Why You Can’t Find A Viable Candidate For Your Social Media Marketing Position

I tell ya, you get what you pay for – in everything in life. Sure there are bargains, but everyone is searching for that same bargain and the chance of you getting it are like finding a needle in a haystack or winning the lottery. The same is true with finding viable candidates. I’ve hired people for over 12 years through both rough and prosperous economies. At the end of the day, you want to find the person who is the right fit with the right skill set for the right price. Sounds easy doesn’t it? So why are there so many social media jobs out there? I’ve seen some jobs out there for months.

I’ll tell you why because the people that are hiring for these jobs haven’t a clue what to ask during the interview process. On top of that, they are stifled by some budgetary constraint on what someone in HR or executive team thinks is a good salary for this position. And that someone thinks that anyone can do social media and THAT’s where it all goes wrong from there. From the top down.

First, the salary should commensurate with experience. Today I saw a Digital Social Media Project manager job that was paying $4-$5K per month – that’s less than $60K a year! And the requirements were absurd for that salary: Develop and implement the Community and Social Media vision, strategy and roadmap, Manage website content, Execute viral social campaigns including email marketing to build our user base and drive traffic and more. How did this requisition even get approved? Email marketing is not the same as social media and anyone in traditional marketing will tell you the same.

Social media management is not just about posting, it’s about strategy and you’re not going to necessarily find that in someone who just graduated from college with zero experience. They are learning on the job. Sure, they may have been born with an iPad in their hand, but they don’t have the first inkling of how to implement a marketing strategy or any real life marketing experience. You know what makes a good social media marketing manager? Failure. And if you haven’t failed, then you can’t be that good.

Second, who comes up with the interview questions? I know, usually someone who has been in marketing for a while and now all of a sudden they are tasked with adding social media to the mix because the VP or CEO thinks you have to do so in order to stay relevant. So now we have someone who knows traditional marketing but hasn’t a flipping clue about what to ask in an interview. And what do we know about asking the wrong questions in an interview? It gets you the wrong candidate almost every time.

Some suggestions for questions in an interview of a social media marketing manager:

  1. How long have you been doing social media?
  2. Can you give me an example of any end-to-end campaigns you managed?
  3. Do you have any experience with social ads? Do you think they are a good investment?
  4. Can you give me an example of a social media strategy you implemented, what worked and what didn’t?
  5. How is it that you think you can help us elevate our brand?

Sure there are different social media manager position, but that’s fundamentally the problem also isn’t it? What do you call the position? There are so many choices:

  • Social media manager
  • Community manager
  • Social media analyst
  • Digital marketing strategist
  • SEO and Social Media Analyst
  • Social marketing manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Communications Social Media Manager

And the list goes on…

It’s one thing if the title is misleading, it’s another thing entirely if the description has squished so many responsibilities into it that although all are marketing related they totally require different skill sets. Traditional marketers don’t necessarily have social media skills and vice versa and of course there are those that possess both skill sets. The same reason finding a marketing project manager is a rare find, because project managers have a completely different skill set than marketing people. Marketing people are creative, they see visions of possibilities. Project managers see more linear, they see facts. To find someone who is organized and who is flexible enough to think out of the box and not only see the possibilities but also see the need that the schedule needs to be a bit fluid – that is your marketing project manager. They’re out there, just hard to find.

So the next time your boss says that you need to hire someone to do social media marketing, maybe you should reply and ask what exactly they want this person to be doing and then offer to change the description, title, and/or salary to go along with the actual job. The interviewees will be grateful and you’ll weed out a lot of unnecessary candidate interviews.

Have you had trouble hiring for a social media position at your company? Why do you think that is? Or as a skilled social media strategist have you had a bad interview experience that you’d like to tell us about? Please share in the comments below.





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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.