Looking for a young, outgoing social media gun/guru
Something that has bothered me for a long time are social media job ads that outline they are looking for a “gun”, a “guru”, someone “young and outgoing”. In many ways it has always struck me as odd since most of the social media/digital teams I’ve been part of aren’t generally made up of overly outgoing people. Most Web Developers I’ve worked with also love nothing more than sitting with their headphones in, working on their code in peace… without having to attend meetings. In fact, this could be one of the reasons I feel so at home in these teams and certainly why we become the high-performing, productive teams we are. So why do job ads continue to ignore the introverts in favour of these mythical outgoing social media gurus?
Snake oil social media gurus
There is a great article that I read on this very issue a while ago on Brandwatch by Chris Owen. In the article it talks about how there’s little regulation in the social media space and therefore people can position themselves as experts when what they’re teaching is sometimes detrimental to the business they’re helping. I’ve thought for some time on how we turn this culture around, but I’m not sure I have the answer. However, I do know that I will never put out a job ad that says someone should be ‘young’, ‘outgoing’, ‘vibrant’ or ‘extroverted’ to get a job. Some of the absolute best social media people I know are introverted and feel more comfortable expertly assisting someone online with outstanding customer service than being forced into a team bonding day out at some ‘outgoing’ organisation. Now, there’s obviously space for all types of personalties in the field, but certainly on hiring, people should look past the shallow surface level requirements of what makes someone good at social media and interview people who may be a little awkward, uncomfy or at their happiest with their headphones in managing your community.
Make the change – Consider introverts in your social media mix
So how do you ensure that you don’t fall into the salesman trap where every conversation is about selling themselves to you as a ‘guru’. Well, simple. Start adding some introverts into your hiring mix and get some in your team. My teams have always been built on cultural fit and personality first and we’re not ashamed to say we’re pretty nerdy overall and live and breath social media and digital. We’re probably more skewed to the introverted side of the spectrum in general, but we have a good healthy mix and when we’re all together, there’s such a great level of comfort there that we could easily been seen as extroverts. The key thing for me is that as people they bring a strong understanding of online communication, customer service and how to ‘speak social’. This is what makes us work and this should be what helps your team work too.