Sourcing Candidates with Twitter's Advanced Search

Twitter is, hands down, my favorite social network. It's a great source of information and learning, and a wonderful way  to connect with people who share similar interests. As a recruiter, it's also great for sourcing candidates. Despite the concise nature of the tool, there's a wealth of data to be found - if you know where and how to look.

Twitter's Advanced Search

Start with Twitter's advanced search.

Let's say you're searching for an email marketing manager in San Francisco who specializes in marketing automation - just type what you're looking for into the various fields to search both tweets and people that match those keywords (alternatively, I can just type marketing automation near:"San Francisco, CA" within:15mi into the search bar at the top).

These are the results I came up with:

These are all very interesting indeed.

  1. Josh Mack is a marketing professional in San Francisco. Upon further review of his Twitter page, there isn't a whole lot of information about what he does, but it looks like he works for Shutterfly. No problem, he comes up first in my search for him on Linkedin - and I can easily find that he's the CRM Manager at Shutterfly. He is responsible for managing "all lifecycle and automated CRM email marketing campaigns" - cha-ching! Sounds like a great candidate to reach out to.
  2. The second tweet belongs to Carly Guarcello. Again - not a ton of information about her professional background, but it's clear that she works for Achievers. A quick Linkedin search later, and we've found that she's in charge of marketing automation over there - boo-yah!
  3. And the third result could potentially be the best of them all! Mitch Patel is a self-proclaimed "modern marketer" at Eloqua, which happens to be a top of the line marketing automation vendor. His knowledge of marketing automation tools and best practices has got to be astronomical, plus I'd bet he knows a TON of marketing automation professionals. Goldmine!

Now, I do want to include a disclaimer here that I'm searching for marketing people, who are most likely to be on Twitter and Linkedin - which has contributed significantly to how easy this search was. You are not likely to have this kind of luck for every position you're looking to fill - and you should keep mental notes of which positions Twitter works well for, and when you should source elsewhere. OK, back to the article...

You've Found Great Candidates, Now What?

  1. Start by responding to the tweet you found from your search - and keep it short (140 characters!) and catchy. Something like, "Your enthusiasm for marketing automation is exactly what we need @YourCompanyName! Interested in a chat? We're tons of fun".
  2. Add each candidate to a Twitter list so you can easily keep track of who you're interested in, and keep up good engagement with them. Get their attention by retweeting, favoriting or replying to some of their other tweets.
  3. Follow up later in the week if you haven't heard back. Sometimes, candidates don't contact you back because they were busy and forgot, or your message slipped by them undetected - don't let a great prospective candidate slip away just because you didn't connect on your first try! At this point, it's recommended that you also try a different medium of engagement - perhaps a phone call or email, if you can find it - just make sure you reference your original message on Twitter.

Reaching out via Twitter works because most in-demand candidates aren't being bombarded on Twitter, like they are on Linkedin, and it's very quick and easy for them to respond. Although you can't include much information to sell your candidates on working for your company, you can easily provide a link with additional information and next steps.

Do you use Twitter for recruitment? Share your experiences and best practices below!

Views: 3519

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 1, 2013 at 12:15pm

Thanks, Jen,, Can you recommend something like a "Twitter for Recruiting Dummies", i.e,. abeginner's  guide for recruiters to learn how best to begin using Twitter effectively, particularly on the best way to get substantial numbers of followers quickly and easily?






P.S. Also sent this to Matt C.

Comment by Jen Dewar on November 15, 2013 at 11:14pm

Hey Keith - So sorry for the late reply, I kept meaning to find a webinar I did on this topic to send you! It's technically about Facebook AND Twitter, but you can fast forward to about halfway through to see some of my Twitter recommendations for recruiters:

In terms of increasing your following, I recently did a blog post on the topic: It's a slow process, but engaging with your target audience is the best way to get more followers. Also make sure that you're posting relevant and interesting content - posting only jobs will turn candidates off (all jobs aren't relevant to all people), but posting job seeker and career advice will help you grow your following.

Good luck!

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on November 18, 2013 at 1:52pm

Thanks, Jen. This is Just what I was looking for. Much appreciated.



Comment by Jen Dewar on November 19, 2013 at 7:19pm

Glad to hear it!

Comment by Robye Nothnagel on February 14, 2014 at 2:27pm

This post must have been retweeted since the dates are in November.  I like the concept....but are people annoyed when you send a tweet that everyone can see about a new job on Twitter?  or do you send them privately? and if you send them privately how do you do that?




Comment by Jen Dewar on February 18, 2014 at 11:19pm

Hi Robye - you have two options for reaching out to candidates on Twitter:

  1. @mention: When you start a tweet with @TwitterHandle, the only people that will see it in their feeds are those that follow you and the person you're tweeting at. People can also see it on your profile, or if they run a search for the person you @mentioned. This can be annoying to the candidate if they don't want to publicly acknowledge that they're interested in a new job. So, you should also follow them on Twitter so they can reply privately, via DM.
  2. You can send a private message via DM, but you must both follow each other for this to work. So, you can start of your conversation by saying "@TwitterHandle, I have something to run by you. Please DM for details." Then, make sure you follow them, so they can DM you.

Of course, you can also just source their email address by another means (many people will list their LinkedIn profile in their Twitter profile).

I hope that helps!

Comment by Glen Cathey on April 28, 2014 at 12:55pm

That "Twitter Recruiting for Dummies" can be found here:


Comment by Jen Dewar on May 16, 2014 at 4:45pm

Great post, Glen, thanks for sharing!


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