Twitter Replies & Mentions – Now An Even More Important Distinction

Twitter Lane by Duncan Hall

I’ve written about the difference between Replies and Mentions on Twitter before, but with this week’s changes to Twitter profiles, it’s even more important that you understand the distinction.

We all know that referencing someone’s twitter username with an @ symbol in front creates a link to their profile in your tweet.

Did you realise that where you place that @username can have a big impact on the visibility of your tweet?

So, what’s the difference between a reply and a mention?

When a tweet begins with @username Twitter interprets this as a reply. Only those following both you and the person you are referencing will see the tweet in their timeline.

Here’s an example of a reply:

A mention, on the other hand, references someone’s @usermane in the body of a tweet and all your followers can see it. This is why you sometimes see people putting a full-stop in front of a reply – so that it is visible to all of their followers.

Here’s an example of a mention:

With Twitter’s new profile layout, anyone viewing your profile will not see your replies without an extra click… who’s going to bother with that?

Twitter Tweets & Replies

If you go to our @UKSourcers Twitter profile and click “Tweets and replies” you will probably see some updates that wouldn’t otherwise have had come up in your main Twitter feed. You’re probably quite relieved that you didn’t have to see us saying “thanks” or “good luck” to people that you don’t follow.

So, if you’re just shooting the breeze with your friends and colleagues on Twitter, use replies as normal.

If you’re trying to spread content far and wide, or give someone kudos, make sure you mention @usernames in the body of your tweet, not at the start, so that all your followers see.

The Sourcing Jigsaw

Studying the puzzle by Liza

I was having a conversation recently with a colleague and one of the things that really stuck out in my mind is that they said that I probably know more about the organisation than they do. Of course, being bashful, I brushed the comment off and just grinned. However, upon reflection there might be some truth in that statement.

I began to think about it and began to make the connections between recruiters and their stakeholder groups. If you think about it, usually recruiters have a set group of Business Units (BUs) that they service. As a result, they become very focused on specific skill sets. So how are sourcers different? Well, as a sourcer your portfolio of work is totally variable, you can expect to jump regularly from project to project all differing in BU’s, regions and specialisms.

Where does the skill factor come into play? Speaking to different BUs, you need to quickly get to grips with how they operate within the business/ greater market, how do they fit, whom are they dependant on and what intricacies are unique to your business unit that might not necessarily be reflective of the greater market? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can intelligently have conversations with the Line Manager/Recruiters about where to look and how to find these candidates. Never assume that recruiters and line managers are bad at candidate generation, but assume they are time “poor” and explore with them the avenues that they have not been able to cover. This involvement is crucial as they know their markets and can offer insight through their experience that otherwise means you might chase dead ends.

The skilled sourcer; aside from the actual candidate finding skills, needs a thorough understanding of levels and organisation structures and how they relate to their own business. This jigsaw can be very difficult to put together, especially if you do not know how everything within your own company fits. How could you possibly try to decipher another firm’s structure without a solid base of intelligence/knowledge?

This clarity will reap great benefits, especially once you are sourcing and identifying candidates. You can then visualise where they sit in other organisations and make educated assumptions. If you can’t answer basic questions about where people sit in a company, it usually means that they are not relevant. I have an example of this; I was doing a search for a specific type of actuary, however in all my searches a specific term kept coming up. I wrote an email to the Line manager and asked him what and where this term would normally be found. He explained to me that although I was on the right track, this term typically was related to a specific type of insurance that was not of particular interest for us. It was in fact a crossroads situation where actuaries chose to specialise more in one skill than the other. The point I am trying to make, is that I learned and identified an irrelevant skillset that would have skewed my results and ultimately wasted time.

On the flip side, this intelligence is not particularly useful to our recruiter as it is not part of the BU they are covering. It will go into my memory banks though, in case we ever need one of those special actuaries to fill in another piece of the bigger picture puzzle.

The UK Sourcers Top 10 of 2012

TenWe hope you found something useful here on the UK Sourcers blog in 2012.

We’ve not been resident at for quite a whole year yet, but a rundown of our most popular content seems like the thing to do.

Make sure you haven’t missed anything on this Top 10 list…

1. Your Basic Search Engine Handbook

Download this guide by Katharine Robinson (aka @TheSourceress) for all you need to know in order to improve your use of Search Engines like Google and Bing to find anything from candidates to news or leads.

2. Things Not To Do When You Join Twitter

Everyone uses Twitter in different ways – there is no right way. There are a few things that we think you should try not to do though. Read this post if you’re thinking about dipping your toe in the Twitter pond.

3. Search for LinkedIn Profiles

This is a simple Custom Search Engine that looks only for public LinkedIn profiles of people in the United Kingdom. Enter your keywords to find profiles that might have been hidden to you before.

4. Three Sites You Have Never Thought About Sourcing From

Here we looks at how you might find talent in unexpected places like Amazon, Tumblr or Wikipedia.

5. Creative Sourcing and Candidate Attraction

Katie Lowe of Cactus Search looks at the role creativity plays in candidate souring. Katie is a Marketing & Digital Media professional and gives the vacancies at Cactus Search the biggest possible reach through a cocktail of marketing and social media.

6. Live Sourcing at Reconverse

I took my laptop down to one of the fantastic Reconverse lunch events and did a live sourcing demo. This post includes a terrible video that might give you some idea of what you can find in under 15 minutes with just an internet connection.

7. LinkedIn Scrap Their Events App – Now What?

You will have noticed that LinkedIn has been changing a lot in 2012, especially since their IPO. Near the end of this year they have been rolling out new look profiles to everyone. One of the things to fall by the wayside in this profile and feature shuffle is the LinkedIn Events App. In this post we suggests some other tools you might want to check out now that this app is no more.

8. Capital Letters – The Key To Boolean Success

This post looks at one of the most common mistakes that I see in other people’s Boolean search strings. Are you making it?

9. Are You Just Starting Out As A Sourcer In The UK?

Here you’ll find a list of advice, people to follow and events to consider attending if you’ve just started out in the world of Internet sourcing.

10. The Sourcing Function – A Journey

In this post Ralph Meyer looks at how he’s helped establish a sourcing function for talent acquisition. A must-read for all in-house practitioners wondering how sourcing fits into their model.

Do get in touch if you’d like to become a guest blogger and share your tips, experiences and sourcing wisdom with the UK Sourcers community in 2013.

Image by jesperll on Flickr.

Is it your New Year’s resolution to improve your Internet sourcing skills?

Some people join the gym, some people decide to look for a new job, if you have decided to improve your Internet sourcing skills in 2013 then join the UK Sourcers LinkedIn Group.

We will be posting a series of five sourcing assignments in the group, one every Thursday through January, to kick start or simply rejuvenate your Internet sourcing skills.

This is what we will cover;

Assignment 1: Auditing your LinkedIn profile

Being found on LinkedIn is just as important as being able to find others. It’s also important to present the best possible impression so that when you contact someone they are likely to respond to your message. A regular LinkedIn profile audit can help you keep your profile fresh, findable and looking great. [Thursday 3rd January]

Assignment 2: Critique the last job ad you posted

No responses or too many responses? Are the wrong candidates applying? Do your ads help or hinder your employer brand? This week, the wonderful Alastair Cartwright of Ingenium will talk you through a checklist of Job Ad essentials. [Thursday 10th January]

Assignment 3: Keyword brainstorming

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the keywords that you use to identify potential candidates. Whether you are searching on LinkedIn or Google, you probably use the same few words over and over. Here we’ll look at tools and tactics for making your keyword list more comprehensive and uncovering fresh candidates. [Thursday 17th January]

Assignment 4: Evolve a search string

There’s no such thing as the perfect search string. Everyone is looking for different types of candidate and there is new information being added to the web all the time. We’ll give you five search strings that all work but could be better – it’s your job to adapt them and make them work for you. [Thursday 24th January]

Assignment 5: Try a Search Engine other than Google

Google is great! Other search engines have other features though and it can be handy to know what they’re capable of should you not be able to find what you’re looking for on the Big G. [Thursday 31st January]

How to Take Part

Each assignment will be posted in the UK Sourcers LinkedIn group where the whole community can add to the tips and tricks as well as sharing results each week.

You can catch up with the program at any point by visiting the group and looking back through past posts.

If you want to get the weekly assignments delivered, hot off the press, straight to your inbox then make sure you’re a member of the UK Sourcers LinkedIn group before 3rd January 2013.

Happy Sourcing!

Top 5 Posts from 100 Days of the UK Sourcers’ Blog

The title says it all really!

  1. 5 Things Not To Do When You Join Twitter
  2. 3 Sites You’ve Never Thought About Sourcing From
  3. Creative Sourcing and Candidate Attraction – Guest Post by Katie Lowe of Cactus Search
  4. Live Sourcing At Reconverse
  5. LinkedIn Is Not The Only Fruit 

I hope you have found the last 100 days useful 🙂

If you would like to write a guest blog post, do get in touch.

LinkedIn Is Not The Only Fruit

Last week I attended the Social Recruiting Conference (#SRConf) in London. Pete Crosby from Viadeo was one of the speakers.

Viadeo is a professional networking site with around 45 million members, 10 million of which are in Europe. While this isn’t as many as LinkedIn – Viadeo has significant penetration in France.

Viadeo at srconf

If you are looking to identify talent on the continent, it could well be time to check out viadeo.

At #SRConf we heard from EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services, employing around 133,000 people at more than 170 sites worldwide. They have had significant success using Viadeo. They launched a group there which grew to over 700 members in less than one week.

Viadeo have recently launched their company pages too.

While this video focuses on small business, at the conference, Pete Crosby identified American Express as one of the first businesses to make the most of the new feature. You should also take a look at Viadeo’s own page.

If you are wondering if the kind of people you wish to hire in the UK are using Viadeo, why not try an x-ray search from Google by adding a job title or a company keyword to this search string:


Google estimates that this string returns 300,000 viadeo profiles on the gb subdomain, which might not sound like a lot, but it might include someone that you wouldn’t otherwise have found.

Do connect with me on viadeo if you are already a member or if you decide to join.

You might also want to look at Xing. Xing has over 12 million members and great coverage in Germany. Here’s my profile.

3 Sites You Have Never Thought About Sourcing From

Do you see sourcing opportunities everywhere you go? You should.

Here are three sites not usually associated with unearthing talent…

Wikipedia Logo

1. Wikipedia

We already know that Wikipedia is a great site to have in our sourcing tool kit, but what about actually finding candidates there? The thing to remember about wikipedia is that anyone can edit it. It stands to reason that the people editing or creating the articles have some expertise in that area. For example I can see that the page on Sourcing (personelle) was created by Rob Macintoch, one of the founders of SourceCon and all round sourcing legend.

Let’s say that I am trying to track down some games designers to work at a tech startup in London. If I check out the wikipedia article on Game Design then I not only find a lot of handy info that will help me with keyword identification, I also find a list of people. “Where?” I hear you ask.

On the top left of every Wikipedia article there is a “View History” tab. This allows you to see all the changes made to that article. Some people edit anonymously so you can only see details of their IP address on the history page. Other people have set up a User profile on Wikipedia and I can see their usernames against the changes they have made.

I start to look for users with profiles that have made changes to the section about the different roles of a games designer, it’s most likely that these are actually people doing the job. The first one I come across is Tom Edwards. He lists the company he works for on his profile, they just happen to be based in the UK. This is a rather hit and miss approach, so I look to use Google or another search engine to find these people more efficiently. I now know that user profiles have the word “user” in the url of the page so I can start to build a search string.


this will give me wikipedia user profiles. I can add keywords and phrases to find the people I want e.g.

inurl:user “game designer” (uk OR “united kingdom” OR london)

I could also include the names of particular games or game makers in my search string.

2. Amazon

Amazon Logo

Next time your boss catches you browsing Amazon while at work you will have a legitimate reason for being there. You’ll be sourcing talent.

One of the most useful shopping features on Amazon is the product reviews. This is the bit that is useful to us for sourcing too! Think about it, who is going to be reviewing books on game design? You could either look through the reviews of particular publications or use a search engine to find reviews that contain certain words and phrases.

“game design”

will find me product review on amazon that mention the phrase “game design”. I might need to narrow that down with some more keywords once I assess the quality of the results. We can now look at the profiles of the people that wrote those reviews. Amazon profiles don’t usually contain much information, but it’s usually enough to get you a name, which you can then put back into a search engine to find out more about a person.

You will also notice that profiles on Amazon contain the word “profile” in the URL, allowing you to search for people profiles that mention certain keywords – by doing this you will probably find profiles that have been filled in with more detail. e.g.

inurl:profile “game designer”

You will also want to consider using sites like in a similar way.

tumblr Logo

3. Tumblr

Tumblr is a blogging platform that makes it really easy to share a wide range of media types very quickly. It lends itself very well to visual content. It is definitely a darling of the social media world but not talked about very much in recruiting circles. At the time of writing, tumblr has over 57 million blogs.

Just like any of the myriad of blogging platforms out there (wordpress, blogger, posterous etc…) it is worth site: searching tumblr to see anyone you are interested in is using tumblr to demonstrate their expertise.

Sticking with our Game Designer example;

“games designer” (uk OR “united kingdom” OR london)

Among other things, this brings up a post from a Tiggy Tuppence actually showcasing some work. Tumblr does allow users to connect up Twitter and Facebook accounts but not all choose to do this. The only way to get in touch with this user through tumblr is to use the “Ask a Question” feature. I decide to google her username first though to see if it’s being used elsewhere. I’m lucky, I quickly see that Tiggy Tuppence exists on Twitter and Google+ too. I could also run the username through to find other online profiles.

What unexpected places have you unearthed talent from?

Please Help – Tell Me About Your CV

I am conducting a short survey to see just how many internet users are putting their CVs out there to be found.

CV Survey

I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and take part.

If you’d like me to send you the results when it’s done, leave me your email address or twitter name when you fill in the survey. I won’t use those contact details for anything else.

Thanks 🙂


What Makes Wikipedia A Great Sourcing Tool?

Wikipedia Birthday party in Cologne, Germany

Wikipedia went live on 15th January 2001, so has just turned 10 years old – Happy Birthday!

In honour of this, I thought I would put together a list of why it’s part of my sourcing and recruitment tool kit.

As part of your quest to find the best possible talent, Wikipedia allows you to;

Get an overview of an industry

Working in a new sector all of a sudden, need to get up to speed quickly? Wikipedia is perfect for this.

Learn the jargon

An article can quickly introduce you to a lot of buzz words surrounding a topic and often help you get an idea of what they mean. Perfect when you’re looking for keywords to aid your search or you need to ask intelligent questions of recruiters and hiring managers.

Get an overview of a job function

Never searched for a Business Development Manager before? Pop on over to Wikipedia and learn what it’s all about before you start your search.

Find lists

What would be useful, a list of NHS Trusts or a list of Social Networks? Wikipedia has got it all. It might not be perfectly accurate or up to date, but a list on Wikipedia is often a good enough start for a thorough search or investigation.

Discover links

Wikipedia recommends that contributors site the sources of the information contained in its articles. These are often great sites for further investigation.

Understand the technology

Recruiting for an expert in Fancy Widget design? No idea what a Fancy Widget does? Nip over to Wikipedia and learn the difference between a vertical axis wind turbine and a horizontal axis wind turbine – it might be import to the skills you’re looking for.

See who’s editing the pages?

I have never actually done this but it stands to reason that someone editing a page on a topic might have some kind of expertise or experience in that field… have you ever tried to source a candidate from Wikipedia?

I would recommend that Wikipedia be used as an introduction to a topic. It would be remiss of me not to remind you that it’s best to be careful and not blindly take articles at face value.

For more information on the history of Wikipedia, Verne G. Kopytoff writes about 10 Years of Edit-It-Yourself on the New York Times Internet blog and Todd Wasserman asks whether the free encyclopaedia will last for another decade on Mashable.