Robins and rain showers have always been a sure sign of spring. But the birds and clouds in this year’s forecast are signaling a dramatic change in the recruitment landscape. Can Twitter overtake the Job Boards?

Twitter’s Lead-Generating Potential

Twitter is mainstream micro-blogging. Its social media meant to generate a stream of online reactions or real-time conversations. Bulk feeding job postings into this forum is really missing the point, if not simply doling out spam. Furthermore, Twitter participation is opt-in only, making it impossible to bombard anyone with job opportunities if they do not choose to follow you. Not many people want to follow an ongoing job feed. On the outset, Twitter’s reach as a sweeping recruitment tool seems rather unimpressive.

However, a major corporate employer recently began experimenting with an automated Twitter job feed. Expectations were low and the number of job-stream followers were even lower. Then the unexpected happened. With only 50 official followers, the Twitter job-stream account began generating over 200 quality resumes per week. Turns out similar Twitter success stories are being kept in corporate closets. Now the secret is getting out. Only no one seems to know how it’s actually working. With limited followers, where are the leads coming from?

Job Clouds on the Horizon?

Like any and all online content, everything posted to Twitter can be searched. Twitter is an open platform that is very easy to get content into and out of. And unlike the Job Boards, it’s completely free. Now job search engines dedicated to Twitter are springing up, such as TwitJobSearch and TweetMyJobs. Combined with the “pass on the information” nature of social media, we start to see where Twitter candidates may be coming from: anywhere and everywhere!

This phenomenon has Matt Alder of MetaShift forecasting “Job Clouds,” a specialized form of the keyword cloud we are now so familiar with. This will effectively result in a free, Twitter-powered, open access database of jobs much larger than the closed databases Job Boards currently control and charge fees for – things are getting dicey for our friends at Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.

Out-of-Control Forecast

Twitter’s staying power is still a heavily debated topic. Many do not see a real business model for the micro-blogging service and predict Twitter’s novelty and simplicity will eventually wear out. The Job Boards may outlast Twitter’s final tweet.

What’s clear is that long-guarded control of job opportunities is being overtaken by continued advancements in open communication. Closed, expensive, and proprietary candidate databases are slowly moving into the great abyss of the recruiting industry – joining the like of radio job ads and print ads.  Although Twitter is an interesting way to open the vault to the massive number of candidates in today’s internet clouds, this is just the beginning of technologies to follow.