Twitter and Micro-blogging is all the hype today in the social networking (particularly the Recruiting/Talent Acquisition community). Why? Well, it's cool . . . it's new . . . it's widely publicized . . . it's a way of staying in touch . . . from a marketer's viewpoint, it's a way to maintain mindshare and/or top-of-mind placement. The notion of a multi-drip is indeed being redefined by Web 2.0.

There's only one problem - I don't see any discretion among many Recruiters using it. Here's what I mean: Candidates that we're working on building a relationship with are looking for us to help them make the next move (well, quantum leap for many!) of their career. To be succinct, they (much like us) have a vested interest.

Why does this matter? Well, unless our candidates are part of our family or are friends, they don't care that we're . . .

"On a rollercoaster about to heave", "Eating a calzone at Johnny's", or "Thinking about Darwin's work, 'Evolution of a Species', etc.

In fact, I ask myself how letting the entire wall down between our work and business lives affects our candidates' perceptions of us as professionals. Yes, we want to build a relationship, but that doesn't mean we open our entire personal lives up to the candidate pool. In fact, this is what I call the Twitter Trap.

So I've identified the problem . . . Here's a solution -- Create a Twitter account dedicated to the candidate niche(s) you specialize within. A hypothetical example might be twitter.com/SAPFinanceAtlanta. From this angle, you can enhance the value you're providing to your candidates without having to open the door to your personal life; a personal life that the candidate probably isn't interested in (yes, it's a tough anti-narcissistic pill to swallow, I admit.)

What might that value look like among the allotted 140 characters? Perhaps a link to a relevant blog, perhaps a new position you're working on for a client, perhaps news releases that they may find interesting, etc. Think about it for a minute: Imagine how this type of communication would come across to candidates instead of what we normally see . . . If your bread and butter is placing top talent, don't you think they may be creating perceptions about your talent level as well?

Put these tips to work and watch your network begin to grow for the right reasons with the right results you're looking for (more hires, more placements, less time-to-fill, higher quality-of-hire, etc.)

Good luck!

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Josh,

I can tell you that at first, I had the same thoughts when it came to twitter. Who in the heck is going to want to hear me call and pitch to them a new opportunity if they read earlier that I had ate something bad at lunch and tossed my cookies for a few hours prior to calling them??

But, I wanted to give Twitter a chance.

Twitter is similar to me as MySpace and Facebook - the difference?? Microblogging. It enables me to not have to go to these sites and go through adding people to friends lists or accept them to my site. Twitter is the raw information - minus the fluff that we create on different social pages. The good to this is that I can easily find people via location or name or profession via twitter, follow them, and see if they are the candidate I am seeking. In return, you are right, the flip side is they see if I am the kind of recruiter they would want to hook up with.

My results, personally, is that Twitter has not turned away candidates for me. In fact, I have had more communication with my candidates, and I am following them and converse over things not regarding the job hunt.

I can offically say that I have placed a candidate via Twitter, and that the process was not deterred because of things good or bad that I have posted about myself. I think it gave the candidate a sense of comfort that I am just a normal person plugging away at a job I love to do and in the end helped them as well. - and I get to follow them as they do poker tourneys - which seems very interesting and I like to follow.

Twitter enables us to "talk" online and know our candidates and they know us better.

I can see your point, but if you give it a try, I think you will see there is no need for two separate profiles on Twitter.

Amie
Josh - great view on twitter and microblogging. Its always tempting to dive into the new new thing. In addition to what you propose I would also suggest the 80/20 rule. 80% of shared content is business and 20% is personal. I apply this rule as well when deciding who I'm going to follow on Twitter. If I get a request and 80% of the tweets on the persons page are about "eating calzones....." then I don't follow them.

I believe there is value in sharing and blending the personal with the professional. If done effectively candidates can get a better feel for the company and benefit from learning more about the type of people the company attracts. If there are multiple people from the company on Twitter and the candidate checks out what they're saying it can begin to paint an interesting picture. Zappos is a great example of this on Twitter. If you follow @Zappos you get a pretty good feel for the culture of the company.

Lastly, I would also suggest that if recruiters want to play in Twitter or microblogging that its also important to learn to dance with the language of business that's aligned with their company/industry. The quality of the content shared is important. If your only tossing out tweets about jobs its not likely to be very effective. But, if you share information about the business, the industry, trends, interesting articles.....and intermittently job opportunities...and some personal information there's a more complete and enticing picture.
Amie, good points - indeed, I honestly don't see macro-truths in our space today :) What works for me in the Regulatory/Compliance space may not work for you in your own, and vice-versa. That's what I love about social media impacting us today - there are many different ways to skin a cat and make things happen :) Social media has enabled us, quickly and cheaply, to lauch real-time "on the street" experiments . . .

I agree that Twitter can lead candidates to know us better (I really do). What I'm suggesting, however, is that the Director level+ candidates I place aren't worried about what I'm eating at any given point in time :) They want results - they want to know I can deliver. They want market intel and a trusted advisor relative to their careers. As a result, I use mediums to deliver that value . . . like Twitter, "This Week in the Blogs" emails, etc.

I appreciate your input and trust me that only you are the expert in your space! You are the master of your micro-niche! :)
Susan, awesome point. It's that healthy mix :) It's like saying:

1. Mr. & Mrs. Candidate, I understand the nature of our relationship is for me to assist you professionally, and I'm going to do that.
2. And I'm a human being just like you . . . so I want you to get to know me better given the nature of our professional relationship.

Great points and I'm a huge fan of your thoughts :)
Maren, interesting take. Like I suggested with Amie, only you know your particular micro-niche . . . so there is no class you can take, or any speaker you can hear, etc. that will lead you to the answers that will be the sliver bullet to improving your performance.

I understand that you work in the new biz dev area as opposed to recruiting, so I imagine there would be overwhelming value in developing a very, very deep personal relationship with clients that pay the bills. Let's be honest - in local markets, it's more fun and satisfying to do business with people you like.

For me personally, I don't have many clients - maybe 5 that work with me exclusively in North America. Most of my candidates are at the senior level . . . so in my micro-niche, I would not twitter out what a hot dog tastes like to people that are dug into a P&L statement and/or are traveling internationally. Tweeting something out that a Millenial would has the probability of reducing my professional perception in the mind of my personal candidate pool.

What is interesting is that as former marketers, you and I have different takes on things . . . as a result of whether we were B2B, B2C, the sector we operated within (tech, finance), etc. I was a B2B guy, so I'm sure my frame of reference is shaped because of that. Either way, you bring up good points that I appreciate - at the end of the day, only you know what works best for you.
Hey, wanted to quickly share a funny that is ENTIRELY RELEVANT to our discussion today! :) Check this out.

See, in my estimation, it's easier to have "Friends Like That" when you create overwhelming value for them professionally.

Twittering out how a fruit bowl tastes will lead you to one thing we these top-players: 'Click Here to Un-Follow'.
Josh - love the video clip! Good find. You might enjoy this quote from a recent U.K. college grad who found his job on twitter by connecting with the managing director of a PR agency. Love his thoughts on how he assesses the type of company he would want to join. Given the rise of social and trickling up through the "ages" we continue to see I think there is a lot behind Matthew's comment.

Maren - lots of great points and yes, the lines are blurring and there's a lot of good that will come from that. I think there is a difference to thinking about an approach for in-house recruiters who are also representing a company brand - like it or not, and creating a value proposition. If they prefer to only focus on their brand, or put the 80% on their brand, that's fine but then recruiting is most likely a separate dialogue - just my 2 cents fwiw. I guess the other way to look at it is if the end game is recruitment and getting someone to spend their time on the content being published it should create some value since time is a scarce resource.
Josh,

I had the same feeling that you did initially. I thought Twitter was a bit silly. I dove in, posted a few things, then back away.....until suddenly in one week I had two candidates comment on how they loved my Twitter posts, and both commented on the very first post I did there, something about sharing a sundae with my 91 year old grandfather. What was interesting about their comments was for them to get to that particular one they had to read all the way through and I think both came away feeling as though I was more approachable, not some judgemental recruiter. So, I started posting again, and I agree with Susan about the 80/20 rule. I follow people that I find interesting and I try to put information out there that I think others may find interesting, links to articles or posts, and information on new searches....and I admit, the occasional food tidbit (like yesterdays lobster salad recipe), because I am a foodie.

:) Pam
Susan, good information - this is great stuff. Let me be very honest that there is overwhelming value for corp recruitment to use social media to target Gen-Y (college grads, etc.) In fact, I think it's 100% necessary as nothing more than a point of parity with competition.

For me, my typical candidate is late 40s to early 60s' and very seasoned from a mgmt perspective. Some are U.S. born & raised, some are not (I'd say 60% of my candidates are 'American'). This may speak to why I have to mind my P's & Q's using Twitter more than if I was targeting Gen-Y. It may sound funny, but if I hit a Sr VP with a "eating a chicken wing" tweet on his cell while he's mulling over a P&L . . . it wouldn't go over great. :)

By the way, what ages include Gen-Y anyway? Why am I seeing people distinguishing between Gen-Y and Millenials? I'm 32 and always thought I was a mid Gen-Xer . . . listened to Pearl Jam when they first hit the scene, was a huge Nirvana fan . . . watched the fall of the Berlin Wall . . . remember the Challenger Disaster, etc.

Anyway, just looked up Gen-Y and it said born between 1980 and 1994. So if you were born in 1980, does that make you an early Gen-Y or late Gen-X?
Pam, good stuff - let me tell you what stuck out: You tweeted about sharing a sundae with your 91-yr old Grandfather.

That speaks of depth of character. Wow. Seriously, if I could do that, I'd tweet it out and tell the world, too. That's cool - frankly, that's cooler than cool. Now I really like you even more :)

A tweet like yours above is so far superior to one about something completely superficial that I don't know what else to say!
Is there a chicken wing thing I don't know about? Seriously, I haven't had the chance to catch the Animal show this week (or the last 2, for that matter!)

Anyway, my calzone, chicken wing, roller coaster examples were not meant to say someone actually tweeted them, so please let me apologize if anyone actually did. I was more referring to the nature of the tweet given our candidate audience (not clients, as that's a different game). Either way, I think I've stumbled on a hot topic by just suggesting that discretion be used from a professional standpoint :)

I always thought of my little sisters as Gen-Y, while I thought i was Gen-X . . . only because I really remember the Grunge era being associated with Gen-X. This might sound really crazy, but I remember Pearl Jam really hitting the scene hard where I lived (NJ, ironically) in 1991 . . . which was one of the first major artistic movements when I was a Freshman in High School. Then Nirvana hit the scene hard with Nevermind later that year - man, what a movement in music is all I can say (was it Hendrix or Zeplin? No, but it was better than the 80s garbage I had grew up to!) To go from listening to Rakim to Special Ed ("I'm the Magnificent") in '90 to the Grunge movement breaking out in '91 . . and then Cypress Hill hitting hard in '91 as well - those are my main memories of what we were listening to in high school. Good times . . . good times . . . I still remember hanging on the court (of all different races and cultures) trying to dunk as a Sophomore to Nirvana and Cypress Hill remixes :)

Wow, I'm old.

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