Forbes last week published a story about social marketing talent. The story briefly touched on the conundrum of the modern hiring manager: Is it wise to hire someone with a lot of social business experience and knowledge?
The narrative detailed the positives and negatives of hiring someone with lots of “Klout.” On one hand, according to the story, a candidate with a lot of social business experience is a “natural sharer,” ready and willing to help add benefit internally and externally. On the other, social business mavens may put their personal brand ahead of their new employer’s brand. They may also create chaos by asking too many questions.
It’s an interesting problem that doesn’t really have a one-size-fits-all answer. Every manager must make the best decision he or she can using the very thing that invariably led to that candidate’s experience: social media.
Start with LinkedIn. What kinds of groups is the candidate involved in? How frequently do they start or comment on discussion threads? What’s the overall tone of those comments? Are they effusive and positive or negative and morose? Has the candidate ever bashed or maligned previous employers or co-workers? If so, was it done in a professional manner? (Yes, it is possible to make an unfavorable comment in a supportive way.) Then take a look at your candidate’s Twitter feed and Instagram if possible. Again, how does your candidate represent him or herself in public? Is the content that’s being created smart, insightful and, most important, professional?
It will be difficult for you to assess a candidate’s internal social business efforts, especially in a climate when it’s nearly impossible to get references to confirm someone worked for them much less how they worked for them. In this case, you might ask the candidate directly about the internal social business work that he or she has done in the past. By listening carefully, you’ll have a good idea if you’ve got a potential star or rogue.
In the end, the only way to see if someone will be a good addition to the social business fabric and culture of your company is taking a chance. However now, with social business, you’ve got a little more background to work with.