Using Social Media for Attracting New Talent

(The second post from SEJ collaborative Social Media Series for Business Operations)

Incorporating a social media strategy into your overall online marketing/business strategy has become essential: but finding that balance where your social media activities are the wings beneath your business success, yet aren’t floating you up out into the stratosphere is difficult.

An area where you may well find that time spent on social media pays off handsomely is finding new talent for your business.

For me, TweetPhoto owner Rodney Rumford‘s advice on how to find your next hot new team member about sums it all up:

“Fish where your audience is and make personal connections with the talent pool that you want to hire…” Short and sweet. That sentence pretty much tells you what you need to know.

But how do you find out where the people you need are hanging out?

Twitter is always a good place to start because it is great for individuals who are looking for work, and recently many users are coming onto Twitter specifically to learn about finding work. So it follows that Twitter is also a great place to find the talent you seek. As Bridget Carey says:

“….the instant nature of the posts, mixed with an environment that breeds a neighborly spirit, makes Twitter a hot spot for finding opportunities.”

There are various ways to find what you’re looking for on Twitter they all basically involve doing a search for your talent keywords (writer, web designer, plumber or whatever). There are a number of applications you might use for this–check out the Search Twitter section over at Tweetpro. Ask people for recommendations. You can check your target out thoroughly before alerting them to your intentions. You can also use the #hashtags facility to find where your keywords are being mentioned.

And since Twitter Job Search is useful for those looking for employment, it follows that it will also be a great tool for employers too.

Creative Ways to Find Talent Through Social Media

Arrange contests: A great way to get what you want on social media is to arrange a contest offering a prize for anyone who helps you find what you need. A wonderful example of this was brought to my attention a couple of years back when I read Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start. I was impressed that he actually launched a competition for artists to submit book jackets for this book. In return they got their art work listed inside the jacket of a book that was sure to become a best seller, and of course the winner’s art was even more prominent. It was a win-win situation. There are literally thousands of scenarios I can think of where this would be a great idea. You can launch your contest through your website and arrange for buzz through your social media networks.

LinkedIn is one of the oldest social media sites, primarily used for professional networking, and has a well-organized system: you can access a wealth of information on talent of every description, with a good search facility to help you along.

TweetROI is one of a number of applications that target the wealth of information sometimes difficult to access on Twitter: using this app you can send out an ad at a reasonable price, seeking your required personnel.

Forums are another area of the Web where you are likely to find what you’re looking for: you can expect recommendations for your post and networking by itself is likely to turn up lots of leads for you.

How to prevent your best people from being poached is a problem that most successful companies have to tackle sooner or later. Trouble is, as we’ve just seen, it’s all too easy to locate personnel that would be perfect for your organization online.

Of course you can contact major companies who might be interested in your personnel and actually ask them if you can enter in to some kind of a no-poaching deal. But as Steve Jobs found, when he tried to reach a deal with Palm to stop them poaching each others’ people, it backfired badly when Palm’s Steve Colligan replied:

“Your proposal that we agree that neither company will hire the other’s employees, regardless of the individual’s desires, is not only wrong, it is likely illegal.”

Oh, and as an afterthought: if you want smart new people to want to come and work for you, be careful that your existing employees aren’t fouling the field by broadcasting unfavorable stuff about you. An easy way to avoid this is to make sure your employees love you. As a place to start, you might be interested in 7 Reasons Your Employees Hate You by Adam Kleinberg.

Patricia Skinner is an SEO consultant, social media coach & reputation management expert. She is also community leader at the nascent SEO Self Regulation Community. She can be reached any time through her SEO website. Why not follow her on Twitter & her LinkedIn profile.

Patricia Skinner
Patricia Skinner is co-founder and Search and Social Director at Mideast SEO, and spends her days doing what she loves best; cooking up winning strategies for business branding, social media marketing and organic search. Her original blog, Wellwrittenwords is also sporadically maintained. Find her on Twitter: ISpeakSEO and LinkedIn

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11 thoughts on “Using Social Media for Attracting New Talent

  1. Social media does present a paradigm shift for employers and candidates. You’ve outlined that so well.

    Social conversations provide insight, like never before, into behaviors and how possible candidates treat people. As marketing professionals, we often talk about Online Reputation Management and concerns about bad reviews getting into the SERPs. Companies should realize that these reviews also affect how prospective employees look at them. A lot can be said about a company and its leadership by reviews and comments from current & past employees as you stated.

    Most importantly, each of us needs to keep in mind that our social activity is a mirror, a reflection of who we are. Providing past employment references is not as important any more when HR can view LinkedIn and comments on Twitter and forums! I wonder how much social media has affected agencies who provide background checks! :-)

    I wanted to share an article on using Twitter for job search leads:
    It also has some great tips to supplement your resources.

    Nice post, Patricia! Thanks!

  2. Hi Dana,
    Yes, fascinating thought: who’d have thought a couple of years back that social media would turn out to be THE new background check tool. And so effective. :) I think the average person would be shocked to realize just how much information a skilled searcher could glean about them. Those who persist in showing their very worst side on forums and microblogging apps probably wonder why they don’t get hired. lol.

  3. Thanks for mentioning my “7 Reasons Your Employees Hate You” article, Patricia. I hadn’t thought of shaping the social media conversation as a reason for not wanting your employees to hate you — but it’s a good one! Maybe I should write a follow-up piece called “7 Reasons You Should Care If Your Employees Hate You.”

    Adam Kleinberg

    1. Hi Adam, yes, it is amazing how so many people just don’t think through the results of their actions. Was a great article by the way, and would love to read your follow-up. :)

  4. The best part about using Twitter to recruit, is that you can follow a potential employee to see their strengths and weaknesses in a way they won’t show you on a resulme or in a job interview.

    1. I think we’d see an awful lot less tweets with profanity and stupidity if more people realized that they could be totally destroying themselves in the eyes of a prospective employer.

  5. Yeah this is a nice article.

    I do think that it is a nice way of finding people suitable to be a new member of your team.

    Social Media shows not just information about a person but also their personalities.

    Nice post.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Patricia. I couldn’t agree more that social media is a fantastic way to cheaply attract new talent to your firm although it does have to be used carefully. I work at one of the UK’s leading online recruitment firms and write a blog on social media for recruitment as well as offering other helpful advice for employers who want to use different online mediums to attract candidates. You can find it at I think you may find some interesting stuff. Keep writing interesting stuff.

    1. Hi Don, and thank you. Yes I think that, like any other online process where you want exposure, a multi-pronged approach is critical: social media is gaining ground though, as a major aspect of any multi-pronged approach. It’s early days for most companies: as yet, only a very few grasp how truly effective social media can be when used the right way.

  7. Hi Patricia,
    Thanks for the well thought through article. Ah, the perils and pitfalls of social media.
    I recently produced a 5-part series of 3-minute videos called “5 Reasons You’re Avoiding Social Media and Why It’s Time to Get Over It.” I’d love to hear what you think of the ideas presented in these videos for business use of social media.