Remember the days of “post and pray”? For most recruiters that phrase will conjure memories of placing an ad on a job board (or newspaper), and hoping a great candidate will respond. The relationship was transactional, and both employers and candidates understood that.
The advent of the internet, social media, and mobile devices has changed the expectations of candidates. They want to know more about who they will work with, what the environment is like, and what kinds of problems they’ll be solving. That’s hard to see with the “post and pray” mentality. Yet, take a quick look at your Twitter feed and you’ll see that old habits still exist.
Recruiters are busy people. No doubt. The average corporate recruiter is managing between 15 and 50 openings at a time. Thus, one can understand the difficulty in building an engaging employer brand on Twitter. That said, there are ways you can effectively build your employer brand on Twitter with whatever time and resources you have available.
5 tips for building your brand
1. Know your audience
Your personal Twitter handle is all you. You make the choice of what you want to say and when. Your tweets may appeal to a wide variety of people. You shouldn’t treat your company handle the same way. Tweeting to a defined audience can create higher engagement.
A great example of this is Square’s Engineering handle. They tweet articles from their engineering blog aimed at developers. Developers on Twitter follow them because they can see the types of problems Square’s engineering team is solving. The beauty of it is that it isn’t a constant stream of job openings, or even a handle with “careers” in it. It’s all about engineering at Square, and that’s what gains the interest of top developers.
Faster RSA in Java: a new library that wraps libgmp. http://t.co/WuYGwnSY6l
— Square Engineering (@SquareEng) February 14, 2014
The tweet above is a great example. It’s the latest blog post, appealing to developers with interest in Java infrastructure. 10 retweets and 12 favorites expanded the social radius of the tweet, without the use of a single hashtag.
Building a specific audience, and giving them relevant content, will typically raise engagement. Thus, raising interest in your employer brand at the department level.
2. Be visual
Social media users are drawn to visuals. Take a look at Facebook. Posts with photos on the social network get 39% more interaction. This shouldn’t be a surprise, even Craigslist now allows the ability to search using thumbnails and galleries.
The “post and pray” approach on Twitter typically yields very low engagement. There are too many tweets saying “We’re hiring” with an endless stream of hashtags.
— FINRA Jobs (@FINRA_Jobs) February 15, 2014
Tweets like the one above from FINRA are a long-shot for gaining followers and engaging them. It’s hoping you get lucky just like the “post and pray” days. This particular tweet had zero retweets or favorites. This is typical of many automated tweets of job descriptions produced by an ATS (Applicant Tracking System).
To all our associates working hard this weekend, go show 'em how it's done. pic.twitter.com/3rbVvUFQhp
— Home Depot Careers (@HomeDepotCareer) February 15, 2014
By contrast, the handle of Home Depot Careers does a great job of using a nice visual and a shout-out to their current employees in the above tweet. The eye is drawn to the image, and the message looks like they care. The result is 9 retweets and 4 favorites. Again, increasing the social radius of the tweet and growing your employer brand.
3. Be consistent
There is a fine line between being persistent, and being a pest. Turn off the auto-tweeter of your jobs from the ATS. It’s likely to turn potential followers away. Top candidates don’t want a firehose feed of every job your company ever posts. Give your audience consistency and balance, and the result can be increased engagement.
Your followers like to know what they can expect. This includes the type of content you share, as well as the frequency of your tweets. The key is to be consistent. It’s likely that 10 tweets or less per day from your handle will work just fine in engaging your audience.
— HBO Careers (@HBOcareers) February 13, 2014
When you’re consistent, simple messages about benefits can make a difference. The tweet above from HBO got 1 retweet and 7 favorites. It was obviously crafted by a human being, and appealing to followers who value culture. And don’t forget the awesome response below to the tweet either.
— 🖇future expat (@friisey) February 13, 2014
HBO raises the perception of their employer brand, while increasing their social radius even if by a bit. A positive interaction over social media is more likely to result in attracting new candidates, driving more referrals, and even bringing more paying customers to the business itself.
4. Be responsive
Two-way dialogue in the hiring process is what candidates crave. They crave it, but they still are not used to getting consistent responses from an employer. That’s because candidates have become accustomed to the transactional nature of the “black-hole” job boards and newspapers first created. Twitter provides an awesome opportunity to turn your responses into a public employer branding campaign.
@timeattackauto good to hear! Thank you again for reaching out!
— Amtrak Careers (@AmtrakCareers) February 9, 2014
This tweet from Amtrak Careers is a fantastic example. It may not be one that expands your social radius, but it will definitely raise your employer brand. Potential candidates seeing this type of interaction will be encouraged to follow and interact. They are also more likely to apply, or simply utilize whatever product or service your business delivers.
5. Look for opportunities to convert followers into candidates
Of course, you’re on Twitter because you want to attract great candidates. Thus, you want to advertise jobs when the time is right. It’s all about timing. It’s important to look for opportunities to tweet your jobs (or careers site) in the context of the Twitter stream. Look for interactions about specific locations, occupations, or news events that you can capitalize on.
— Starbucks Jobs (@StarbucksJobs) February 14, 2014
Tweets about jobs, like the one above from Starbucks, can achieve 6 retweets and 7 favorites. Much of this is because they saw an opportunity to promote their careers site in the proper context. Followers don’t feel like they are besieged by blatant job ads. It comes up in a more natural conversation or interaction. Look for these opportunities, and you will start finding ways to convert followers into candidates.