The phone has been pretty busy lately, with companies calling to get advice on how to hire senior social positions to guide them into this new world.
That's not surprising, as most social outlets are reporting an uptick in hiring, and executives realize a permanent onsite presence is important. What has been surprising is how clear-headed these callers are. They have fair salaries (some quite good actually). They've thought out what the position should do and have short and long-term goals in place. The organizational structure is clear, as is the interview process.
I say surprising because this wasn't the case just last year. What it speaks to is a maturing of the social hiring process, and the mainstreaming of social into different divisions of the corporate world. So why are they calling?
The resumes are terrible. And when they do get a good resume, the interviews are so poorly presented, the company just can't pull the trigger, even when they want to. What's going on?
Part of the problem is no one knows how to interview for a social position. Even if you've done the work, interviewing and explaining it is harder than it seems. Interviewing is a skill, both from the manager and the candidate side. As normal people, we overestimate our ability to interview, conflating doing the work with explaining the work.
So what do you do?
If You're A Candidate:
Practice. Actually Practice. I've been selling for 14 years, and I still practice. I practice phone calls, phone messages, and especially live pitches. Recently I sat down with a company for a project. It was a $30,000, three-month engagement for digital profile work. I spent two weeks thinking about it, and 2 hours creating the presentation, and 6 hours rehearsing it with a timer, for a 20 minute presentation. To me, that's standard. It's standard because I know a $30,000 engagement will be worth $300,000 over the next five years. Would you practice six hours for $300,000?
Imagine that tomorrow you are fired. If you take a job, how long before you'll make $300,000? And yet, how many of you have practiced for an interview?
You're winging it, and then wondering why it didn't go well. So your answer is to take what you know, put it into multiple presentations, and practice selling yourself. That's how you win big jobs.
If You're A Company:
You're in the position of power because you write the checks. But what are you hiring? Are you hiring a drone or are you hiring a specialist? You have to let go of the power of the interview, and give the candidate the freedom to demonstrate their expertise. To do this, you need a clear vision of what you think you need, a clear process of what it takes to get you to hire, and then the invested time in learning what you don't know. And you don't know social media. If you did, you wouldn't need to hire. So here's your plan.
1) Clear job description
2) Fact sheet on the company.
3) Private fact sheet for candidates getting past initial screening.
4) Written process of interviews.
5) Solid expectations of what you want
That's it. Note there isn't much about social in there. There are no fancy metrics or silver bullets. It's such communication protocols and setting expectations up front.
A good social candidate can explain what they do. A prepared candidate can provide an outline to you of what they need from you to be successful. A prepared candidate is like an employee, showing you what it's like to work with them. Most candidates are like salespeople, hoping to get you to say yes because you like them, but not knowing what the job entails after the signatures are done.
You say you want to hire? Expect more out of your candidates, but give them more as well. A collaborative interview will show you what you're getting, and tell you who wants YOUR job, versus someone who wants A job.