How one recruiter sourced 27 I.T. professionals from Twitter

This is an old post from my blog "The Recruiting Unblog.", but as there have been a few posts recently on the topic of Twitter and Recruiters, I thought it was worth sharing. David Palmer asks"Does twitter do anything for recruiters?. This is how one recruiter figured out how to source from Twitter, and got great results. Be glad to hear of other success story's, and no doubt the nay sayers.

Whilst in Dublin, I heard a great story, how technology expert Ivan Stojanovicof Irish recruiting firm C.P.L. The headline of the story was how he had recruited 27 specialist I.T. staff via twitter. Thats right, 27!
The issues that he had in sourcing these people, and why he chose twitter really as a last resort was that the people he was looking for don’t have c.v’s or resumes. They are not looking for fulltime jobs as a rule, most choosing to ply their very specialist skills in contract roles. Being in demand and quite rare, broadcasting links and posting ads didn’t work. 
The approach Ivan took was brilliantly simple.A search of twitter bios and the usual twitter directories revealed nothing. The skills and experience needed just wasn’t listed. he set up a few non-branded twitter accounts and searched for keywords in real-time search in twitter, setting alerts based on the kind of words related to programmes or projects they might be talking about. This returned a number of repeating profiles whose tweets showed they could be of interest.
Ivan followed these targets and began engaging around technical topics, increasing connections and profiles. Techies tend to hang out with other techies in any community.
Once Ivan had built a relationship and qualified his connections fully, he approached them about the opportunities. This proved to be very effective, resulting in a total of 27 hires over a 12 month period, with all connections originating from twitter. Forget apps and all the other good twitter stuff, this came down to using twitter search, listening first, connecting, engaging and building a circle of contacts in the channel. I don’t know the salaries involved, but they were top end. It would be reasonable to estimate an average fee of £10k, offering a return over 12 months in the region of £270k!
It takes time,some specialist technical knowledge in order to engage, and patience to find the right time to make an approach. The return makes it well worth the effort! Anyone want to question the R.O.I?

Views: 1942

Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 19, 2011 at 1:59pm

If everything is not evolving it is revolving which means going in an ever decreasing concentric circle until it disappears up it's own anal orifice like the dodo bird.  However those who spend too much time evolving too soon leave a lot of business on the table while they are evolving so they may evolve themselves right out of business.


A happy medium is not a smiling fortune teller.

Comment by David Palmer on September 19, 2011 at 2:13pm

@Danya Yep great outcome allaround but by clever manipulation not intended purpose.

@lisa  Are most recruiters evolving? I hope so but not sure. We may be on the cusp of a defining period in recruitment and I believe maybe only the fittest 50% will survive.

Comment by lisa rokusek on September 19, 2011 at 2:21pm

I can only speak for myself.  

Change is the one constant in my life and in my business.  I must embrace the new but always with an eye toward success - on my desk that means billing.  I have very little time to screw around on things that don't reap closed deals.  But I do keep one eye on the horizon of what is coming next - if I don't I'll be left behind.  

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 19, 2011 at 3:49pm
never thought of recruiting as "clever manipulation".  I should start giving myself more credit.  I'm clearly smarter than I appear.... with all the manipulating I've done over the years in such a clever fashion.
Comment by Jon Terry on September 19, 2011 at 4:06pm

It is a good story and clearly the results prove that twitter worked for him. But would he have had this sort of success if he was trying to recruit interim Financial Controllers or 12 Hungarian Speaking Violin makers? Or would he have found that those sort of candidates didn't play on Twitter? I guess we may never know. The "trick" to recruitment is surely to be able to source suitable candidates. Just using Twitter may make you a one trick pony.

Comment by Bill Boorman on September 20, 2011 at 2:10am

I've been travelling to Ohio, sorry for not replying sooner. I love this story because in this case, it worked. I think you can find a section of most trades on twitter based on their key words. the key is knowing and searching for the words or phrases likely to be unique to these candidates, and searching on that.

David, I don't think you should drop everything for social media, twitter, facebook or anything else. You need a bit of everything in the mix. If I was Sandra, and had a method that works consistently, year in year out, 7 placements a month, I wouldn't change anything. You do what works for you.

Jon, there are plenty of Financial Controllers on twitter, they are just harder to find from their bios. If thats what you recruit, check the number who list twitter on their LinkedIn profile. (The twitter app in LinkedIn allows you to easily identify who you are connected with on LI, but not following on twitter.

The key is to source suitable candidates, you are right. That's why I wouldn't close off any channel until I've properly explored it.

@Sandra, I agree that evolution doesn't mean replacing what pays, just extending it to see if you can reduce cost or make more. At the same time, you need to keep your eye on what is paying


Comment by Ivan Stojanovic on September 20, 2011 at 7:26am

I do look kind of dull in that picture above... :) 

BTW thanks all for sharing your views of it. Trojan Horse comparison is the one I liked most!




Comment by C. B. Stalling!! on September 20, 2011 at 9:45am
Twitter is just a tool works for some...
Comment by Jerry Albright on September 20, 2011 at 10:10am

Nice story Bill. 


But shouldn't we (in order to outlive our competitors) find and cultivate the approaches that work BETTER than the ones we use today?  Sure - this guy places some people from Twitter.  Great.  You've got your example there.  But what about the guys who haven't been sucked into all this BS to begin with - still silently kicking our asses - and we don't even know their names?


Could I make some placements from Twitter if I dedicated my world to that end?  Sure could.  But then again I could commit myself to only placing people I meet at Starbucks too......or by posting handbills on street corners where passers by might be inclined to look.


I've made hundreds of placements.  Every one of them was unique and I've loved them all.


Good luck to those hell bent on proving it can be done.  #Godspeed

Comment by Louis Welcomme on September 20, 2011 at 11:31am

Thanks for highlighting this Bill.

This demonstrates how Twitter can be used effectively - within recruitment and elsewhere. Engage, share and learn with these online communities and monitor keywords effectively.


Can I suggest people take a look at HootSuite (I don't work for them!) - it allows you to monitor several streams of keywords all on the same page, as well as monitoring multiple streams of lists. You can also post to multiple social media sites - although I tend to shape my posts to the social media sites individually.  This would be far easier than setting up multiple twitter accounts and doing regular multiple keyword searches and it can be left running in the background. By the way its free.


All the best,





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