As of December of 2013, the Pew Institute states that about 18% of American Internet users are on Twitter. Despite all the hype about Tweeting to promote jobs and build relationships with potential candidates, that figure – 18% – doesn’t seem all that impressive, does it? It’s true that Facebook boasts a membership within the United States alone that dwarfs Twitter’s, and while LinkedIn’s U.S. membership base is not dramatically higher than Twitter’s, at least its members tend to participate for business reasons. So why should you focus some of your limited recruiting energy on Twitter? One word: Culture.
Article after article, study after study, and expert after expert declare that one of the top predictors of retention of a hire is culture fit. If you have an exceptional employee who doesn’t fit within the cultural expectations and norms of your organization, it’s almost a given that their tenure will be shorter than someone who “fits in” – often by their own decision.
It also can be said that your people are your culture. If you infuse positive people into your company and ensure they stay, particularly in leadership ranks, their positivity will start to be mirrored throughout the organization; likewise with other attributes, such as aggression, ethical behavior, negativity or perseverance. As management leans, so lean the employees.
How does this relate to Twitter? A Cornell study from March of 2011, reported by New Scientist magazine and Mashable, indicates that users on Twitter tend to follow others who have similar natures to their own. Positive, upbeat individuals on Twitter follow other positive, upbeat individuals, while users of a more pessimistic nature tend to follow more pessimistic users. Before you scoff, consider that this study involved following 102,000 users and 129 million tweets over the course of six months; it was a pretty thorough effort by a well-respected organization.
What does this mean for you as an employer seeking great candidates? It means that your organization should give serious consideration to your employment brand – not the exciting graphics and witty taglines of your fantastic creative campaign but the true heart and soul of who your organization is – and then consider if you are reflecting that brand in your company’s tweets. Are you just pushing job listings and the occasional, flat notice about an event? According to the Cornell study, you may end up primarily attracting very serious, unemotional and strictly-business-focused followers. If your company, however, seeks to hire innovative individuals or lifelong learners, think about tweeting about exciting ideas your organization is exploring or links to articles citing industry predictions. If you pride yourselves on appreciating your employees, demonstrate that appreciation publicly through Twitter. You get the idea.
As with any marketing effort – and make no mistake, Twitter is a marketing tool for your company – you’ll want to ensure your messages are market-appropriate and won’t get you into a legal bind. If you cover these bases and make sure your message appeals to your candidate pool – in tone as well as content – Twitter can greatly support and enhance your efforts to hire exceptional employees who are a great culture fit.