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How Brands Recruit Talent Using Hashtags: An interview with Jose Watson, social media innovator and corporate recruiter

Innovative brands use hashtags and social media to establish meaningful connections with potential customers, employee candidates and potential partners. We had the pleasure of interviewing Jose Watson, a recruiter for a major home improvement chain in the Fortune 50 with over 1600 locations in North America. He shares his top tips in this edition of #twubchat — tips that translate across any business eager to connect with attendees at events (or job hunters looking to connect with potential employers).

Key Takeaways for using hashtags and social media to connect at events:brands recruit using hashtags

1. Use your event’s hashtag well before the event begins

Jose uses social listening tools like Tweetdeck to monitor the hashtag before it actually begins and tweets from his personal account where he is clearly identified as a recruiter. Attendees appreciate connecting with a person rather than a company logo prior to the event. On the day of the event, Jose’s team wore t-shirts with his hashtag (#LowesMBA), had tweets displayed on a monitor at their booth space and had the hashtag printed on collateral. These tactics increase the activity around his brand’s hashtag.

2. If you’re looking to connect with potential employers, be prepared.

Jose mentioned that job applicants who catch his eye as a recruiter show they’ve come prepared to interact on social media. Some have tweets already written out (ready to post), others create landing pages to their resumes. Create pre-shortened links to one’s LinkedIn profile so they can easily be tweeted out using the event hashtag.

3. When creating a hashtag for an event, keep it short.

Avoid lengthy hashtags when creating one for your event . “Research shows the ideal length for a tweet” Jose shared, “is 100 characters or less, so keep those hashtags short.”  The chances of getting a retweet increase if you can keep your tweets brief, and a shorter hashtag helps.

4. Keep connections going after your event.

Jose shared two creative ways his team stays connected after an event. They use Canva to create digital thank you notes to send to those who used their hashtag. These notes are personalized by referencing any notes taken at the event booth. Another way they continue engagement is to use #ThrowbackThursday (a Twitter convention where people post nostalgic photos) to display past event photos. This encourages ongoing interaction on social media.

5. Think beyond connecting with attendees. Don’t forget other exhibitors.

Many event organizers release lists of attendees and exhibitors prior to the event. Use these lists to research potential connections before the event begins. Jose shares “Looking forward to meeting you at ….” tweets to establish connections with other companies. These interactions will show up on their timelines, thus increasing exposure for his company’s brand.

6. Consider live streaming at your next event.

At one of his events, students interacted with oversized board games set up for attendees at a career exploration event. Jose used a live Periscope feed of the fun to extend the social shares beyond the actual event. Comments from remote viewers came like, “Oh, I wish I was there!” The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real and smart brands use this to their advantage. Creating videos also “keeps what happened alive” so that social sharing is facilitated. A note of caution: Be sure to head off potential issues by having Releases available at the time of live streaming. It would be a shame to have excellent video captured but not usable because proper permissions weren’t gathered.

7. User-generated content is always a good idea.

One way to creatively capture an event is to let a customer take over your brand’s Instagram feed for the day. This provides two benefits: 1) The perspective of someone other than the brand is a refreshing twist for the followers of your company’s Instagram content and 2) the customer sharing his / her perspective feels honored and empowered to be generating content on the company’s behalf.

Corporate recruiters are getting creative when it comes to identifying and connecting with potential candidates.  Innovative social media practitioners like Jose Watson use social listening, hashtags and events to recruit talent to his remarkable organization. Whether your organization uses social media for inbound recruiting or customer engagement, his practical insights apply. Follow Jose on Twitter by clicking here or on by clicking here.

Catch the replay of the interview below: