We're not here to tell you what your process of hiring should be, but you certainly don't want to just pick someone you deem as "really good at Facebook". We're certainly not saying recent college graduates aren't qualified to work with social media, or that they are not more than capable of handling the responsibilities that come with running such an important aspect of your business.
However, since social media is a relatively new thing, many businesses assume that a younger employee is more knowledgeable with this channel. This is the kind of thinking that can get you into trouble. Social Media is important, and just like any other part of your business, you want to hire the most capable and experienced person. Some problems you may encounter are:
1. Lack of Social Media Etiquette
Yes, this newly minted graduate knows Facebook and Twitter, but do they know how to create posts that reflect your brand? Do they understand how to manage awareness of your products? Can you rely on them to take their responsibilities seriously? The last thing you want is a late night Instragram photo posted on the wrong Facebook Wall or a customer mistreated. The Chrysler Twitter incident and Best Buy Facebook ordeal are good examples of how bad this can be.
2. Getting on the Job Training
I know what you're thinking - how can this person gain experience if we don't give them a chance? Remember: there is a difference between having someone manage your social media and entry level experience. Social Media incorporates marketing, public relations, branding, customer service, and sales. We learn these things through years of on-the-job experience. Professors can only do so much.
3. Unfamiliarity with Your Business
Your business is your livelihood. Trusting a workforce newbie can be a risky. This person will need to really understand what your company stands for, the products or service that you provide, and the marketplace. We all have to learn these things when we start working at any company, but a new graduate will have a deeper learning curve.
4. Communication, Communication, Communication
The art of communicating in a businesslike manner is truly learned. It took many of us time to learn how to read company communication and reply in a professional manner. While blogs and social media interaction are allowed to be less stiff, you need to ask yourself, Does my new hire know the difference? Does this person know when to use a more formal tone?
This leads us to the next point....
5. Humor: Friend or Foe?
We all have a different sense of humor, and social media certainly can entertain us, but does your ingénue know the boundaries? The last thing you want is to offend your consumer base, like the famous Kenneth Cole Egyptian riots tweet, or the disastrous jokes Aflac spokesman Gilbert Gottfried made about the Japanese tsunamis.
6. Inability to Analyze Efforts
Social Media isn't just about posting and engaging. You need to find out if using these channels is working. You need someone who can understand the nuts and bolts of your marketing efforts. Can your hire craft content to engage and inspire fans? Can they also create reports and analyze high level information to determine next steps?
Here is the bottom line: you need to make sure you hire the right person for the job. Experience is necessary, but in some cases, budgets make it difficult to retain an expert. If you hire a new graduate, make sure you set expectations and keep control. Ensure all accounts created use your company's email address, passwords are shared with you, and all posts are double-checked before they are put out on social media. This may seem like a lot of work, but it's best to maximize return on this important part of your marketing plan.
Like promoting your business to potential customers, using social media to recruit employees seems like a no-brainer. LinkedIn was specifically created to help users maintain professional connections. And, if almost a billion people are using Facebook, then why not use the site for finding potential employees?
On one hand, having access to these sites has the potential for introducing your company to so many more qualified applicants than a traditional employment ad in a newspaper. There are concerns about using such sites, however.
David Wilkins, Vice President of Taleo Research, a talent management consulting group, warns that sites like LinkedIn and Facebook might not necessarily represent of the overall candidate pool. Taleo Research found only five percent of African Americans use LinkedIn, which is less than half of the U.S. African American population. LinkedIn users are also slightly older than those who use social networks like Facebook and Twitter. “If you rely too heavily on these social approaches, you are looking at challenges of discrimination on the basis of age, race and more,” Wilkins said.
Diane Pfadenhauer, President of Employment Practices Advisors, also warns that viewing someone’s Facebook account before making a hiring decision could pose a risk of lawsuits: “You may find something [on their Facebook profile] that is a protected characteristic like their religion or sexual orientation — something that is not visually apparent. Even if you don’t use it as a basis for employment, people may accuse you of that.”
Accuracy is another concern Pfadenhauer said, so she encourages business owners is to "Google with caution." Just because you find a profile or information with your applicants’ name doesn’t mean it’s true, or even the actual person you are searching for. “An Internet image can be created, corrected and fixed,” she said. “Make sure if you are doing a background check it is with a legitimate company that has insurance.”
Recently, a trend began as employers started asking potential employees for the passwords to their social media profiles as a condition of employment. This has caused some states to introduce legislation, which would make it illegal for potential employers to invade an individual's privacy in such a way.
As we continue to adjust to the influx of personal information being shared in this digital age, having access to social media sites for recruitment purposes seems like both a blessing and a curse. How does your company handle using social media sites in relation to potential employees?