Posted by: Russpd - 27 April 2009 / 17:11
Scribnia recently hired David Spinks, a social media guru who will serve as our Community Manager. I wanted to share the process of how we hired David Spinks because it highlights a few important lessons about social media.
We advertised the position by emailing the career service departments at colleges and universities. Scribnia received responses from a number of applicants and narrowed down our list to a few candidates. Each of these applicants was articulate, active on campus, and had a high GPA from a top school (Harvard, Cornell, and Wharton). A few days before we notified the successful candidate, I happened across an interesting article written by guest blogger David Spinks on TheLostJacket.com, a blog by Stuart Foster. I commented on the article and David and I continued the discussion further. I browsed his blog and was impressed by his passion for social media and writing ability. I contacted David asking whether he would be interested in working at Scribnia and within 48 hours David interviewed and accepted the job.
Lessons for employers
- Think outside of the box when hiring employees. In hindsight we should have known better. We assumed we could find intelligent college students with good writing skills and mold them into a social media expert. Instead of emailing colleges, I should have been reading blogs.
- Know about the area you are hiring. When I realized we needed a social media expert, I added about 30 social media blogs to my RSS reader and started reading and contributing to these blogs. I got a better sense of what qualities I wanted in our community manager and it was clear talking with David on the phone that he was right for the job. Paul Graham wrote an article explaining why business people shouldn’t hire developers But there is a misconception that because social media requires “softer skills” anyone can pick out a good social media hire. This simply isn’t true.
Lessons for applicants
- Importance of “personal brand”: Even if you have a job now, start contributing in some way to a field that interests you. For software developers, that might mean contributing to open source software. For those in marketing, consider blogging about trends. David showcased his “personal brand” via his blog. With other candidates, an interview was necessary and we hung up the phone still not sure how well the candidate would work. With David, we were confident before calling him that he would be a good fit and certain when we hung up the phone. We offered him a job within an hour after interviewing him.
- The web allows unbelievable interconnection, take advantage: If you read a blogger consistently, email him asking if you can write a guest post. Follow your favorite authors on Twitter and become part of their conversation. This will broaden your exposure.
Update: Great article by Stuart Foster published today with further advice on pitfalls employers make in hiring social media people.
The easy way to review,
discover and share
Scrinia is a blogging community built around online authors. Anyone whose work is available online, from small-time bloggers to New York Times columnists, is fair game. There are countless writers available online, yet till now there has been no organized way to learn about their biases, background, and abilities. Scribnia enables readers like yourself to rate writers that they love and those you cannot stand. So go ahead: rave about your favorite author and blast writers you find biased, unreliable, or just plain dull.
Join Scribnia Now !