How to Use Social Media to Find the Best Job Candidates

October 01, 2014

With companies focusing so much on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for marketing, customer service, sales, and even human resources, having social media skills is becoming a requirement for staff. Today, employees are expected to be more multi-faceted and have a wide range of skills. They must know their way around social media platforms, have good communications skills, and know how to use social media to engage and talk with customers, prospects, and the public.

Here are seven things to look for when hiring or promoting from within, to find these socially and technically savvy employees. Look for the person who:

  1. Already uses social media. The social-media-adept employee has at least one personal social media account. He or she is curious and experimental when it comes to social media. Someone who isn’t interested enough to try out at least one social platform is unlikely to be interested enough to want to explore new ways of using social platforms for work. Yes, you might be able to train him or her, but the person who lacks curiosity in social media will probably just go through the motions. That person may never be interested enough to explore the nuances that can propel a social media strategy forward.
  2. Has good communication skills, including spelling and grammar. This is a must. This person will be representing your company using written skills. The nature of social media is such that it tends to occur spontaneously. You may not see most messages until after the fact. You don’t want to cringe when you see them.
  3. Communicates with personality. Beyond spelling and grammar, look for someone who manages to convey personality, enthusiasm, and friendliness in social media messaging. This is an elusive thing, but it makes all the difference in generating engagement. When hiring receptionists in the past, it was always said that you should look for someone with a smile in her voice. Today, it’s about looking for the person with a smile in his or her text communications.
  4. Likes to use technology tools. Consider it a red flag in an interview if a candidate goes on and on about how nontechnical he or she is. Or if he or she seems unsure about or uninterested in using technology, that’s another red flag. Ask specifically which software programs he or she knows how to use. Is the most advanced tool Hotmail, or is it something more sophisticated like a CRM program or marketing automation software? Certain disciplines today, such as marketing, are greatly dependent on using software. Not only does the person have to be able to use tools, but must be able to master some of the more complex features and reporting functions. It’s almost impossible to separate some jobs from the technology tools needed to carry them out today.
  5. Able to take decent photos and short videos. One of the things that humanizes your business is when you show photos of your workplace or employees. Even fun things like pets visiting the office can liven up your social streams and encourage customers and the general public to engage. It’s a tremendous benefit to have an employee who can snap a few decently focused images from an employee birthday party, or take a short video clip in good light and load it online. The idea is not to take the place of a professional photographer for “official” images, but rather to create the kind of spontaneous and casual imagery that adds interest to social streams.
  6. Knows how to use an image editing program. Today, so much of social media is image-based that basic image editing skills are becoming a must. It helps if the employee can resize images, perhaps add a text caption to an image, or otherwise do some basic image work. The person doesn’t need to be a graphics designer, but if he or she doesn’t know how to crop a headshot to fit the recommended dimensions for a social media profile, then it’s going to be all that much more challenging to get up to speed.
  7. Exercises good judgment and shows maturity. This is probably the most important set of attributes to look for, but the hardest to assess ahead of time. By now you’ve probably heard at least one social-media horror story of an employee somewhere who exercised poor judgment and said or did something inappropriate, causing his or her employer to suffer embarrassment or have to issue an apology. This is one of the things that employers fear most: the employee who runs amok, in public view, using one of the company’s social accounts. The best way to gauge judgment and maturity are through the employee’s past actions, as well as through observing his or her demeanor and responses to your questions. Beyond that, de-risk the situation by giving the employee training in what’s appropriate and what isn’t and when he or she should seek guidance. Don’t assume the employee knows.

Finally, you may not be able to find a candidate with all of these skills and attributes. And you may think of other things on your list that you would look for to find today’s socially savvy employees. The more complete the package, the better equipped the candidate will be to perform in today’s social media world.

This article originally appeared on

Here are seven things to look for when hiring or promoting from within, to find these socially and technically savvy employees.

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