The value of social media for recruitment has become increasingly clear over the years and although LinkedIn is still the front runner for professional networking, Twitter and Facebook are hot on its heels, proving themselves handy tools for hiring talent.
Twitter in particular has seen an increase in the number of people using the platform for job search and recruiting and as a result, a number of Fortune 500 companies, such as AT&T and Disney have created separate accounts specifically for recruitment purposes (@attJOBS, @TWDCjobs).
The number of adults using Twitter has grown rapidly over the past couple of years, more so than on Facebook and LinkedIn and the good news for recruiters is that the highest growth is among college graduates, urbanites and those with an annual income over $50,000, suitable for filling both entry-level and more senior roles.
Recruiting software buyer resource Software Advice carried out a study that looked at nearly 50 of these handles, to see how Fortune 500 companies are using Twitter for recruiting. They paired their findings with a survey of current job seekers, to find out the most effective ways to engage talent on social media.
Do Twitter users use the platform for job search?
Twitter is an ideal platform for job search and professional networking, and results from the survey found that 58% of respondents have used Twitter for job-seeking purposes in the last six months.
Not only is Twitter useful for seeking job opportunities from companies and recruitment agencies sharing their current vacancies with their networks, but it also allows individuals to check out a company of interest ahead of applying for a job with them. Respondents were asked how they use Twitter for their job search and 76% said that they look at company profiles, while 55 % follow companies they want to work for. For this reason, it is important for companies to be aware of how they are representing themselves online and invest time into building a positive brand image on social media, in order to attract the best candidates.
A rising number of companies have made the decision to create a stand alone Twitter handle for recruitment purposes, in response to the growing number of Twitter users logging in to check out job openings. In some cases, it may not make sense to start a new Twitter handle, as it is possible for them to recruit through their primary accounts. Factors such as whether or not your companies’ customers are also potential employees can determine whether it is worth separating recruitment tweets from the rest of your content in order to reach the correct audience.
Overall, 174 of the 500 companies on Fortune’s list (35 %) have an active company-level Twitter account dedicated to recruiting.
How effectively are companies using Twitter for recruiting?
Participants in the survey were quizzed on how effectively they think companies are using Twitter for recruiting. The majority were of the opinion that social recruitment efforts were successful, however a combined 35% of respondents who use Twitter for job search purposes said that companies are “somewhat” or “extremely ineffective” at promoting themselves as employers.
Results suggest that companies are particularly good at marketing their organisation, with 65% rating their performance as effective; whereas it would appear that posting frequent job openings is an area for improvement, with 47% rating it as ineffective.
It is important for companies to market their positive company culture in order to attract talent, however if they do not place focus on sharing their current job vacancies on a regular basis they are likely to lose potential applicants.
Another factor that Twitter users look for when using social media in their job hunt is the communication aspect. Opinion was quite split on this topic, with 57% saying that communication with job seekers was effective, while 43% think that it is ineffective. People like to be able to interact with a real person, so this is a key way of engaging with potential employees.
Social media management platforms (e.g. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc.) make it really simple for companies to reply to Twitter users and also to track relevant words or phrases in tweets, meaning they can easily search for and connect with users who are tweeting about looking for a job in the sector.
Individual recruiters can also use Twitter to build a personal brand and create a following for themselves, through sharing content, job openings and communicating with other users.
What do Fortune 500 companies tweet about?
One of the key objectives of the study was to identify how Fortune 500 companies use Twitter and what they tweet about.
Software Advice looked a sample of tweets from some Fortune 500 recruitment specific Twitter accounts. They found that the largest percentage of tweets were made up of job openings, however they also frequently tweet about specific employees and company events,
Tweeting about members of staff is a great way to personalise your brand and give prospective employees an insight into what it’s like to work for the organisation. Showing the human side of your brand is really effective for making yourself relatable and approachable and AT&T do this through use of their #LifeatATT where employees share their work experiences.
A lot of the companies also frequently tweet as a means of sharing information and updates about company events, as well as for live-tweeting company events that prospective job candidates might be interested in.
How do Fortune 500 companies use hashtags?
One of Twitters most useful features for expanding reach and engagement is the hashtag and it would appear that Fortune 500 haven’t missed a trick here , as 78% of the sample tweets have a hashtag in, 46% of which were brand specific (e.g. #GEjobs).
Creating a brand hashtag is great for collating brand content and building a community around.
Although only 34% of job seekers say they use Twitter to search for job-related hashtags, it is still good practice for companies to include them in their tweets to expand their reach beyond direct followers. Using generic hashtags (e.g. #marketingjobs) means that your content will be discovered by users searching for that term or phrase, or alternatively you can get involved in trending topics that will be viewed by a large number of users.
Twitter can be a really effective tool for both recruiting and job search if gone about in the right way.
Results from the survey found that a lot of people now turn to Twitter during their job hunt, however they feel that there is room for improvement in terms of how companies use the platform for recruiting.
It is important for organisations to promote themselves as employers on social media, be it within their primary account or separate recruitment handle. They can do this by clearly stating what type of company they are, what jobs are available and the kind of people they want to hire. They also need to market themselves as a great place to work, which is where personalising the brand with employees experiences of the company and behind the scenes insights of the company culture can help.
Sharing interesting content and events is also an effective way to keep followers of the company engaged. Hashtags are a great way of expanding the reach of this content and will broaden the brand’s audience.
By taking into consideration these points, Twitter can become an extremely effective platform for engaging talent.