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Pre-Employment Assessments Offer Companies Hiring Social Media Managers an Alternative to Klout.

Hiring is hard. It’s even harder when recruiting and interviewing for positions requiring skill sets and qualifications unfamiliar to the hiring manager. This is especially true with positions that elicit lots of response, such as a social media or community manager. A job posting of this kind could result in hundreds – if not thousands — of resumes.

Where does one begin vetting and filtering to select the top 7 candidates?
Companies like Salesforce are using a popular social media measurement and online influence tool called Klout to qualify their candidates. The hiring giant recently posted a job for a community manager position requiring the following key qualifications:

  • 2-3 years of community management experience
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task and work as a member of a team
  • Requires a Klout Score of 35 or higher

Klout tells us that the average Klout score is 20, and only 5% of registered Klout users have a score of 50 and above. Except that it’s really all hogwash. Like anything online and in social media, Klout can be gamed. You can automate your way to a higher Klout score, and weasel your way into the running for top consideration as Salesforce’s community manager. While the attempt to think creatively to find qualified candidates is applauded, Klout is simply not an effective candidate qualification tool.

Case in point: I own the Twitter account @_hrblogger. It is almost completely automated and used as a blog distribution and feed tool to manage and organize human resource and recruiting industry blogs. There is almost zero engagement from me, since it is designed to share and distribute human resource and workplace blogs that I read and enjoy. The tweets are completely automatically reposted, and yet this “unmanned” account has a Klout score of 54. This Twitter account has earned a Klout score in the top 95th percentile. How can that be, you ask? While Klout is a good way to assess engagement on the surface, it is not an effective way to determine if a candidate is qualified for an open position. Salesforce got this one wrong.

But there is a better way.

  • Assign someone who fully understands the role to vet candidates. Social media is new and for many, it is complex. That’s okay. Work with someone in-house or with a recruiting agency that can help you vet candidates using industry knowledge.
  • Consider a pre-employment assessment. Interestingly enough, eSkill offers a pre-employment test just for social media and community manager candidates. Candidates can take a quick test to determine their knowledge and expertise in the required areas. As a hiring manager, you’ll sort through less, but more-qualified resumes, and be able to assess skills and knowledge without bias.
  • Request a portfolio or project proposal. Since Klout only measures a candidate’s personal accounts and not any accounts they manage, consider asking for examples of projects, programs, and social media expertise. Require prospective job seekers to compile a work portfolio or a proposal that demonstrates their social media and community manager expertise. Most experienced community managers will already have this prepared.

Finding the most-qualified candidates in a skilled search is challenging, to say the least. By adding a skills assessment or project proposal review early into the process, hiring managers will spend less time analyzing candidate applications and be able to recruit the best and brightest job seekers.


  • Linda Garmin says:

    Never thought about Klout this way before. Even though I wasn’t quite relying on it to make awesome assessments of my candidates, I would still take it in consideration if their Klout score was pretty high. I can tell you that your 54 score would’ve weighed a good deal if you ever applied for a position within my company. Not anymore, though.

  • Charlie says:

    I never NEVER trust an automated assessment tool to make my hiring decision. I even have a hard time allowing LinkedIn recommendations tip the scales one way or the other when I’m recruiting. I only trust my instincts and my own assessments. Klout is nothing but an excuse for recruiters not to do too much research on their candidates. Great article to show such faults. Well done!

  • M A Noori Bajwa says:

    Recently I checked my klout score for twitter and it was 54

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