How to improve your Twitter sourcing

Once you’ve found the passive candidates you’re looking for on Twitter, don’t jump in too quickly and try to sell them your job, says social sourcing expert Kirsti Grant. Grant, who is head of talent at NZ software start-up Vend, told the NZ Sourcing Summit in Auckland yesterday that recruiters often joined Twitter, then found that getting started was hard.

“At first you’ll make every excuse under the sun to not send a tweet – you’ll delete about fifteen of them because you’ll worry that it will come out funny or people will take it the wrong way. The reality is you’ve just got to do it.”

Grant said the site’s capacity for finding passive candidates made the initial effort worth it, but once a recruiter had identified some skilled workers they were interested in connecting with, there were some simple steps that would help the interaction go well.

“The key is to be natural. If you jump on there and go, ‘Hey, I’ve got a job!’ – it’s not going to work. Also, you wouldn’t necessarily want to make that public.”

The way to engage with someone was to follow them, Grant said, and Twitter etiquette was generally that they would then follow back.

“Then just engage in normal conversation. If they post a link, respond to it – ‘That’s an interesting article’… Communicate about the content they’re sharing and show you’re interested in what they have to say.”

By building an initial relationship, she said, the recruiter then had a basis for making a private approach to the candidate about a job.

Grant said there were a few other guidelines for getting the most out of Twitter:

Don’t post too many job tweets – post useful links and information and take part in conversations instead.

When you do tweet a job, don’t link to a job board. “You’re not going to get the applications. Link to your careers site. If you don’t have a careers site, forget about Twitter for now and go and get a careers site!”

Use Twitter’s ‘lists’ function to keep track of people you’re interested in. “It helps you gain control. I follow over 3000 people on Twitter – I couldn’t possibly keep up with their content without lists. And the lists can be private.”