How to Attract Talent on Twitter with Your Employer Brand

By Richard Mosley

Building an engaged network on Twitter can have a huge positive impact on your employer brand’s recruiting efforts, particularly if you’re recruiting in fields such as knowledge workers, who tend to flock to Twitter. It’s an open platform, meaning anyone can see any content without necessarily following the account, so tweets have the potential of reaching a wider audience.

If you don’t know the difference between a hashtag and a price tag, you may want to check out Twitter For Dummies, 3rd Edition, by Laura Fitton, Anum Hussain, and Brittany Leaning (Wiley).

Picking up strategies by observing others

Before you venture into any unfamiliar social gathering, whether online or not, hang out for a while and observe how others in the community interact. When you’re setting out to establish an employer brand presence on Twitter, observe other Twitter accounts that have strong positive employer brands and take note of the content they tweet, the tone or voice, and how they interact with potential candidates.

You can find plenty of role models on Twitter; here are examples of a few good corporate accounts you may want to follow: @NPRjobs, @JoinTheFlock, @PepsiCoJobs, @MicrosoftJobs, @ViacomCareers, @InsideZappo, and @HootsuiteLife.

Try following your peers and competitors on Twitter to find out what they’re doing to compete for talent. Check out the collection of more than 250 brand recruiting handles on Twitter.

Using hashtags to source candidates for your employer brand

Most employer branding efforts are designed around pull marketing (attracting prospects), but sourcing is a push marketing technique that involves proactively recruiting individuals with high-value skills and expertise. The focus here is on building a strong employer brand, but Twitter is also a good platform for recruiters and organizations to identify and engage with prospects who may not even be in the market for a new job.

When posting job notices on Twitter, include function- or job-specific hashtags in your tweets (for example, #digitalmarketing, #PR, #webdesign, or #accounting). You can find function- or skill-specific hashtags by searching the web for “job seeker hashtags.”

Tread carefully when using hashtags. If you’re oversharing jobs with event hashtags, you’ll likely face blowback for spamming.

You can also use Twitter to source candidates by keeping an eye on hashtags relevant to positions you’re trying to fill. For example, if you’re recruiting Drupal developers, keep an eye on the hashtags: #Drupal, #DrupalCon, #Drupal8, and so on to see what these communities are talking about and to identify influential developers. If you’re recruiting marketing managers, keep an eye on #marketing, #digitalmarketing, #marketingresearch, #mktg, and so on.

Plenty of tools are available to help you identify influencers within various hashtag communities. Here are a few to check out:

Sourcing local talent? These tools and others enable you to search for people talking about relevant topics within a certain mile radius of your company.

Engaging prospects for your employer brand

When you’re posting tweets, which are essentially very brief, overlooking the necessity of offering followers something of real value is far too easy. Keep the focus on delivering valuable content. Share behind-the-scenes photos or videos to help prospects get a sense of what it’s like to work for your company. Share articles and resources about your industry. Join Twitter chats and share your insights and expertise. Interact with your followers. Try to respond to every @mention and question. Engagement and interaction are vital for building community.

Getting your employees involved with your employer brand

To fully harness the power of Twitter, get employees involved. Candidates don’t want to hear only from employer brand managers; they want to hear from peers doing the work they (prospects) may be doing for your company in the near future. They want to talk shop with the people who may someday be their colleagues.

Great talent can recognize similar talent. Consider developing internal programs that encourage employees to share their knowledge and expertise in online communities where you recruit. By increasing their visibility in certain professional circles and establishing themselves as experts in those communities, your employees can expand their own professional networks while helping you identify and attract talented prospects.

Prospects want to hear from your employees. That product manager you’ve been wooing wants to see tweets from your product team that will help them get a feel for the work, team atmosphere, culture, and so on. You may share supremely clever and compelling content on Twitter, but you’re still an HR guy or gal. You have an agenda to bring talent into your organization, so of course your posts are biased.

Gauging your employer brand’s Twitter impact

You can use any of several available tools to measure the reach, retweets, impressions, and so on related to your tweeting activity. You should also be measuring applications and hires coming from Twitter through your applicant tracking software (ATS). Use these tools to adjust your campaigns regularly.

You may be tempted to obsess over your number of followers. Don’t let that be your primary indicator as to whether your account is successful. If you focus on providing valuable content and engaging your community, followers will come. Focus on this and you’ll have something better than followers; you’ll have brand advocates who bring you the best talent available.