Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Chicken and Egg Problem With Social Media Hiring

Some great posts this week about hiring for social media jobs: one by Amber Naslund and one by Tom Humbarger.

My favorite quote from Tom's post:
"There are only so many social media gurus and rockstars – If you specify that you are seeking a social media guru or rock-star, then expect to pay a premium as these people are rare and they have many options. If you are not willing to pay for this type of expert, then don’t use these descriptors in your job posting."

And from Amber's:
"Companies still don’t know why they need or want social media."

Short and sweet and right on ; )

Here's the thing: right now, there are all kinds of disconnects in the social media hiring process: disparities in pay, in title, in companies' expectations of the position--and no quantity of blog posts from people who have the benefit of experience to tell it like it is and/or needs to be is going to correct it. Amber and Tom are totally right--because they've been there, done that, and can clearly see where others are making mistakes. They know from personal experience what will and will not work. And in the end, they will be proven right.

But most companies are not willing to take the leap of faith to hire a social media person AND not somehow want to tie ROI or SEO or some other known absolute to it. Are they right? No. But are they on the right track at least trying to get someone on staff? Yes.

I wish there were some shortcut to companies "getting it" and I wish they would all just leave social media hiring to people who have been there, done that and learned from the experience. But the unfortunate reality is that the only way companies are apparently going to learn this stuff is the hard way--by doing it wrong, learning from the experience, then, a few years from now, circling back to posts like the ones above and doing it the right way next time.

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