I find way too many HR and Talent leaders and pros are using Twitter to confirm ideas and thoughts they are having: “I heard,” “I found,” “I saw”. . . and when I ask where did you see and hear these things, it almost always starts with Twitter or Insta.
We want to believe that reaching out to a platform like Twitter is a great, quick way to gather research. “Well, I see that most people hate ‘X!’ ” or “It seems like everyone is talking about how to find a job on Clubhouse!”
The fact is, people on Twitter are not your candidates. People on Twitter are not normal. I am not normal. I’m basically a psychopath who likes to hear myself think out loud and see if anyone responds. Almost everyone I know on Twitter, who actually uses the platform daily, shares the same psychological makeup. There are a bunch of normal folks, but they basically just lurk and laugh at the clowns. Yes, I’m a clown.
Twitter users are more likely to be neurotics and narcissists than the normal population, by a lot, based on a number of academic studies. Let’s run the numbers from a talent pool perspective:
- Roughly 69 million Twitter users in the US. Less than half of those are daily active users, so let’s say 30 million daily.
- The total full-time workforce in the US is 120 million.
- 70% of the daily 30 million Twitter users are male (not super-inclusive).
- 42% of Twitter users have a college degree, 25% have no college at all.
- 65% of Twitter users identify as Democrat.
- 92% of Tweets come from 10% of Twitter users!
The reality in thinking you can gather solid employment data, employment branding data, candidate data, or anything remotely useful from Twitter is naive at best. It’s a giant megaphone for narcissists, like me. Let me be clear, I’m not super happy that I’m a narcissist. Also, it’s not stopping me from going on Twitter every day, I like it, I have fun with it.
Your Candidates Are Not On Twitter!
I don’t truly see many organizations really trying to recruit on Twitter. That’s a good thing; we figured out it’s not really a recruiting pool. The problem is way too many TA and HR pros are using Twitter as their major source of information that impacts their thinking about candidates.
When you’re listening to the 10% of voices on Twitter you need to add a super filter on what you’re hearing. “I mean, except for me, I’m totally fine, right?” (See, what I mean!) If you don’t truly know who you are reading tweets from, you should take whatever is said as complete bullsh*t. It might be true, or it might be just completely made up. At the very best, it’s just opinion.
So what am I really trying to say?
Normal people—your candidates, the people you want to hire—are not on Twitter. Basically, all of us on Twitter, are unhireable. Normal people aren’t on Twitter, or if they are, they’re just lurking. Normal people don’t have time to yell into the internet just to see who will get offended.
If you truly want to learn who your candidates are and gather good intel on them, ask them! You have a database of thousands, sometimes millions of people who applied to your jobs (who you mostly ignored) who I’m sure would love to give you some real feedback! They’ll tell you who they are and what they think.
The most underutilized source of data every TA shop has is our own database. Very few TA shops actually survey their candidates on a normal basis; the vast majority have never sent one survey out to their candidates. It’s a giant miss to collect the best data you can ever get about who your candidates are and where to find more of them that you have at your disposal.
But, don’t believe me, I’m a daily Twitter user! Follow me @TimSackett where I love to share made-up employment stats that I think are funny and that some people will share with their executives as real data!
If you Google “Tim Sackett” you’ll find our Tim, and a truck driver chaplain. Our Tim is NOT the truck driver chaplain, although how awesome would that be if he was!? He is a prolific writer in the HR and TA space who just happens to also run an Engineering and IT contract staffing agency (HRU Technical Resources) out of Michigan. He also writes every day at his own blog, the Tim Sackett Project. Weirdly, he’s known as an expert in workplace hugging, which was kind of cool years ago, but now seems painfully creepy, but we still love him and he’s fairly harmless. Tim is also on the board of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP), lifetime Michigan State Spartan fan, husband to a Hall of Fame wife, 3 sons, and his best friend Scout. He also wrote a book with SHRM called The Talent Fix, you can find it on Amazon.