How to Hire in the Social Era


You see it time and again — the community manager who accidentally tweeted from his personal account at the expense of the business; the viral YouTube video that exposed an employee’s wrongdoing; the marketing idea that went sour quickly after a misunderstood Facebook post.

Some social crises are unavoidable. But, it doesn’t matter how these things happen — the brand is always to blame.

There is a fundamental transformation taking place in the workforce due to the emergence of social technologies. The demand to properly equip your company to handle the impact of social is high. Many businesses have sufficiently responded to this demand on an external level.

But, there has to be an internal shift, as well. This means transforming every traditional aspect of your corporation into a social powerhouse. One department at a time.

Transforming every traditional aspect of your corporation into a social powerhouse. One department at a time.

Get on Board, Now

The shift is already taking place, with or without your social contribution; but without it, your business will fail.

“The number of online U.S. adults who use social media sites has risen from 8% to 72% as it currently stands in the year 2013,” said Steve Olenski in a Forbes article, referencing a Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project. That’s a growth rate of 800% in just eight years.

According to a recent study, active usage of the major platforms has increased worldwide and mobile is a key driver. Half of the world’s internet users are active Facebook members. In North America, that number is nearly 60%. Facebook’s younger affiliates, Tumblr and Pinterest, have also experienced tremendous growth in the past 12 months (88% and 74% respectively).

Most companies are already on-board with social. So, if you want to compete with the corporations who are actively communicating with their consumers on a worldwide scale, you need create a socially competent enterprise.

The first step involves re-evaluating your hiring policies.

Getting Started

According to LinkedIn Talent Solutions, “Social professional networks are the fastest-growing source of quality hires. ”As a hiring manager or recruiter, you no longer have the same burden (err… I mean, joy) of sifting through references, cover letters, résumés, and CVs in order to get to know a candidate.

An applicant’s online presence will talk for them.

You need create a socially competent enterprise.

What was their previous work experience and what functions did they perform? Where did they go to school and what did they study? Ask LinkedIn. What do they think/dream/ponder about? What inspires and drives them on a daily basis? How’s their grammar? Take a look at Twitter.

The possibilities for stalking researching candidates through social are endless.

As a recruiter, you need to take advantage of these opportunities:

  • Ask for links to their social accounts
  • Research their LinkedIn profile
  • Check out their portfolios
  • Read their blogs
  • And for Pete’s sake, Google their name

Know who they are before you ever meet them.

Proceed With Caution

When you’re asking for potential employees’ social accounts, you’re basically asking them to hand over their entire (social) lives. This may not necessarily be a good thing. For example, when you look at a candidate’s FB profile, you get insight into his or her race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. — topics that could easily be tied to discrimination lawsuits. Be sure to:

  • Have it clearly outlined that you’re an equal opportunity employer and be able to back that
  • Make sure your entire hiring process is compliant with the law and that your Legal Department is just as involved in the hiring process as your HR Department
  • Social media policy: every company must have one and every employee should sign it, and have a full understanding of what it means
  • Practice what you preach. How do your company’s social accounts represent you, as a business? If they’re overflowing with images representing a mix of gender, race, and an overall positive work environment, then you’re on the right track

Candidates might be hesitant to fork over their digital identities. Too bad. It’s their loss. Each employee represents a tiny piece of your company. And in the social era, the actions and thoughts of these tiny pieces are exposed to billions of people on a daily basis.

As a hiring manager, you have to make sure to select the right pieces — the people who will represent your brand in the right way.

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Image credit- halfpoint / 123RF Stock Photo

Jeremy Epstein is VP/Marketing at Sprinklr, a cloud-based software that provides Social Relationship Infrastructure to over 300 of the world’s largest, most social brands like Intel, Microsoft, Hearst Digital, and Virgin America. Prior to joining Sprinklr in February 2012, Jeremy was the Founder/CEO of Never Stop Marketing, an international consulting firm which served F50 clients such as Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft. The author of four books, Jeremy served as the lead instructor for Microsoft’s global Digital and Social Marketing training programs. He has spoken in 17 different countries and worked in Frankfurt and Tokyo. Jeremy has a B.A. in History and a double minor in Economics & German from Johns Hopkins University and studied International Relations and Marketing in Germany and Japan.

  • Amen, Jeremy. CV’s/Resumes are outdated, 2D brochures on prospective hires. You can get a far better picture via social profiles and Google. In fact, I invite anyone to Google the name “Jeff Ogden” to see what comes up.

    Jeff Ogden, Creator and Host
    Marketing Made Simple TV

  • Pingback: Why Knowledge Is Not Power()

  • A few states have already banned employers from asking for access to a candidates social media page.

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