so I decided to take a proactive approach. I immediately drew up a list of PR agencies I would love to work for and added their official Twitter handles, the HR departments (if applicable), and some key employees. I also found it useful to set up Twitter feeds for job websites, so all relevant vacancies for me would be in one place.
I then decided on an approach to my tweets: occasionally, I would send a tweet about my job hunt, or ask specific questions of people – do you know of any vacancies etc. This way, I could start two-way conversations with the right people. I wanted my Twitter account to appear authentic, so I continued my usual (mundane!) tweets too, but also stated giving my opinion on media stories etc. – this way potential employers could see that I knew what I was talking about.
I then noticed that a company was hiring so sent them a tweet about it. They asked for my CV straight away and the rest was history! I didn’t even have to go through an official application process; just sent my CV and a few days later, I was called in for an interview and got the job! The fact that I’d made contact through Twitter really impressed them – they even made me one of the people responsible for their official Twitter account!
Since leaving that job I’ve been trying the same tactic. This time, I’m looking to move areas, so I added all the influential media people in that area. I’ve managed to build up a real rapport with some of them and we tweet regularly. In fact, I have built up such a chummy relationship with one that I managed to secure an interview with the MD of a PR company on the back of it – because I’d been mentioned to him in the office before I even contacted him.
I don’t think you can rely on getting a job by waiting for vacancies to be advertised – you’ve got to go out and do the leg work yourself. It’s always worked for me (even my first ever PR job was on the back of a speculative email) and it isn’t hard just to give your normal tweets a bit more purpose.”
Whilst Jane’s social success story is by no means ‘common’, it is by no means rare either. Twitter has cemented itself as a communicative staple of modern life and job seekers are starting to realise the potential this has to offer.
Despite this slowly growing pattern, the recruitment industry is by no means a sitting duck. With a workforce of millions, the percentage of job seekers actually being *this* proactive will be fractional. However, recruiters do need to start considering whether they are missing good candidates simply through social ignorance.
If recruiters have a presence on Twitter, there’s no reason that potential job seekers won’t look them up. If recruiters interview a candidate, they can continue that conversation online – and build that all-important rapport that Jane mentions so pertinently in her email.
As Twitter and social media become ever more engrained in people’s lives, it begs the question, ‘what are we doing to accommodate that?’ Jane – at the moment – is in the minority. But more and more candidates will start using tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to target employment opportunities directly.
Do we want to miss out on that segment?
Or shall we, as an industry, be collectively brave enough to jump in and communicate with our job seekers in the places they frequent?