We live in interesting times. Can we all agree on that?

I remember the tanky economy in 91 and then again in 99. And like, now. The one benefit we have now is the social media that energizes and streamlines our ability to connect with just about anyone. I'm not just talking about your high school crush (helloooo facebook). I'm talking about professionally.

Recruiters these days learn about how to use these technologies to find and track prospects (not in a creepy way...we really don't care that much what you do in your spare time....well, I don't). Flip that upside down and you can see how a prospect (this means you if you are not only looking for a new position but also if you are mindful of networking opportunities that will pay off down the road). So here's a little holiday tip from me to you...

Find recruiters on Twitter. Oh, the recruiting industry is all abuzz about the Twitters; annoyingly referring to tweets and such. I could do without all the cutesy little words but the technology is there. Oh, I still find the technology sometimes annoying when one feels that their most mundane hygiene habits are interesting enough to update people on. But lately, I have noticed people using Twitter as employment brand building and job push channels. The interwebz are a series of tubes after all.

The method that a recruiter uses to find a tweeting prospect can be used to find a recruiter. I'll show you two things 1) Searching Twitter for recruiter activity and 2) searching for Twitter profiles of recruiters. It just depends on what you are looking for. Let's start with searching for activity (also, ridiculously named tweets).

Go to search.twitter.com.  I have a couple tips on how to search for recruiter activity using keywords or hashtags. You'll get different results. So it's worth playing round with.  I recommend starting with keywords and using them to identify that tags that most interest you, keeping in mind that this will only return results of recruiters who tag similarly. Searching for keywords returns results (the actual tweets) that contain those words, searching by hashtags returns tweets that are tagged with a specific hashtag.  So for example, on the search site, type on "marketing jobs" (sans quotes) and you will find tweets (lord help me) that include those 2 words (not necessarily together). Are any of those results from recruiters? If so, look at their profile. Do their companies interest you? Are they using hashtags (a word preceded by #)? If so, make a note of the hashtag and use it to conduct more searches for tweets on the same topic. the easiest way to think of hashtags is as communities. Anyone can create a hashtag of their own, but typically for certain topics, the community will adopt a specific hashtag and use it for posts regarding that topic.

Let's try this out for fun. I'll pretend that I am looking for a job in sales. So I go onto search.twitter.com (you could also just go to twitter.com but the page is busier) and in the search field, I will type in: sales jobs. Hit send and you'll see tweets containing those two words. Looking through these, I can see that people are using the #jobs hashtag when they are tweeting a job posting. So if I am only looking for job listings, I'll include #jobs as one of the keywords: sales #jobs. There may be some more specific hashtags that work for a particular industry. Searching bu hashtag gives you variations of the same. You can also use the advanced search feature to search additional attributes of tweets; search by a time range, for example

In order to search on Twitter profiles,you can x-ray Twitter (meaning you are going to search web pages with that domain). Let's say you want to find some recruiters that are located in Seattle. Go in to a search engine (might I suggest Bing?) and put in this search string:

site:twitter.com AND "location Seattle"  recruiter

You are asking the search engine to pull results from the Twitter.com domain that contain a location listing for Seattle (location-space-city is how Twitter displays them on profiles) and also containing the word "recruiter" (as in someone's job title). Use any search terms you want that may appear in a Twitter profile. Going back to my example, I may include the word "sales" to find sales recruiter profiles on Twitter within my selected geography. Click on the search results and you will return Twitter pages that return the profile of the person as well as their most recent tweets. If yo find some recruiters that interest you, you may find that they are tweeting jobs (remember: #jobs) or using other hashtags that take you to additional relevant info.

You know what all this is leading to. If you want to be the best recruiter stalker, you are going to have to join Twitter and actually "follow" these Twitterers (meaning that their posts will show up on your Twitter page). If you take the time to set this all up, you'll get jobs and little pieces of interesting info about your target companies, in your target locations pushed out to you. Ain't nothing wrong with that.