Twitter Could Become the Unemployed’s Best Friend
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER
One of Twitter’s advantages is that unlike e-mail messages or Facebook updates, tweets can reach an unknown audience — a benefit that recruiters, human resources departments and job-seekers are fast discovering.
In the last month, 340,000 jobs have been listed on Twitter, said William Fischer, co-founder of WorkDigital, which created TwitJobSearch, a site that searches Twitter for jobs.
The latest tool that job hunters can use to find openings is called JobDeck, a new product from TwitJobSearch and TweetDeck, a desktop Twitter application.
TwitJobSearch scans Twitter for job postings by paying attention to the context in which employment-related keywords appear. For example, if a Tweet links to a story about the construction industry losing jobs, that should not show up on the list. If a Tweet says there is a job listing for an assistant to the vice president, the search engine needs to categorize it under openings for assistants, not vice presidents.
“If someone has 20 followers and they say, ‘We’re thinking of hiring a new sous-chef’ and a link to the restaurant blog, their 20 friends would know,” said William Fischer, co-founder of WorkDigital. “But somebody could come to our Web site, put in ‘restaurant work Bay Area’ and see it.”
JobDeck, the new service, adds other things, like Tweets from human resources professionals and the ability to set up continuous searches. It also pulls in job listing status updates from LinkedIn, which recently teamed with Twitter. Advertisers, including KFC and Adidas, submit job listings and can pay for premium placement in the search engine.
WorkDigital built TwitJobSearch on a lark to demonstrate how its search engine technology works, Mr. Fischer said, and he has been surprised that so many people use it. Twitter is a “cheaper, faster and easier” way to recruit, he said.
Other companies looking to hire have also been surprised by Twitter’s potential for reaching applicants.
On Jan. 7, Richard Barton, chief executive of the real estate Web site Zillow.com, fired off this Tweet: “Greg Slyngstad & I are cooking up a consumer internet startup. R U our founding CTO? Seeking smart, passionate team-builder.” (Mr. Slyngstad and Mr. Barton helped start Expedia together.)
“We were deluged with résumés,” Mr. Barton said. “It’s the most powerful recruiting tool I’ve ever used.”
He has also hired three Zillow employees using Twitter, including its new marketing director. Mr. Barton says Twitter is especially useful for job announcements because, unlike e-mail, recipients do not need to respond unless they are interested in applying or know someone who might be.