Monday, May 4, 2015

Agency Hiring Managers: 3 Ways to Make Sure you’re Hiring the Most Skilled Social Media Minds

A potential employee with a litany of certifications is a double edged sword- they may have a plethora of skills, or they may be trying to take you for a ride. As a senior at Northwestern University in the Integrated Marketing Communication Certificate currently pursuing a job in the digital media industry I have found two crucial articles that will give you the tools to make these difficult evaluations.

Though it was written in 2013, Jason Schmitt's article "Job Cred: Social Media Certification Revs the Resume" from the Huffington Post is a superb article that gives an overview of both free and for-pay programs that offer social media certifications. While some of the specific program references are a touch outdated, their analysis focuses mostly on the brands. For example, the article notes the importance of the then new HootSuite University and the growing importance of the SalesForce Marketing Cloud, both of which have only grown in importance since the article’s publication.

Online Income Teacher takes a slightly different approach in its article, "Social Media Certification- Is it Worth Your Time?" However, the article works in concert with the first by providing a much more practical overview of the costs and benefits of online social media programs. While this article does mention a few specific programs (including HootSuite as well) it is much more concerned with giving you, the reader, the tools to evaluate the types of benefits that come from each style of programs. 

After synthesizing these articles with my professional and educational experience I have 3 actions I strongly recommend you undertake before making another hire:   

1) Identify your Needs: The SalesForce program will create a much more business-oriented employee than HootSuite. One is not better than the other- context is what is important. 

2) Evaluate CommitmentNot all programs are created equal. While some may be free and easy, others may require more time and even a little money from your savings. Understanding this is a great way to evaluate how passionate and committed and employee is about their career in social media.

3) Stay CurrentNew programs and trends are the only constant in social media. Staying up to date on these programs, and continually evaluating them, is key if a company wishes to stay current.

Social media skills are only growing in importance as more and more consumers looked to social media for recommendations, to air grievances, and to connect with like-minded individuals. Learning how this channel of communication can be best utilized is crucial for anyone in digital marketing industry and choosing the candidate with the right qualifications is vital when assembling a cutting edge social media team. This article is designed to give employers a taste of what programs are out there and how to evaluate these programs. However, but it is ultimately up to you to decide what suits your company’s needs best.     

Jack Doherty is a Northwestern University Undergraduate student majoring in Political Science with minors in Business and Marketing currently seeking employment in the digital marketing industry following his June Graduation date. Always open to new ideas, discussion and debate he can be reached through Twitter at @dohertyjohn617 or on his LinkedIn profile. 

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