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Sourcing Hacks: Two Surefire Ways to Find Candidates on Twitter


If you’re anything like us, you probably have Twitter open on your computer from the minute you get into work until you shut up shop at the end of the day. From getting the inside scoop from thought leaders in the industry to asking recruitment burning questions in Q&A sessions; there’s no doubt about it – Twitter is a fantastic platform for recruiters to use to stay on top of their game.

But have you ever actually used Twitter to source candidates for your open roles? Today, we’re sharing two top-notch sourcing hacks for finding potential candidates on Twitter!

Sourcing Hack #1: Use Followerwonk

The best way to search Twitter users’ bios is to use ‘Followerwonk’, rather than the Twitter platform itself. The tool is free to use, although it does restrict some features at the basic level. Despite this, you can still search the entire Twitter network with a free account, and it’s an excellent way for you to find potential candidates.


Once you log into Followerwonk (using your Twitter credentials), you simply need to click ‘Search Twitter bios’ as well as the ‘More Options’ button under the search bar and from there you’ll be able to start putting your searches together. You’re going to use two main fields to search – the main search bar, and the ‘Location’ field.

One thing to really keep in mind is that Twitter is different to LinkedIn in that when users set up their profiles, there is no pre-populated list for them to choose their current location – it’s a free text field. So users can type in their town, city, country, or they can even leave it blank altogether if they want to! So when you’re choosing locations to search for in Followerwonk, you need to remember this. For instance, someone that lives in Dublin could have their location as ‘Rathmines’ or ‘Dublin’ or ‘Ireland’.


The good news is that the main search field and the ‘Location’ field in Followerwonk both support Boolean search strings. BUT (and there’s a big but…), the traditional AND, OR and NOT operators aren’t supported by the search engine so you need to use alternative operators in their place. Let’s take a look at each one individually.

search operators on FollowerwonkAND:

Instead of writing the word AND in your search strings, you just need to put a space between words, the exact same way as you would on Google.


Instead of writing OR, you need to use | , which is a special character on your keyboard, generally found above the shift key.


Instead of writing NOT, you just need to use – (a minus sign).

“” and ()

You can still use brackets and parentheses for terms as well as grouping synonym sets.

So a search in Followerwonk to find a potential candidate for a marketing role in Dublin would look something like this at a very basic level…

Followerwonk Twitter search


So you’ve performed a search to find potential candidates using Followerwonk, and hurray! Your results are busting at the seams. Now you want to be able to quickly sort through the pile to see what profiles are of interest to you. You can sort the results by the number of tweets posted by the person, how many people they are following, how many people are following them, and so on. From there you can launch individual profiles in a new window to take a closer look, and if they look like they could be a good fit for the role and from there you can ‘Follow’ and/or reach out to them on Twitter.

Sourcing Hack #2: Search Tweets

Searching people’s Twitter bios is great, but it won’t find everyone, because…you’ve guessed it – not everybody has their job title in their bio! There are so many people out there that are highly active on Twitter, but for some reason or another just didn’t fill out their bio when they set up their profiles.

So to try to find these people, you should search for keywords that you think that they would tweet regularly. Because generally, if someone is tweeting about a particular topic, you can bet your bottom dollar that they have a skill in that particular area themselves. So how do you find these people? Simple. By doing a search on Twitter that searches people’s tweets!

So in order to go this, the first thing you need to do is have a think about what words the candidates that you are looking for would put in their tweets. Let’s say that you are working on a rec to rec assignment. You’d assume that the majority of recruiters on Twitter will be tweeting phrases like ‘I’m hiring’ or ‘We are hiring’ quite a bit.


Type the terms that you want to search for in the search bad on the top right-hand corner of your Twitter account. Remember, you can use a Boolean string to search, but not all of the operators are the same as LinkedIn, or even Followerwonk (see details below).

When you get your search results, make sure that you click on ‘More options’ and filter by ‘Tweets’. This will show you a list of all of the tweets that include the term that you searched for. You can also choose to tick ‘Near You’ so that you narrow down your results to people tweeting in your general location. Once you’re happy that you have quality results, you can then start to click into individual profiles and contact the candidate from there if you feel that they could be a good fit for the position. You can also choose to save your search in the ‘More options’ tab so that you can easily access it again at a later time.

Using Boolean on Twitter

So which search operators does Twitter support in terms of Boolean? Both in the Advanced Search and the top search bar, when you put a space between two words, that means ‘AND’. You can use the ‘OR’ operator just fine, so no need to use | because it won’t work! You should use a – (minus) operator in place of ‘NOT’, as it’s not supported on Twitter. Just remember that if you want to exclude a particular term from your search that is more than one word long, you need to include quotation marks, just as you would if you were searching on LinkedIn. Brackets are also perfectly fine to use in your searches on Twitter.

trial-dashboardAnd there you have it – two easy but surefire ways to find potential candidates on Twitter. And when it comes to sourcing hacks, there are plenty more where that came from!

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