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August 5, 2010 / Mervyn Dinnen

Think Before You Tweet (A Twitter Recruitment Tragi-Comedy in 5 Parts)

It had to happen one day.

It’s probably happened before and I’m sure this sorry story will be repeated many times in different forms until recruiters finally understand the power of social media, and it’s use for informing and engaging not just name gathering.

This week it happened to a recruiter I know…

The Scene:

Candidate has an interview for an interim role with Company XXX. The interview goes well, and candidate is asked if they have any other interviews. Candidate says no interviews with companies, only agencies. Company XXX offers Candidate the job, a 6 month contract to start next Monday. Candidate says YES!

The Action:

Candidate goes home and logs in to their Twitter account. Candidate tweets to followers:

Got offer from Company XXX, hope to get one from Company YYY tomorrow. Exciting times.

Company XXX have people who monitor their mentions on Social Media. They see the tweet and pass to HR.

The Denouement:

Offer is withdrawn.

The Lessons:

1)      Recruiters…Get on Twitter! Find out if your candidates (and clients for that matter) are on Twitter too. If they are, follow them and engage with them. You need to know what’s going on.

2)      Candidates…If you are going to tweet about your interviews, and name the companies involved, expect your tweets to be read by both the company and the recruiter (in-house or 3rd party) because they need to know what’s going on.

3)      Clients…Be prepared for people to share their experiences of you on social media. In this case the client found out something that enabled them to act quickly. That may not always be the case. You need to know what’s going on.

The Moral:

Get on Twitter, or any Social Media! You need to know what’s going on.

Anyone experienced anything similar?

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13 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Stephen O'Donnell / Aug 5 2010 3:18 PM

    Correct me if I’m wrong Mervyn. You seem to be saying;

    1. Recruiters: snoop on your candidates, because they won’t have told you the whole truth.
    2. Candidate’s: be wary of recruiters snooping on you, so be careful what you say online.
    3. Employers: snoop on both candidates and recruiters, because you could learn that they haven’t been totally honest with you.

    Or have I got the wrong impression?

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Aug 5 2010 4:01 PM

      Interesting take Stephen, apologies if I was unclear. I certainly wasn’t thinking ‘snooping’ but engagement…I see Twitter as being a platform facilitating communication, engagement, sharing and learning. I’m guessing that if my friend had had an online relationship with the candidate things may have been different…keen to know of other recruiter’s experiences.

      I have connected with candidates on twitter and they have followed me back. If they didn’t want to I guess they could block me, but I’m thinking that they wouldn’t. If they want their tweets private they can protect them.

      We’re all becoming more and more connected…you need to be in the conversation to be part of the conversation.

  2. Stephen O'Donnell / Aug 5 2010 6:18 PM

    I am being deliberately obtuse Mervyn.
    I agree with all you say, but in this particular instance the candidate was punished for a white lie he stupidly revealed online. Additionally, the employer lost a good employee in a fit of piqué.

    The lesson is for everyone to grow up a little, and be circumspect in how they use social media.

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Aug 5 2010 10:44 PM

      There’s a transparency with social media that will take people a long time to master. The candidate’s ‘white lie’ secured him an offer which he accepted. The tweet showed the client that despite that acceptance there was clearly a chance that he would change his mind. I think it points to honesty and trust…not a fit of pique.

      We tell people to be themselves on social media and the personality will come though…it would seem that face to face may give more opportunity for complexity and duplicity than online!

  3. Stephen O'Donnell / Aug 6 2010 1:15 AM

    There is inevitable duplicity built into the entire recruitment process. Would you advise a candidate to be scrupulously honest, and offer “full disclosure” in a discoverable way online.

    Lies being told….

    I’ve continued this train of thought in a new article on my blog. http://wp.me/pPAVC-ag

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Aug 6 2010 8:54 AM

      Social Media now offers a transparency and immediacy that will mean new rules…that’s why recruiters need to be part of it.

      Pleased I inspired a blog…will continue the debate on your post later….

  4. Cal / Aug 6 2010 9:32 AM

    Hi Mervyn,

    A timely blog post – working in marketing / Social Media for a marketing and HR recruitment specialist as I do, I’m hearing an increasing number of stories that are similar to this.

    However, I believe that many of these instances are simply down to naivety. As an industry, I think it is crucial that recruitment consultants really employ the ‘consultative’ part of their job title and take the time to educate candidates regarding the possible pitfalls of Social Media activity during the recruitment process.

    As stated, mistakes like the illustration above are not down to obnoxious candidates – they are simply down to lack of awareness. In today’s SM society, this is a key area that consultants need to educate on – which if they did, would result in less instances of the above.

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Aug 6 2010 11:33 PM

      Very good point Cal. As recruiters we need to be on top of this so that we can best educate clients and candidates of the positives and the negatives.

  5. Gerry Condon / Aug 7 2010 10:49 AM

    I am actively looking for a new position and joined Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as part of that process. I was told very early on that all of these are public forums (forii??) so do not put anything on any of them that you would not want EVERYONE to see. This advice has stopped various Tweets of mine – they have gone as DMs instead. I don’t use facebook much and am careful what I comment on in LinkedIn.

    I work on the basis that my next employer will Google me as part of the hiring process and see all of the above. Getting my details out there to attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers to is what I am trying to do, so publishing stuff that I wouldn’t be happy with them seeing is crazy!

  6. Gerry Condon / Aug 7 2010 12:18 PM

    I’ve just seen this. http://bit.ly/bPgbeb It’s not just potential employers that look at what you Tweet and put on Facebook!

    • Mervyn Dinnen / Aug 8 2010 8:44 PM

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the link Gerry. It is an interesting conundrum…the perceived wisdom is to just be oneself on Social Media platforms, yet this has to be done in light of knowing that many people can access what you say, and will probably form an opinion of you based on that.

      Good luck in the search.

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  2. The End of the Phone? « T Recs

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