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: 1990

Comment by David Palmer on September 20, 2011 at 11:52am

@Amy Not sure of the point you're trying to make but it suggests you're not smarter than you look.

@Jerry "I've made hundreds of placements" Albright: sounds like the ramblings of the self-important curmudgeon. Incomprehensible...what's your point? You should hook up with Amy.
Comment by Jerry Albright on September 20, 2011 at 12:18pm

Uh, sorry David.  Perhaps you're not familiar with my body of work.  I'm the guy who sees things for what they are.   So a dude in the UK placed some people off Twitter.  Woot!  Alert the media.  This changes everything.  Let's all swoon in unison.......


Note:  As I was typing "hundreds of placements" I almost thought to scratch that and state "thousands of placements" (which is closer to the truth) but I didn't want to come on too heavy.

Comment by Steve Ward on September 20, 2011 at 12:19pm

Great case study from Bill - and a cracking example of how twitter can be used for recruitment. 

I don't care how people think twitter `should` & `shouldn't` be used. It's a public communications channel, and through excellent sourcing techniques, listening, interacting, and being visible, Ivan has made a success of the platform. 

I am one of those who has ditched virtually everything I used to practice in client winning, to replace it with Twitter & LinkedIn communications. Over the last 2 years I would attribute 90% of clients won and 70% of candidates I have placed to Twitter almost in isolation. 

Not everyone in every industry is going to achieve the same ratios - but the smart ones will be checking out their industry online influencers there NOW, before the sceptics tuck in on the scraps when it's all too busy later... 


Great shout from Louis on Hootsuite. Tweetdeck, in my opinion is even better - but each to their own. ;) 


Comment by lisa rokusek on September 20, 2011 at 12:32pm
Damn, people are cranky today.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 20, 2011 at 12:41pm

@Lisa- whew thought it was just me


@Steve- use both but also prefer Tweetdeck

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 20, 2011 at 12:56pm

this is exactly why I shouldn't check RBC from my phone during staff meetings... I just got a good laugh over David's comment.


Not sure I could keep up with Jerry.  I've only made hundreds of placements.  :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on September 20, 2011 at 12:57pm

@David sometimes i wonder about your filter.  If connecting with people through any medium is nothing but clever manipulation then all means of connection and networking is nothing but sleazy manipulation.  What would you have recruiters do, put an ad in the yellow pages and wait for the phone to ring?  Post and pray?

Never go to a networking event because they would be there with some ulterior motive to meet someone who might be a business contact.  I see no difference between using twitter (if it works for you) in the manner this guy did and a recruiter contacting people on Linkedin.  Twitter is not my cup of tea at this point to devote otherwise productive time to hours of following people but i do some of it when time is available.  My concern about these wildly successful stories is that i see many fairly new recrutiers buying into "social media is the end all to be all".  I liken that to some of the newbies i have hired in the past thinking that all they have to do is call every fortune 500 company in the country and they will then be a national presence.  I have seem more recruiters die on the vine because they were looking for the silver bullet to be a big swinging who ha while the successful ones were placing people.

My take is that if any channel is working for you by all means do it.  I have evolved from 5X7 cards in a file box, print ads and a phone through computers, job boards etc.etc.  always adding pieces and parts of each new wrinkle that came down the pike.


I wish Linkedin, twitter and facebook would do an index of users by profession like the yellow pages.  It would sure speed up the process without all the searching and following and lurking.  But perhaps the fun of social media is that it is like an Easter Egg hunt.  If there is such a thing and i have missed it would somebody please point me to the yellow pages of social media so it doesn't take so damn long.

Comment by Bill Boorman on September 20, 2011 at 1:04pm
It's not only Jerry, it's as well as.Doing what works for you, and not discounting anything till you have reason to. You can source candidates from anywhere, when you work the place out
Comment by Bill Boorman on September 20, 2011 at 1:05pm


Letme get you a licence for "The Social CV", then we can find out who the Dr's are on twitter

Comment by Tim Spagnola on September 20, 2011 at 1:09pm
Thanks Bill- also for the reminder that I need to speak with Bill about TweetJobSearch.


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