Is this how to recruit real social media experts?

In this guest posting, Matthew Cox reckons he’s seen the future of social media recruitment.

What qualifies you to be a social media strategist? Unfortunately, for many people, the answer simply boils down to “Simply saying that I am”. The youngest person in the office, usually an intern, desperate to add value launches themselves at the role (or is launched by someone else) and within an hour, the agency is now ‘full service with social’.

But perhaps all of that is on the verge of changing.

Wieden + Kennedy, the agency behind Nike and Coca-Cola, are searching for a new social media strategist. One with a very specific job.

Old Spice to be exact.

The American-based men’s toiletry company has developed a huge reputation for it’s inventive social media campaigns. The 2010 Old Spice campaign “the man your man could smell like” is still universally regarded as the benchmark for social media marketing – and let’s all admit, we’re a bit jealous of how awesome it is.

Understandably, Old Spice wants the best. And Wieden + Kennedy has devised a cunning, if unorthodox means of delivering just that: a series of social media based challenges.

The Challenges:

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 3 – Create and upload to SlideShare an original, in-depth competitive analysis of the Ed Hardy social media ecosystem.
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 5 – Create an original (new) Twitter account and then use it to get the most followers in a week using any verbs you like, but only the following nouns: “BLUEFUDGE,” “HAMMERPANTS” and “GREEK YOGURT.”
Challenge 6 – Create an original YouTube video that then receives the most plays in a single week using this script verbatim:
#1: “Wait. What are you doing?”
#2: “Trust me. This will be fine.”
#1: “Ok. Go ahead.”
Challenge 7 – Get recommendations on LinkedIn from at least three other people trying to get this job.
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.

Challenge 10 – Using Quora, give thought-out, meaningful answers to as many dream catcher-related questions as possible in a single week.

The full application details can be found here:

While the method is somewhat peculiar, it does present an intriguing way of sorting the wheat from the chaff as far as social media ‘specialists’ are concerned. After all there is no official qualification behind social media. Very few organisations actually endeavour to gauge whether the person running their Facebook actually has what it takes.

While certainly the quirkiest, Wieden + Kennedy are by no means the first organisation to embark down this road. The publishing company Penguin Books launched the ‘Impress a Penguin” campaign earlier this year in an effort to find an online community manager.

Is this the direction is which recruitment is moving? It’s certainly possible.

As social media continues to grow, the more success stories we see, the more organisations are taking it seriously. How do you differentiate yourself from the other agencies and brands out there looking for high-quality talent? Competitions and games are one way of certainly recruiting for quality rather than quantity.

Matthew Cox is a strategic consultant at Dialogue Consulting, a social media communications consultancy based in Melbourne.



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