By: Rich DeMatteo
As a staffing and human resources professional, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to engage job seekers.
In the realm of social media, Twitter is one such platform. After all, job seekers have a burning desire to engage with recruiters and HR professionals -- and doing so in 140 characters or less can be very appealing.
While Twitter has some great advantages for recruiters, HR professionals and employers, it’s difficult to engage with more than one or two Twitter users at a time. While this might be exactly the kind of candidate engagement that job seekers are looking for, it’s not always practical for talent seekers.
Another challenge: it’s difficult to locate where active job seekers are hanging out on Twitter. And while it’s important to engage with passive job seekers, it’s clearly better to target a group of people who are looking for work and are eager to engage.
To address these issues, some industrious recruiters have started to experiment with new ways to use Twitter. One format that I’ve found to be successful is Twitter chats.
What is a Twitter Chat?
Twitter chats were created to provide like-minded Tweeps a place to hang out, learn and network with each other, right on Twitter. If you’ve never participated in a Twitter chat, or you’re completely new to the concept, it can be a little confusing.
Chats are run by a moderator or multiple moderators who direct the discussion with questions for the chat’s participants. These questions sometimes follow a theme or they might cover random topics that are related to the chat’s main theme.
Twitter chats give participants a chance to interact with a large number of people who they aren’t following. In fact, it’s not uncommon to walk away from a chat with 20 or more new followers. Some Twitter chat moderators have reported that their chat produced over 1,000 tweets. While that number can be much lower or higher depending on circumstances, it will only help to expand your Twitter network.
Twitter Chat 101
Each Twitter Chat has its own hash tag (for example, the chat that I run is called #JobHuntChat.) Moderators and participants should include their hash tag in every tweet. This will group together tweets and create a chat feel.
An easy way to follow along and participate in a Tweet chat is to log into TweetChat.com (another popular hash tag following site you can use is TweetGrid.com.) When you log in to TweetChat.com with your Twitter handle, you’ll be asked to enter the hash tag that you wish to follow. A stream focusing in on your desired hash tag will then display. TweetChat will automatically add the selected hash tag to any tweets you send.
Approximately 5 minutes before each chat begins, our moderators ask participants to introduce themselves by tweeting out who they are, what they do (job seeker, recruiter, company they work for, etc). Let’s call this a pre-chat icebreaker.
You can ask participants to email their questions to the moderators in advance of the chat, which also helps generate pre-chat interest. The #JobHuntChat moderators pre-select four questions to discuss during the hour-long session.
Twitter Chats: How to Make it Time Well Spent
While #JobHuntChat runs for an hour, I’ve seen other chats go as long as three hours. Twitter chats can be scheduled daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or however often the founder and moderators choose. On #JobHuntChat, we give each question 15 minutes of “air time.” Moderators make sure to retweet the answers they feel are most insightful, which ensures those answers are seen.
At the end of the chat, we invite participants to network and connect, share blog posts, or simply continue the conversation. People will send links out to connect on Linkedin, Facebook and even make plans to chat offline.
Since it began in mid-February, 2010, #JobHuntChat has quickly become a community resource where recruiters, HR professionals, resume writers, career coaches and other career experts connect with job seekers and answer their job-hunt related questions. This is engagement at its finest! Even better, it’s a very simple way to reach out to job seekers.
You can also think about focusing your Twitter chat to a specific segment, such as Java Software Engineers. While it will inevitably start small, over time you may just find that it becomes the number one hang out for Java engineers on Twitter.
Another new approach to matching job seekers to opportunities is Monster’s bi-weekly #monsterlive Twitter chats. Every #WorkWednesday and #HireFriday from 3-4 PM ET, job seekers can tweet their location and job title to @monsterkaw with the hash tag #monsterlive. Using the new Job Search Beta precision matching engine powered by 6Sense, Monster will reply with real time results of potential matches.
Learn more about how Monster’s making the job search more social visit the Monster Career Advice blog.
Happy Twitter chatting to all!
Rich DeMatteo is creator of the recruiting blog, Corn On the Job. HisTwitter chat #JobHuntChat takes place every Monday night from 10-11pm EST. A Philadelphia-area staffing and human resources professional, Rich has experience in multiple staffing disciplines including both agency and corporate recruiting. Rich can be found on Twitter @CornOnTheJob.