The Sourcer’s Apprentice – A Lesson in Twitter

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Mar 3, 2011

August 5, 2010 – the date that I created my Twitter account due to the encouragement of my co-workers saying that it would be a valuable tool.

My initial look at Twitter created a few questions and concerns; yes LinkedIn I knew, and Facebook I loved and have had since college (2005 to be exact) … but Twitter? My only experience had been hearing about it from the battle Ashton Kutcher was having with CNN and thinking, “How is this going to help me source?” 

So, my questions became:

  1. Who will follow me on Twitter? I am not that interesting — am I?
  2. How much time will it take to be Twittering? Is “Twittering” even the right word?
  3. LinkedIn #1, Facebook can become #2, but Twitter — where is that going to fall in my sourcing?

With my challenge identified, I started to do what I do best — search and source until I could find the answers that I was looking for. I started out by searching and identifying the leaders in our recruiting world and how they had been able to utilize Twitter to grow their database, network, knowledge, and followers. My usage of Twitter, however, was relatively lackluster and it seemed to be pushed to the side for other social media tools that I had in my toolbox for sourcing.

Then in November of last year at ApacheCon, my Twitter experience changed forever! While at the convention surrounded by developers/programmers and all of the potential candidates that I look for on a daily basis, I realized something; THEY use Twitter — Twitter was their LinkedIn. My tweets started to increase while at the conference, I started conversations with people to find/connect with them, and I started to grow followers and the number of people that I was following myself. I left the conference and was ready to pluck Twitter from the land of misfit tools and place it in my arsenal… but before that I needed to help identify and answer my first initial questions that I had from back in August.

My lesson highlights:

  1. Twitter enables you to network with a wider range of users. For example, one of the attendees of ApacheCon connected with me on Twitter as a form of a business card and sent a “Hi” tweet. After that tweet was sent – his followers saw and decided to follow and introduce themselves to me as well.
  2. I reviewed the most basic components of Twitter and tweeting.
  3. I created a “who’s who” list of individuals I wanted to start following. Personal contacts, industry experts, other recruiters, relevant companies, social media experts, and of course social recruiting people. In addition, I took the advice of my co-worker on the 1:1 ratio as a guideline to make sure that I did not get out of hand on my following numbers. (The 1:1 ratio of followers means that your number of followers and the number of those whom you are following are evenly matched. In contrast, if you have twenty followers and you are following ten people, your ratio is 2:1. New users to Twitter typically have the reverse – ten followers and following twenty – 1:2.)
  4. I reviewed other industry leaders and decided what I wanted to tweet about. I wanted to have a balanced mixture of personal, professional, photos, links, and goofy posts to provide knowledge and most of all entertainment.

The people who are flourishing on Twitter understand all of the above (in different ways) and utilize them for their own unique use of Twitter. They share information, they engage with people, they share funny moments, and they understand what a powerful platform it can be.

So if you have listened to the hype and negative press regarding Twitter, think again. Twitter is a great way of reaching out and engaging with people organically, and it has the potential to become valuable to you at some stage, now or in the future. Just remember that Rome was not built in a day and that it takes time … be active and be vocal … they will come!

The Sourcer’s Apprentice series is a personal look into the life of a new sourcer’s ups and downs in conjuring the best tricks to help discover those hard to find “perfect” candidates. Each article will contain the lessons that I (the sourcer’s apprentice) experience while learning from the masters and developing my own spells to work on becoming a master myself one day — one lesson at a time!

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