Social Profiling – The New Terms of Employment
I was amused by a recent job listing for Social Strategist at Wieden + Kennedy. The successful candidate will need to prove themselves in a harrowing public competition. Here is a sample of the challenges that will mark the “lucky” winner:
Challenge 1 – Create the best original Pinterest board dedicated to the sport of inline speed skating (NOT roller-hockey).
Challenge 2 – Create and post an original piece of content to Reddit that then receives the most upvotes in a single week.
Challenge 4 – Get the most people to friend your mother or your father (or a parent-like figure in your life) on Facebook in a single week.
Challenge 8 – Create the most reviewed recipe on allrecipes.com in a single week using cottage cheese as an ingredient. The reviews don’t have to be good.
Challenge 9 – Upload the most pictures of your armpit(s) to Instagram during the course of this challenge. The pictures must have your face in them to verify your identity and include the hashtag #mypits.
Reading through it one realizes that the veil between job assessment and fraternity hazing rituals are thin indeed.
On a more serious level it raises a long held concern I have about social profiling - that is, using people’s popularity on social networks as a proxy for job suitability. Recruiters in marketing and communications are increasingly putting a premium on your social footprint. What is your Klout Score? How many followers do you have on Twitter? Are you a blogger and, if so, for how long?
Many valuable skills such as inquiry, listening, systems-thinking and deep focus are also character traits – and they are not often associated with an overtly social personality. Yet these skills are highly valuable in business. Some of the best, brightest and deepest thinkers I know keep a low social profile.
Similarly we see the injunction that CEO’s should be on Twitter or keep a blog. While I fully recognize the value this can bring to an organization, having worked with many senior executives I can attest to the fact that for many of them it simply isn’t in their character. It also is not the first characteristic I look for in an effective leader.
All of that said, I will be watching the digital shame-fest that is this job hunt to see who rises to the top of the pile.