Five Things We Learned From Doing A Twitter Only Recruitment

About five or six years ago I applied for another job. It would have been a significant promotion – nearly doubling what I earned at the time.

I went through the usual shenanigans that come with this type of recruitment. The huge application form. The CV. The covering letter. The telephone interview. The online assessment. The endless psychometric tests.

I don’t think I got to speak to a human employed by the actual company until I was at the final stage interviews.

What I remember about the culture was in the five hours I was there no-one offered me a cup of tea. And no-one in the offices laughed.

I never got the job in the end (I had a message left on my voicemail telling me so) so I’ll never know whether I’d have sacrificed my principles for a payslip.

But I know that someone wasted an awful lot of money on recruitment when we could have just started with a social conversation.


Two weeks ago we started a new experiment to mark the launch of our Innovation Lab. What if we literally crowdsourced the people we would work with?

What if we only recruited via Twitter?

This is still a work in progress – we are still having conversations. But in the spirit of capturing learning as you go – here’s my top five:

Your networks network for you

The buzz that has been created has been tremendous. Each of the role profiles on Slideshare has been viewed over 2000 times – with combined views of nearly 9000. That’s way above the normal hits we’d get on a conventional recruitment.

But –note to excited recruiters reading this – don’t think that just by tweeting your job openings you’ll get the same results. That interest has been generated by getting the support from people like Dominic Campbell, Immy Kaur, Mervyn Dinnen and Helen Reynolds. And the other 200 people who have tweeted about it. Build up an engaged social support network. You get interaction through building relationships – not broadcasting or posting flashy slide decks.

You can react in real time

Recruiting via social gives you constant feedback. The first stage took place over 10 days meaning we could adapt to feedback and amend the process as we went along. So , for example, I picked up very early on that the inclusion of Klout as an indicator of social influence was putting people off. I was able to remove this from the application criteria and feedback publicly. This helped boost interest as well as build rapport.

Similarly – a conversation about the “geekiness” of the slides led to comments about the lack of interest from women. We were able to amend this and call specifically for more female interest highlighting the flexibility.

It reduces waste

A couple of people have already dropped out of the process. They’ve been googling me. I’ve been googling them. We’ve had a couple of conversations about the way the Lab will work and we’ve agreed we’ve got different ideas but can perhaps collaborate in another way. Ever been in the first 5 minutes of an 45 minute interview knowing this is wrong for both parties? Yep – a huge waste of everyones time.

A couple of people from HR and legal backgrounds have suggested that we are potentially breaking employment law here as we could discriminate against applicants based upon what we find on Google.

Come on.

We are just trying something different. If you think you’ve got sexist,homophobic,racist,ageist managers I’d suggest you’ve got bigger things to worry about than Twitter. Thanks Jacqui Mortimer for supporting me here – every HR team needs someone like you!

People are shaping our thinking

Already the nature of the conversations , and the wonderful diversity of interest , has led us to start making amends to the way the Lab will work. It’s become less about how people fit into our boxes and more about tearing those boxes apart and building around people. It’s more organic and is evolving day by day.

Who knows. Your next restructure might well be crowdsourced.

It’s 24/7 and global

Imagine the talent you might miss out on because people are on holiday or travelling. That doesn’t happen on social media. Word gets around. I’ve had interest from Europe , the USA and South America. Right now whilst writing this post I’m messaging someone in South East Asia.

I haven’t had a lot of naysayers but probably the biggest misconception is that this approach would only work for these type of roles.

I don’t get that. It’s 2014 and perfectly conceivable that a Housing Association could employ someone based in Indonesia. Geography is less important than broadband speed.

Maybe we need to stop thinking about what our organisations are today and start imagining what they could be.

Hope you find this interesting – I’ll update you soon.  Thanks for the support from everyone – I can’t name check you all!

Be great to hear your views.



Social Media Training: Don’t Mention #Socialmedia


Everything good in life , a cool business , a great romance , a powerful social movement – begins with a conversationDaniel H. Pink  

Part of the reason for starting this blog was to share the journey Bromford are on towards becoming a social business. Two years in – what have we learned?

A social business attracts people who are passionate about what they do.

Passionate people like to talk about the difference they make.

A social business isn’t afraid about those people taking centre stage.

The experiences they create for customers result in conversations.

The conversations become the brand.

So , if Dan Pink is right , and I believe he is , why when it comes to social media do we often talk about the medium itself and not the conversation?

Let’s face it – you wouldn’t teach a child to read by explaining about the apostrophe , the semicolon and the paragraph. You’d start with the compelling story.

One of the questions I’m asked the most is “How do Bromford train people on Social Media?”

And that brings me to Immy Kaur and #MyStory.

Immy is the strangest of creatures – a genuine evangelist for the power of social media for social good. But she never talks about social media.

Indeed the approach to her #MyStory workshops – which have been sweeping across Bromford Support – is unique: train people on social media without actually mentioning it.

#MyStory is built all around the person and the conversation. Who are they? What do they care about?

The medium is irrelevant. The conversation is everything.


Immy has written a brilliant post on the approach– which I urge you to read.  But I want to pick out a couple of things that I think we can all learn from.

1-   “Don’t be an Egg”

One of the first things #MyStory teaches is to express yourself as a person. So start with your bio. Why should someone follow you? Don’t waste time with all that guff about “these opinions are mine and not my employers” – say something useful about yourself. Here is profile of someone who has the #MyStory treatment. They make me want to know more about the person. They make me want to connect.

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2 – “Don’t be Corporate”

Trying to get people to adopt a corporate tone of voice on SM is what scares people off. It would be like me trying to talk in a Welsh accent. I’d find it uncomfortable. I’d probably get it wrong. And I’d feel a bit silly.

Let people be themselves.  If you don’t it will come across as less than authentic. But , as Immy said to me , ” you have to be brave , you have to step out of your comfort zone. As management you are allowing people freedom, cultivating creativity and ultimately opening colleagues to a whole new world, you have to trust your culture and your colleagues to let it thrive.”

2 – Stop thinking social media and start thinking people

I asked Immy for her take on People Powered Social Media. This is what she said:

“In order to get a great wave of communicators, you have to tap into their passions, why they come to work, what they care about inside and outside. Once you look at the person, invest in their development, care about what they care about and then put social into the mix, you will have engaged colleagues that are content creators – inspiring others in the world around them. It’s self sustainable like this, they will get it, they will look at new innovations themselves, they won’t need to be spoon fed, they won’t need top down instructions about how they should talk about their work and their stories. They will engage with the world around them and ensure they are relevant to what people are talking about.”

There a million and one self proclaimed Social Media experts out there but I don’t think you will come across much wiser advice than that.

Immy has provided a wonderful list of Bromford Support Colleagues who are all telling #MyStory. Over 160 of them. That sounds like the start of a powerful social movement.

Maybe if Dan Pink did social media training – it would be #MyStory

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