Jul 3, 2012

It’s human nature to always be searching for the latest and greatest. New job boards, search engines, mobile applications and social media sites are appearing at an accelerating rate. While the latest and greatest might be the most enticing to use for sourcing candidate information, sometimes what we already have, and know, might be more beneficial.

It’s hard to think of Twitter as an “old school” social media site. It’s been around since 2006, and currently has the third largest database of profiles (behind Facebook and QZone). Twitter is indeed popular, however it is one of the most underused sites to source candidate information.

In the 2012 Social Activity Report, Bullhorn Reach released these interesting statistics on how recruiters are actively using Twitter:

  • Recruiters use Twitter more often than Facebook for social recruiting. Despite the fact that recruiters have fewer connections on Twitter, 19% of recruiters are connected to both LinkedIn and Twitter while 10% are connected to both LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Recruiters add more Twitter followers to their network per week than Facebook and will grow their Twitter networks much faster than their networks on Facebook.
  • Twitter drives almost twice as many job views per job as Facebook and three times more applications per job.
  • A Twitter follower is almost 3 times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection and 8 times more likely to apply than a Facebook friend.
  • Recruiters receive almost 3 times more applications per contact from Twitter than from LinkedIn and 8 times more than Facebook.
    • Agency recruiters receive 11 times more Twitter applications and 3 times more LinkedIn applications than corporate recruiters using the same channels.
    • The typical recruiter having 616 LinkedIn connections, 245 Facebook friends and 37 Twitter followers.
    • 75% of recruiters have 100 or less Twitter followers.
    • Less than 1% of recruiters only use Twitter over LinkedIn and Facebook.

Numbers like this are tough to ignore. Sourcing on Twitter goes beyond posting and praying. Sourcers don’t even need an account to source profiles on Twitter. A typical Twitter user will use their biography section to list their full name, location, profession and even company that they work for. Twitter also enables its users to connect one other site to its biography section, usually linking the user to another social media site, or their own personal site.

Finding and contacting profiles on Twitter is also an easy task. You don’t need to be a Boolean master to be able to retrieve this information. Below are some easy suggestions that will quickly produce profiles to fill your positions:


Targeting organizations is a great way to locate passive talent. However, not every organization will produce their entire list of members. Today, most organizations will have a social media presence. An easy way to target members of an organization is simply to look at its list of Twitter followers. A link to an organizations Twitter page is usually located right on its homepage. Recruiters can easily click on the followers to view the members that follow the organization. This is a great technique that will produce immediate profiles. Not every user on profile reveals their professional information in their bio. However it can be implied that followers of this organization are related to the accounting industry.


Once you find a profile, you can easily click on the lists section to see how they have been listed on the site. Since, “birds of a feather flock together,” most people are listed by their profession. Listing other profiles on Twitter is a quick way to access tweets and profiles of users that matter most to the list creator.

Similar To

The similar to section is where Twitter sources for you. This is comprised of profiles in which Twitter feels that users are most interested in following. Once users identify a profile, this is a great section to garner similar profiles to a candidate. An account does need to be created to show this feature.

  • Twellow is a site that allows users to search Twitter profiles by industry related categories.


The greatest assets of a recruiter, is its network. However, an even larger asset is their candidate’s network. Candidates will connect themselves to other candidates in their profession. A recruiter should check to see who candidates follow and who follows their candidate.

Bonus: Control F

In a PC, a quick way to locate a term or phrase on a page is to press control F. The same shortcut can be applied to locate terms or phrases in bios of Twitter users.

Competitors & Your Own Company

Users are also most likely to follow their own company and companies they are interested in. Make sure to also check the followers section of your own company and any related competitors for Twitter profiles matching your open requisition.

  • WeFollow and Tweepz are easy sites to help find profiles for individuals, organizations and companies on Twitter.


Users can also search hashtags for conversations on Twitter. It’s another easy way to quickly identify passive talent by conversation.

  • You can search for hashtags inside of Twitter. One of my favorite sites to also search for hashtags is the realtime search engine IceRocket.
  • Twinitor is another one, but exclusively for Twitter.

In conclusion, it’s not hard to locate talent on Twitter. Some of the best searches can be conducted without advanced Boolean searches. It’s all about looking in the right place. Feel free to jump ahead of the competition and start sourcing from Twitter.

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