In Part 1, we talked about how to find people on Twitter. In Part 2, we talked about how to market yourself, your employer and your vacancies. Now, it’s time to pull the trigger and engage one-on-one with tech pros via Twitter.
How to Recruit Tech Pros on Twitter —
Part 3: Engage
So many recruiters just rely on their job postings to deliver results. But that’s where they fall short. In order to be successful, you need to step up and do what should come naturally — it’s time to sell.
But just what is selling? Many recruiters hate being tarred with the “salesperson” brush, but in my opinion, they are judging the fine art of persuasion in the wrong context.
Author and speaker, Dan Pink, defines sales as the “ability to move others” — there’s a key distinction there from what many consider sales to be.
In recruitment, we are constantly seeking to move others. The best of us do this by understanding the needs of both hiring managers and potential candidates — and aligning the two.
A person’s online profile might show you a potential skills match, but the only way that you’re going to figure out if your opportunity is the right match for them — right now — is to talk to them. Great recruiters spend less time online and more time talking with the right candidates.
Before you engage a potential candidate for the first time on Twitter, you should ask yourself, “What is my objective here?”
If your answer is to get that person to apply for your job or send you their resume, you’re only setting yourself up to fail. It is impossible to truly assess someone’s interest and suitability in one exchange — it is more likely to take four or five.
The objective of your first contact is to start a conversation.
That’s it. It’s a really simple goal but essential to understand before you try and reach out to anyone on Twitter (or anywhere else, for that matter).
Once you understand your goal, it’s much easier to adjust your language, tone and style to focus on a truly successful outcome — a response! Yes, your goal is simply to get a response, any response. These days, candidates are overwhelmed with unsolicited approaches from recruiters and most simply ignore them. Getting a reply should be your objective. So, start thinking about what would get someone to reply — and not reply.
Messaging on Twitter requires both a technical knowledge of the platform itself and the ability to be super concise.
First, what you need to know about the technical side of Twitter:
A) You can tweet absolutely anyone you want — even a superstar celebrity or CEO of a Fortune 50 company. All you need to do is begin your message with their username, which is the @ symbol followed by their “handle” with no spaces. For me, it’s @socialtalent. To talk to the guys at Dice, it’s @employersondice.
B) All tweets are public. There is a private messaging system on Twitter called a Direct Message or DM, but the person you are messaging either has to be following you or have changed their settings to allow DMs from anyone. (Very few have done this, but you can DM me even if I don’t follow you.)
C) You can publicly tweet someone without alerting your entire network by making sure that your tweet begins with the person’s username — it has to the very first thing in your tweet. No spaces or dots. Absolutely no other characters — just the person’s username followed by the rest of your message. If you have anything else in front of the username, your tweet will appear in the update feed of everyone who follows you. (Note if you begin your tweet with the person’s username, it will appear in your followers’ feeds if they also follow the person you are tweeting, which is highly unlikely.) The tweet can still be found if someone visits your profile page and looks at your recent tweets — but who does that?
So, now that you’ve begun your tweet with the person’s username, it’s likely that you are down to 130 characters or less to get their attention.
Second, here are eight quick tips to persuade them to reply:
A) Get personal. Candidates around the world complain that recruiters do not personalize their approaches. So, be sure to read your candidate’s bio, research them elsewhere, and check out their tweets to see what makes them tick!
If you were to bump into this person in “real life” and they were wearing the sports jersey of the team you support, you’d mention it, wouldn’t you? It’s exactly the same on Twitter. This person’s data is public and therein lies the opportunity for you to find an “uncommon commonality” — something that you have in common with them and can hang your conversation on.
What TV programs are they watching? Have they been on a trip recently? What articles are they reading/sharing/commenting upon? Make it short and snappy, but personal. That’s your opening line.
B) Think about the candidate’s best interest first. What’s in it for them? Why have you singled them out? Give them a compelling reason to want to hear more. Focus your language on “you, your and yours.” Not “we, I or us.” Don’t say, “I need an x.” Try, “Ur knowledge of x could make u an awesome candidate for…” Yes, you can abbreviate words. You’ve got less than 140 characters to work with and this is not a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Be concise and use appropriate shortcuts when necessary.
C) Close with a call to action. Ask a question that is easy for the person to say yes to. “When would u b free to talk?” is actually a cognitively complex question to ask. The candidate will need to refer to their calendar, think about an appropriate time and suggest it back to you. This takes too much effort. The question “Would u b free to talk tonight?” is much easier to answer.
D) Use emoticons if you have space. I don’t care if you hate them — they’re a good icebreaker and help prevent the candidate from seeing you as a schmoozy salesperson. Go on, it’s not going to kill you! 😉
E) Don’t tweet two or more candidates in a row about a job. Your tweets are public and your candidate is not going to feel very special if you’re tweeting every Ruby Developer in town. Less is more. This your “Jerry Maguire” moment — you’re thinking of the candidate’s best interest — so gather your goldfish and be selective.
F) Keep their interest. Every time you tweet a potential candidate, be sure to mix it up by tweeting a couple of non-related tweets — such as industry news or something personal. It will really help break up the selling pattern.
G) Pin a tweet to the top of your profile tweets. This way, you can make sure one of your older, more flattering and representative tweets is what they see first!
H) Pin the job spec you’re working on from Dice. They’ve recently launched #Dice141 – a cool Twitter job card that contain all the details from your job posting in an image that is created as soon as you paste the web-link. The prospective candidate can just click to apply or view the posting straight from the tweet. It’s an awesome tool and one of the first of its kind.
That’s it! You’re now ready to recruit like a pro on Twitter. My advice is to start small. Find one person — just one person — to tweet. Then, see what happens. I guarantee you’ll get a positive outcome. The person may not want to be considered for this particularly job, but you’ve made a connection — you’re networking and building a pipeline for future roles and referrals. Hone your short game and your long game. You have to be great at both.
When it works, send me a tweet at @socialtalent to let me know. I’ll be listening!
Happy hunting, guys.