Twitter, Job Hunting and Hiring


When Twitter first flew into my life in 2008, I thought it was a joke. And with people using words like “Tweeps” and “Tweet-ups” I was rolling my eyes. Now, I’m sure it’s no less than 100 times a day I check @writingthesurf. It took me several months before I could take it seriously. It took nearly a year before I saw how people were using it in their job searches, without even knowing that’s what they were doing.

Being a Recruiter, at that time, I was always looking for ways to connect with my clients and new web development (my speciality) talent. It seemed like Developers were embracing this Twitter-thing and networking away. It was different than Facebook or Linkedin. Less formal, and ironically, more telling. Even though people weren’t sharing their photos or job history, they were talking about technology, innovation and they didn’t need to “friend” anyone or know their email address to connect. Anyone I intended on having a relationship with I would find on Twitter and follow them. In 2009 the list wasn’t terribly wrong. But it sure grew fast!

This platform changed the way I recruited. But even bigger, it changed the entire job hunt.

Recently I interviewed 10 different Web Developers for a series on my company blog called How To Become a Front End Developer. When asked how they find new jobs and network, every single one of them said social media. 9 of 10 said Twitter. It’s not just Developers, there are many other professions using Twitter to network and find new opportunities. (And if you’re the one hiring these people and you’re not on Twitter, you better re-think your hiring process.)

Developer or otherwise, think about the kind of people you want on your team. Regardless of the language you want them to be proficient in, content you want them to create or pieces you want them to design, you need them to be resourceful and well networked. Those two things make a strong team. Not to say if you don’t have a team full of tweet-crazed players, you’re in trouble. But if you’re looking to add to your team, Twitter should probably be your first stop.

I’m often asked “Twitter or LinkedIn?” It depends on what you’re looking for. If I’m researching skill set, where someone has worked or who recommends them, LinkedIn. If I’m trying to learn about a human being and build a relationship, Twitter. All day. You gain a better understanding of who they are, as a person, what they’re passionate and knowledgeable about and who they engage with. All of those things are important if you’re hiring someone. But they’re equally as important if you’re going to work for someone.

If you’re looking for a job or looking to hire someone, beef up your Twitter activity. Follow people you can learn from. Create lists to help you monitor and organize the people you follow. Most importantly, genuinely engage with the community you want to tap into. Even though I’m no longer a Recruiter, I still connect with new people every day on Twitter. Many of my former talent and clients are now my friends and part of my network. It’s not about the right now, it’s about the relationship down the road. 

Have you found a job or hired someone via Twitter or social media? I would love to hear about it!

5 Reasons Freelancers Should Know A Recruiter

I’m not a freelancer. I never have been. So why listen to me? Here’s why: because I was the person hiring them. I was also the person who helped businesses and agencies hire their freelancers. And I was the person who helped many freelancers find work on their own.

I spent years as a Recruiter. Yeah, I know, it can be a dirty word. I was even on a SXSW panel called “Recruiters are full of shit, I am one.” As a freelancer, you can find work on your own. But Recruiters do more than help people FIND work. They have a view into the market, you don’t. They’re also your biggest champion. If you’re new to freelancing or it’s the only thing you’ve ever known, here are five ways you can benefit from knowing a Recruiter who may never put you to work.

1. They understand the market. I hate the word “pulse” but that’s exactly what the Recruiters have on the market. It’s their job. Knowing hiring trends, market rates and understanding the needs of businesses is what they MUST know to do their jobs well. Everyone can benefit from having a little more info around the company they’re interested in partnering with.

2. They can help you prepare. Recruiters understand the inner workings of organizations. Both from talking to people who have worked there and those who hire for their open roles. Even if you found an opportunity on your own but you’re curious about environment, reputation or morale of the company, the history, even simple things like dress code, they can help. Being a freelancer, doesn’t always mean working from home, in your pajamas, so why not get the inside scoop on what to expect? 

3. They know how to help you market yourself. They can give you feedback on your resume, your portfolio and your approach. They can direct you to the appropriate people (decision makers.) You’re an awesome Designer? Great! The reality is, you might be able to design your way into anywhere, but knowing how to get in there, is a different story. 

4. They’ll throw jobs your way. There are plenty of reasons a Recruiter might pass a job to someone. They might only work “full time” jobs, they know businesses who don’t have budgets for staffing companies or they hear through their network a company, who is not their client, is hiring. I was able to pass along freelance jobs directly to freelancers, they would have never have come across on their own. You can be well networked, but a busy hiring manager can be a catch twenty-two. Recruiters often know the pain points and can send those jobs your way. 

5. They can help you negotiate. Freelancers can get stuck in a rate rut. They charge the same thing year after year. Recruiters are well versed in negotiation and market rates. They can help you figure out if you’re not charging enough and how to increase your rate while keeping your clients happy. Some freelancers are not good at negotiating what they deserve. A Recruiter can guide you through the process.

Let’s be honest, we can’t do it all on our own, no matter the career choice. Wondering what the Recruiter gets out of this? They’re playing the long game. Ultimately, it’s reciprocal. When you see their value, you’ll pass it on. And you will have friends and/or fellow freelancers who need help, from time to time, and a Recruiter can help them find work. I know plenty of freelancers who don’t want (or have time) to find their next gig. Recruiters do the leg-work for them. Either way, everyone benefits.

Good Recruiters and good freelancers thrive on building solid relationships. Sure there are crappy people who end up being Recruiters …and Developers and Designers and Teachers and Firemen. All professions have a few jerks. Recruiters do get paid based on who they place in jobs. Freelancers get paid on a project basis. Everyone has to work to get paid. If we all did it the same way, nobody would make any money.

You never know when you’ll meet someone who can change your career.