Sunday, 27 March 2011

Is Twitter the New LinkedIn?

Pulling a page straight from the Charlie Sheen playbook, a prominent ad agency just hired its summer interns based on a search conducted solely through Twitter.  First Charlie Sheen and now an established advertising firm, it begs the question:  is Twitter #winning as the new LinkedIn?

Twitter, the real time social network better known for introducing random thoughts in 140 characters or less, may just be moving into a new market:  job search tool.

Sheen, the troubled actor turned Twitter phenom, was the first to give the Twitter job search trend a boost earlier this month when he turned not to, or LinkedIn to advertise for an intern.

He sent a Tweet.

And 70,000 people applied to his #winning hashtag, while nearly 100,000 people clicked on the link in the first hour, AllTwitter reported at the time.

And now, one of the nation’s top ad agencies, Minneapolis-based Campbell Mithun, for the first time put its annual “Lucky 13” internship search solely on Twitter, and got its largest response ever.

The agency last week announced the six interns handpicked from a pool of 425 applicants who “submitted their resume,” “interviewed,” and made their case for the 10-week, paid internship via 13 separate 140-character tweets on Twitter.

Applicants were asked to submit 13 “career-launching Tweets” in 13 days, February 13-25, using the hashtag #L13. A “Lucky 13 Twitter Response Team” of Campbell Mithum employees engaged with the applicants and narrowed the field down to 32, who were each interviewed via Skype.

The intern program is known as the Lucky 13 after the favorite number of a Campbell Mithum founder.

Campbell Mithun also created a Twitter feed with the handle @the_Lucky_13 to let other tweeters follow the process.

“Using Twitter gave our applicants the opportunity to showcase their digital understanding and creativity, while highlighting their personality and passion for advertising,” Debbie Fischer, Campbell Mithun’s vice president and human resources manager, said in a statement.

Applicants also interacted with one another on Twitter, showcasing their “public engagement with each other and the industry,” Fischer said.

Enabling that engagement gives a point to Twitter, but is the site serious enough to use as a human resources tool, or is it just a tool for companies anxious to make a splash?

Twitter does have 190 million users; offers access to big decision-makers most job-seekers would never have; and, did we mention it has more than 190 million users?

Charlie Sheen, after all, picked up 675,000 followers less than 12 hours after sending his first-ever tweet, #winning hashtag and all.

But that is also a reminder it is Twitter, the site that gives voice to #winning and #tigerblood and enables you to know when Kim Kardashian wakes up, or Ashton Kutcher brushes his teeth.

Tell us what you think.  Is Twitter the right forum for a job search?  Can it #win over LinkedIn?