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May 15, 2009 / Toby Dayton

Twittering For Jobs…(Or Is It Tweeting?)

There’s been a ridiculous amount of coverage lately in the recruiting industry about Twitter’s impact on the space. I am a fan of Twitter and have found it to be an advantageous tool to leverage for specific applications in our business. I also think that it is an interesting and potentially valuable tool for job seekers and employers. But the attention being paid to Twitter in the recruiting business is way overblown and far outweighs its true value in the process of finding a job or an employee.

Before anyone freaks out and dismisses this post with a “you don’t get it” or “you’re an idiot,” I would argue quite vehemently that I do and I’m not. Twitter is a really cool tool in the social media space, and it has definite value for job seekers and employers. There are lots of jobs being distributed into and through Twitter, and job seekers should be spending some time exploring what’s out there via Twitter. Employers and job boards too should be leveraging Twitter as a means to distribute their jobs to a wider, possibly different, audience as well as perhaps more convenient channel (at least for some). But Twitter is no different that any other channel (print, web, radio, TV, mobile, RSS, newsletters, podcasts, etc.) that employers and job seekers should be exploring to improve their chances of successfully accomplishing their respective goals. But diversification across multiple channels is critical, and the notion that Twitter alone is sufficient to achieve success is patently absurd. Even more ludicrous are the recruitment advertising businesses springing up that are based entirely around Twitter.

As just a small test of Twitter, I searched for Creative Director on Twitterjobsearch.com. There were 6,000+ search results.

twitterjobsearch-listing

I scrolled down a bit and clicked on advertischicago’s job for a creative director/Art, and was taken to AdvertisChicago’s Twitter page.

advertischicago-jobs

After clicking on the same job again, I was taken to Indeed.com’s page, where I discovered that the job was no longer available on Oddskills.com, the original source of the job listing.

indeed-job-listing

So after 3 clicks, I found that a job that was tweeted about only 2 hours ago was no longer available and that the listing itself had traveled through 4 places. This was the first job I clicked on, and the experience was just as useless as any job search on Indeed, SimplyHired, Monster, CareerBuilder, or any other jobs site that has old, outdated, and duplicative job listings, and/or fake/fraudulent/scam jobs. It took me just one try to find exactly the type of experience that I assumed I would find sooner or later, and that is why I am confident that I do ‘get it’ and that I’m not an idiot when I dismiss the wave of job-related businesses that are basing their entire service model around Twitter.

16 Comments

  1. careersherpa / May 16 2009 9:20 am

    Toby, just found your tweet about Twitter. Great insight. Also love your visuals in your blog! I look forward to reading more.

  2. Career Sherpa / May 16 2009 4:20 am

    Toby, just found your tweet about Twitter. Great insight. Also love your visuals in your blog! I look forward to reading more.

  3. eric shannon / May 16 2009 12:20 pm

    well said Toby!! i’ve been thinking the same…

  4. eric shannon / May 16 2009 7:20 am

    well said Toby!! i've been thinking the same…

  5. Anonymous / May 16 2009 4:47 pm

    Great article, Toby. I hope that the Twitter fanatics will understand that you’re not anti-Twitter but instead see Twitter as just one of many tools that good recruiters and marketers should be using. There is this tendency to look for a silver bullet, think it has been found, put all resources into it, be disappointed, blame the tool, look for a new silver bullet, think it has been found, etc.

  6. StevenRothberg / May 16 2009 11:47 am

    Great article, Toby. I hope that the Twitter fanatics will understand that you're not anti-Twitter but instead see Twitter as just one of many tools that good recruiters and marketers should be using. There is this tendency to look for a silver bullet, think it has been found, put all resources into it, be disappointed, blame the tool, look for a new silver bullet, think it has been found, etc.

  7. Anita Bruzzese / May 18 2009 1:39 pm

    Toby,
    You’ve made a lot of great points here, Toby. As Steven said, that “silver bullet” out there can’t be found in job searching. In my interviews with dozens of employers, they always say the same thing: Most of the people they interview and/or hire come from someone they know recommending the person, or through personal contact with them. And that doesn’t mean Twitter. Great post.

  8. Anita Bruzzese / May 18 2009 8:39 am

    Toby,
    You've made a lot of great points here, Toby. As Steven said, that “silver bullet” out there can't be found in job searching. In my interviews with dozens of employers, they always say the same thing: Most of the people they interview and/or hire come from someone they know recommending the person, or through personal contact with them. And that doesn't mean Twitter. Great post.

  9. Gary Alan Miller / May 20 2009 1:29 pm

    Very solid point, and it’s one that I’ve been hammering home with my students. Twitter is a very useful tool and one that should be leveraged. But, it’s just one source in a world of sources.

    The downside of the social media revolution related to jobs and personal branding is that it can very easily breed over-reliance. This is especially true with college-aged individuals, who are very comfortable with the medium. So, incorporate it. Use it to its full potential. But, the message should be, IMO, that Twitter is one tool in your tool belt.

  10. Gary Alan Miller / May 20 2009 8:29 am

    Very solid point, and it's one that I've been hammering home with my students. Twitter is a very useful tool and one that should be leveraged. But, it's just one source in a world of sources.

    The downside of the social media revolution related to jobs and personal branding is that it can very easily breed over-reliance. This is especially true with college-aged individuals, who are very comfortable with the medium. So, incorporate it. Use it to its full potential. But, the message should be, IMO, that Twitter is one tool in your tool belt.

  11. Harley / May 20 2009 7:14 pm

    Good insights into the positive benefits and limitations of a tool. Well described.

  12. Harley / May 20 2009 2:14 pm

    Good insights into the positive benefits and limitations of a tool. Well described.

  13. wmfischer / May 27 2009 10:31 am

    Hi Toby,

    We’re happy to see good reporting in the recruitment space.

    Free publishing platforms (email, wikipedia, craigslist, twitter, myspace, etc.) all have an issue over controlling who publishes. Consequently, each of those channels including, ironically, blogs (blogs and comments thereon have had their death foretold numerous times due to issues that you smartly raised in your blog and I’m addressing in comments) fall under criticism since they are notoriously difficult to search and verify. This critique always seems to appear once each of these platforms reaches millions of users and thousands of companies.

    Our belief is that once these platforms scale, it’s imperative to build trust systems, ranking protocols, junk filters, relevancy algorithms, intelligent search systems in order for them to continue to function and grow. This is what we’re building for Twitter. Every day we parse millions of tweets with contextual search tools, we then put them through several different validation processes (check links, block accounts, our own tweet ranking system), we index them, we use crowdsourcing, and then we use our proprietary relevancy algorithms to present them. Twitter presents a very difficult signal/noise issue but every day our systems get better at excluding results.

    We’re not a key word search engine or a hash tags engine, we’re taking on the challenge of analyzing all tweets and as a consequence we are finding job tweets from thousands of small businesses worldwide that can’t be found anywhere else plus an index of other jobs posted to Twitter. We’re also building tools for other social media sites and other categories.

    Getting the right search results is hard (we look at over 1.5 billion records to find the best 10 to show) and we’re appreciative of all feedback on how we can improve them helps us build a better product.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    http://twitterjobsearch.com
    @williamfischer

  14. wmfischer / May 27 2009 5:31 am

    Hi Toby,

    We're happy to see good reporting in the recruitment space.

    Free publishing platforms (email, wikipedia, craigslist, twitter, myspace, etc.) all have an issue over controlling who publishes. Consequently, each of those channels including, ironically, blogs (blogs and comments thereon have had their death foretold numerous times due to issues that you smartly raised in your blog and I'm addressing in comments) fall under criticism since they are notoriously difficult to search and verify. This critique always seems to appear once each of these platforms reaches millions of users and thousands of companies.

    Our belief is that once these platforms scale, it's imperative to build trust systems, ranking protocols, junk filters, relevancy algorithms, intelligent search systems in order for them to continue to function and grow. This is what we're building for Twitter. Every day we parse millions of tweets with contextual search tools, we then put them through several different validation processes (check links, block accounts, our own tweet ranking system), we index them, we use crowdsourcing, and then we use our proprietary relevancy algorithms to present them. Twitter presents a very difficult signal/noise issue but every day our systems get better at excluding results.

    We're not a key word search engine or a hash tags engine, we're taking on the challenge of analyzing all tweets and as a consequence we are finding job tweets from thousands of small businesses worldwide that can't be found anywhere else plus an index of other jobs posted to Twitter. We're also building tools for other social media sites and other categories.

    Getting the right search results is hard (we look at over 1.5 billion records to find the best 10 to show) and we're appreciative of all feedback on how we can improve them helps us build a better product.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    http://twitterjobsearch.com
    @williamfischer

  15. wmfischer / May 27 2009 10:31 am

    Hi Toby,

    We're happy to see good reporting in the recruitment space.

    Free publishing platforms (email, wikipedia, craigslist, twitter, myspace, etc.) all have an issue over controlling who publishes. Consequently, each of those channels including, ironically, blogs (blogs and comments thereon have had their death foretold numerous times due to issues that you smartly raised in your blog and I'm addressing in comments) fall under criticism since they are notoriously difficult to search and verify. This critique always seems to appear once each of these platforms reaches millions of users and thousands of companies.

    Our belief is that once these platforms scale, it's imperative to build trust systems, ranking protocols, junk filters, relevancy algorithms, intelligent search systems in order for them to continue to function and grow. This is what we're building for Twitter. Every day we parse millions of tweets with contextual search tools, we then put them through several different validation processes (check links, block accounts, our own tweet ranking system), we index them, we use crowdsourcing, and then we use our proprietary relevancy algorithms to present them. Twitter presents a very difficult signal/noise issue but every day our systems get better at excluding results.

    We're not a key word search engine or a hash tags engine, we're taking on the challenge of analyzing all tweets and as a consequence we are finding job tweets from thousands of small businesses worldwide that can't be found anywhere else plus an index of other jobs posted to Twitter. We're also building tools for other social media sites and other categories.

    Getting the right search results is hard (we look at over 1.5 billion records to find the best 10 to show) and we're appreciative of all feedback on how we can improve them helps us build a better product.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    http://twitterjobsearch.com
    @williamfischer

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