Twitter Sourcing Made Easy

Twitter has been around for quite a while and is definitely here to stay.  The user base is around 500 million users with 200 million of them actively posting.  And yet, there are many people who do not utilize this free source of potential candidates.  Here are some reasons why:

  • With any amount of users that reach in the millions, the odds of finding potential candidates are quite high
  • For a lot of social media users, Twitter is their main source of communication / messaging / interaction….NOT Linkedin
  • Let’s face it, we live in a world of short attention spans: Twitter is a great medium for people who are just too busy to read long boring job postings
  • People are social creatures, they like to have conversations about things that interest them
  • You can target Twitter users with simple, results-oriented searches

Now I know a lot of people will tell me things like “I don’t have enough time” or “Twitter is scary” or “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”.  But really there is no excuse to not use this sourcing tool.  Just like with any sourcing tool, if you rely on it too much, then you will seriously limit your candidate pool.  Twitter will be just one of many sourcing methods that you use.

One of the great things about Twitter is the ability to utilize the network without being connected to many users, or even being connected to the user that you want to target.  A simple string can capture candidates.

How is it done? 

Let’s say we want to target PHP developers.  If you search “PHP developers” in Twitter, you will probably get a lot of job postings from recruiters.  Since we don’t want to connect with more recruiters, then we need to search for PHP developers in a way that they might communicate.  They may say things like “coded a PHP module all day today” or “php frameworks are a challenge to code”.  Those are examples, but they can be captured by using the subject (PHP) and the action words (code OR coded OR coding) that a developer might use.

Add #hashtags to your action words to make them more specific and searchable.  #hashtags allow users to label and find postings with user-defined keywords.

php (#code OR #coding OR #coded)


The idea here is to get a better overall “internet profile” of the candidate that you’re going after.  We want to communicate with them on a personal level and not just through an impersonal inMail.   You can get a better idea of the candidate, their interests, work, and other information.  You can get led to other personal websites.  You will be better armed when you contact/engage them.  Example bio from that search:


There are other ways to target candidates besides using Twitter.  Followerwonk and Topsy are great tools for searching twitter users, tracking their followers, and analyzing their tweets & followers.  Followerwonk in particular is awesome because of the ability to search for information just in Twitter bios.

In Conclusion

Signing up and using Twitter is easy.  Besides using it as a brand-building tool for yourself or your company, you can also use it to source for candidates.  Also try searching for candidates based on organizations or companies that they follow.   You’ll be surprised as to what you find.

Mark Tortorici


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