Talent Acquisition

Using Twitter to Recruit: Direct Messages for All

Are you one of the people using the 11th most surfed site in the world? Are you using it to recruit? How do you find the speed, volume of content and noise of the community? How accessible has it made you?

Are you an average user spending 9:28 minutes per day on it, looking at, on average, 6 pages per session? Were you one of those happy recruiters who in 2011 started to notice that people were applying to 3 x more of the roles you advertised on Twitter than LinkedIn? (For reference, LinkedIners spend less time on LinkedIn – 7:40mins – but look at more (8.64) pages – speedily connecting with recruiters before getting spotted by their bosses?)

29.1% of US citizens use it and 4.7% of UK residents use it (more stats on this can be found at

Twitter, bless it, has changed shape and scope since being born – its history is pretty compelling (and short!):

Twitter Sceptics:

But still the recruitment world is a little sceptical about how Twitter can be used for recruitment – I rarely come across a recruiter with a tangible goal for Twitter. But in the very least Twitter can:

And now Twitter has made my job of getting recruiters giddy about Twitter a little easier: DIRECT MESSAGES FOR ALL!  (see the new option in your Settings).

Now this could be a bit of a poisoned chalice.  The idea of a DM (a direct message) on Twitter was to give users private messaging capability. For a while you could only send DMs to someone if you were both following each other. Then Twitter updated to allow people to DM you if you were following them, and now you can setup your profile to receive DMs from anyone!

From a recruitment perspective:

Now that you can receive messages from people even if they are not following you, the massive benefit to clients and candidates is that they can reach out to you under the radar – totally invisible to their own network – which is pretty crucial if you are a recruiter of permanent staff (or a recruiter wanting to do your own internal recruitment?)

So some things to check off:

  1. Get your profile ready to be found – I still find recruiters with either no URL to give me more info on them, or worse, one that doesn’t work!
  2. Get some key words in your bio that help talent and clients find you.
  3. Candidates and clients will want to reach out to recruiters in a zone they are comfortable in – 600 million users feel comfortable in Twitter (as opposed to 238million in LinkedIn) so widen you opportunity to get found and have a private chat with your ideal network.
  4. Think about having the same photo on your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles – personal branding is really important (or at least make yourself recognisable in both photos).
  5. If you have an Internal Recruitment Strategy and are using social media, make it evident on your social profiles that you accept DMs from great recruiters who want to chat.
  6. Clearly get ready for spam… this will, of course, be an outcome!

What do you think about this new setting?  How can you capitalise on it?

Yes, Twitter is not the silver bullet that recruiters’ hunger for (so many systems so little time) but this new feature could help you become more approachable and give you a channel to speed up your comments – welcome indeed!

By Lisa Jones

Lisa Jones is a Director at Barclay Jones, a Consultancy working with recruiters advising them on the most effective use of technology, web and social media to improve their business processes, recruitment and bottom line. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaMariJones.