Twitter Recruiting 101: How to Optimize Your Tweets to Attract Candidates

Last week, Twitter surpassed LinkedIn as the number one social network for sales professionals because it offers the ability to research and engage, especially those you are not connected to, and to do it all in real time. Twitter is my favorite social network for all those above reasons, but it’s challenging to understand and master. The social network has its own language, and its rapid fire pace can overwhelm users. It just takes time to understand and engage.

In 2008, I began to understand the power of Twitter. As a new mom, who was up at odd hours taking care of my newborn daughter, I was eager for a distraction other than C-SPAN at 2:30 in the morning. It was then I turned to Twitter where I was able to connect, build relationships and engage with smart and interesting people from all over the world. I fell in love and began experimenting with how to use the social networking tool to build my consulting practice in HR and recruiting.

How to Optimize Your Tweets to Attract Candidates

For recruiters and talent acquisition leaders, Twitter offers a great opportunity to source candidates using its advanced search functionality, share job postings and connect with candidates in a non-abrasive and less formal way.

Keep Your Tweets Short – Under 110 Characters

Twitter’s character limit is 140, however, I recommend keeping your tweets between 110-120 characters. This makes it easy for others to retweet or RT and share with their networks and communities.

Use Hashtags to Optimize and Improve the Lifespan of Your Tweet

The average lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes. Hashtags allow you to reach a very targeted network that might or might not be following you. I consider hashtags the dewey decimal system of social media allowing others to find you by hashtag and build new connections and communities. Recruiters can use hashtags by job type like #javadeveloper, city name like #sf or #sanfrancisco, or  the #job or #jobs hashtags to tell other Twitter users that the tweet contains information about a job or job opening.

Another popular trend among employer brands is to create a company specific hashtag that encourages the sharing by members of your recruiting team as well as employees. Check out #AskATTJobs and #teamamtrak.

Consider Twitter Job Cards

Twitter job cards offer the option to extend the life of your tweet. These are paid options either working with Twitter itself under their ad platform or with a number of the major job boards. You tweets live longer, graphics can be customized, tweets are targeted with the ability to go beyond the 140 character limit. 

Don’t Overshare

It’s easy to go all Twitter crazy especially when it comes to automation. If you are a large company, I strongly recommend that you do not automate all your job postings to Twitter. It overwhelms users with potentially hundreds of tweets, leaves a bad impression and is considered a form of spam by many. Highlight or spotlight featured jobs 1-5 times a day to get the most mileage out of your job postings. Below is an example of a hot alert shared by the @sodexocareers team. 

Personalize Your Message

Social media is about relationships and engagement which is why I recommend personalize your messaging. Answer candidate questions, engage in conversation using Twitter chats or in trending hashtags to increase your visibility and reach new candidate communities. AT&T has it’s own Twitter chat where they answer candidate questions about how to apply for a job at AT&T with #AskATTJobs. 

Use Visuals to Reinforce and Engage Differently

Social media tool Buffer found that tweets that contain images had a 18% higher click rate. Add images to your tweets that help visual your message or tell a story about your company. Don’t forget to use complimentary visual social networking tools like Vine, Snapchat, Pinterest, Pericope and even Instagram to connect with other social networks. It also allows you to recycle your graphics. Different platforms react and relate to images in different ways. Here are two of my favorite tweets from employers including HP Careers and Twilio Life accounts. 

Twitter is a great platform to build relationships, engage job seekers and share information and resources about what it’s like to work at your company.It’s fast paced but takes time to build a following, create a flow, feel comfortable, experiment and engage. Like most social networks, you only get what you put into it and establishing a ROI on Twitter is what I call a slow burn. It takes time. I encourage you to get out there and start exploring with using Twitter in your recruiting and hiring.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tony Restell says

    Some great insights here Jessica, thanks for sharing. One thing we’ve found very effective with our recruiting clients is to share broader tweets highlighting that your company is hiring – and directing candidates to your main careers page. Specific job listings when tweeted are going to be irrelevant (spam) for most people who see them; whereas a broader message that appeals to anyone who is considering a career move is far more likely to resonate with people. Hope that’s a helpful insight too.

  2. John JB Russell says

    Completely agree with @tonyrestell – great post and thank you so much for sharing!

    I agree with Tony – The broader the better to engage job seekers with early on… whilst being specific on the purpose – ie Job search. The inclusion of hashtags is really helpful for both #jobseekers and employers / recruiting new talent within a specific location such as #london – this can help your digital hiring profiles light up.

    As an employer, I would also recommend replicating, repurposing & recycling some key content already shared on your website (via twitter with short links) or content from hiring road shows / job fairs and use stats to back up & show what a great place to work your company is. By posting these onto Google+ as well as your other social profiles such as #LinkedIn #pinterest or #YouTube, #jobseekers in hunt mode will more easily discover your company and vacancies. Crucially, they will also discover all the interesting content you’ve been pushing out on your other channels which should help improve your quality of hire as well as reduce your time to hire.

    It’s also important employers have consistent profiles across the web and use different platforms to engage effectively with specific goals in mind, using tags effectively in any media posted to optimise reach & discoverability.
    Hope that’s helpful!


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