All surviving and successful businesses evolve over time. At least a little. One of the areas they adapt is with the types of jobs they create and hire for. When I started my first job out of college in 2007 it was a very interesting time in the business world.
Social media was extremely new. Twitter was just about to launch. Facebook was still relegated to colleges only. And people were still talking about whether or not Google was going to be a good stock to own.
Shortly after I started the company I worked for hired a person that was responsible for a variety of Internet marketing initiatives. One of those was social media. A lot of folks that had been with the company for awhile were very curious. They knew about Facebook, maybe, but they couldn’t believe that a company would need to hire a person to manage it.
Today, hiring a social media manger is much more common. But it’s still a bit of a curiosity. I imagine in the coming years that it will continue to gain more and more acceptance.
So if you’re in human resources, if you’re a manager or if you’re a business owner, you’re likely going to need to hire a social media manager…or several.
Here are a few possible questions to ask in the interview.
1. What have you been doing the last few years?
This can apply no matter if the person has been in school, work or whatever. And there is no correct answer really. It’s just good to know what the person has been up to. You’re not necessarily looking to see if they have a certain experience and knowledge. You’re looking to get to know them better, which can help determine if the person fits with the type of person you’re looking for. You’re looking for how they will mesh with the rest of your team. It can also help you see if their personality and values align with those of your business.
2. Who have you worked with?
Many times you hire people based on referrals from colleagues, friends, etc. These can be great hires because your trust of the other person can help with a lot of the questions you may have for the person. They kind of work as a filter for all the potential candidates you may have to interview.
This question kind of helps to bridge the gap if you’re not working with someone that was referred. You can see if they’ve worked with anybody you know. And it can lead to other interesting insights. Maybe they’ve worked with a former employee or someone like that. It might lead to little insight, but it could lead to some interesting findings.
3. What are your goals?
It’s good to know what the person is thinking about in terms of the job and of their future in general. For example, the person may express that they want to be a manager someday where they climb their way up the ladder at a company. This can lead to discussion about how to accomplish that with your company. It could be just that they want to be a type of social media influencer, but within a company. That could also be appealing depending on what you’re looking to do in your situation.
4. What are your hobbies?
This question kinds of touches on the typical small talk. I remember at that first job I had that in the interview we talked about hobbies and things like that. I don’t think it determined whether I got the job or not, but it is important, with any specific job, to learn about the person. It’s not necessarily anyone’s business what you do outside of work. But you are a representative of the company you work for. That means at least a little something. And it can lead to deeper relationships. And in terms of social media, it could lead to insight into the type of content the manager will create or help create. Business social media usually requires a little or a lot of personal insight in order to attract engagement.
5. How do you learn?
Does the person like to read books and articles and blog posts? Do they like to watch YouTube videos and webinars and online video discussions? Do they like to work with others and learn by working on projects? As with most of these questions, there is no correct answer. All of the answers could be correct depending on your situation. You’re looking to find a person that will fit with your company. And really only you can know that answer.
But it is important to see if the candidate is interesting in learning. I think that’s a universally important trait when hiring.
6. Why do you want this job?
Again, there isn’t necessarily a correct answer. One interesting thing to me about the NFL is how many players aren’t in love with football in the same sense as the fans. Many fans believe, myself included, that these players just love football. But to many of them it’s just a job. They happened to be really good at it and followed through to the pros where they can earn a great living for awhile.
A social media manager might be someone that doesn’t love social media. But they’re really good at it. They show up. They do great work. They help your company and you compensate them. Maybe it allows them to do more of the hobby they love.
I think it’s still good to at least get a sense for why someone wants a job. This could lead to insight into where they want to go in the future.
7. What would you need from me?
I like to ask this question as a manager or whatever leadership position you might be in. If you’re the owner of a small business it is really useful to take this approach. That you’re there to help your team. Maybe they want specific direction on what they should do. You tell them. They do it without deviating and do it well. Or maybe they want autonomy.
The key is finding the situation that meshes the best with what you want.
8. How do you adapt to changing social platforms?
Social media has changed a lot over the years. There were many social networks coming out after the initial success of Facebook. Many of those dropped by the wayside. What seems to be the case is that a few large networks will remain. But new ones will always be fighting for attention. And some will win. And even those that remain, like Facebook, will continue to tweak their platforms.
One key to being successful is being willing to adapt. To know that it’s a continuous challenge to figure out how to create winning content in terms of you, the customer and the platform. The rules are always changing and those in social media need to be open, not frustrated by, to the changes.
9. Do you prefer video, written word or audio?
Rarely will you find a person that’s interested in all three. Again, neither are right or wrong. They’re all right. But if you value video more than the other two then you probably want to hire someone that also leans toward video as their preferred form of content. All three are now here to stay. The technology is there to allow all three to thrive in today’s social media world.
10. What’s your current guilty pleasure?
This is just a fun question to, again, get to know the person a little more. Maybe there is a funny video on YouTube that they’re liking at the moment. Maybe it’s a song or a movie or show or whatever. So much of social media is about the personal. It’s good to get to know the person you might hire a little bit. If you share the same humor as them or something of the like it can be a good indication that you’ll work well with each other and trust what they post on social.
Metrics are important. You can ask about those. You can help to set those. But I don’t know that it’s a huge key question in an interview process. Because the person could have little experience in social, but maybe they are a great person and a good success in other areas. You probably want to hire that person because you feel they can succeed in just about anything.
Hopefully these questions at least get you started with your search for a social media manager. They’re not foolproof, but they should be pretty good at narrowing things down.