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There’s no longer any doubt that any truly comprehensive technical recruiter should be discovering and making use of as many outreach channels to source the best talent out there – both online and offline. In the digital space, social networks and content distribution networks such as Twitter can provide great opportunities for recruiters to engage the participants in their markets, discover and share great content, evangelize their individual/corporate brand identity on a large and of course identify major players who may be valuable recruits down the road. Creative usages of Twitter that can help us promote our jobs and brand include:

• Hashtags
• URL shorteners (e.g. http://goo.gl/ , http://tr.im/)
• 120 character messages – this is because you want to be sure to leave enough room for your followers to share and re-tweet your posts. When tweeting, we try to leave 25-30 characters so that when our posts are shared they do not also have to be edited
• Twitter search (discover popular/relevant hashtags and retweet content)

Listen and Follow to hear the conversations and begin to strategically build a list of interesting people. Engage those people by retweeting their content and sharing your own to start conversations and building trust in your network. Link interesting articles so that others see you add value, and it’s not just all about us seeking candidates or business. Ask for anything (including contact info) only after you have spent time building your network and proving you can add as much value as you seek to gain.

As far as hashtags go – some questions to be thinking about:

What keywords and hashtags do your target candidates typically search for? What Twitter chats do these candidates frequent, and when do these chats occur? Also, what are the most likely times your target audience will be present on Twitter?

Popular Twitter Hashtags for Recruiting — Beyond #job / #jobs (use only one per job-related tweet)

Geographies: #NYC, #SF, #LA, #BOSTON, #CHICAGO
Technologies: #dotNET #Java #RubyOnRails #(other tech acronyms)
Professions: #developer #engineer #architect (#qa or #sqa) #ux #product
Industries: #adtech #ecommerce #pharma #tech #startup #mobile #design

Ex. Recruiting top-notch #java talent for innovative #adtech company in SoHo. [shortened link to job posting] #nyc #jobs

Ex. If you love #rubyonrails, I have an incredible 9 mo. contract at a global #nyc based fashion retailer. [shortened link] #ecommerce #jobs

Rules for Hashtags in Tweets:

Limit yourself to 1-2 hashtags within each tweet, and 1-2 at the very end of the tweet. Any more than that looks like spam, and leaves you with fewer characters to get your actual message across.

If you decide to get creative and use novel hashtags, make sure that it’s intuitive for your followers and easy to understand. Since your posts are limited to 140 characters, the shorter the tag is the better. Also be sure to check the history and meaning of a tag before you use it. It may have unknown negative connotations that will throw us in the middle of a conversation with which we play no part. To prevent a social faux pas, make sure the tag means what you think it means.

Perhaps most importantly – EVERYONE NEEDS TO CONTRIBUTE MORE CONTENT THAN JUST JOB POSTINGS! OTHERWISE YOU WILL LOOK LIKE A SPAM BOT AND YOU WILL BE IGNORED. If people just aren’t big Twitter users (i.e. they aren’t writing a lot of original tweets or re-tweeting a lot of published content), then at the very least they need to sign up for some automatic content generators (i.e. Paper.li) that publish personalized content on a regular basis

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