The conundrum of hiring social media professionals - Business Works
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The conundrum of hiring social media professionals

Cassie O'Shea, Punch Communications bit of a conundrum currently exists in hiring for people with social media skills as the industry constantly advances, introducing new technology and site upgrades on a daily basis. This continually-evolving landscape requires creative thinking from hiring managers and recruiters in order to determine how to optimise their workforces to stay ahead of the curve.

Most agencies in the field agree that creativity is crucial to success and is a highly desirable attribute for a potential employee to possess. However, it is equally important for hiring managers and recruitment specialists to be creative in their recruitment efforts, especially in such a new and perpetually shifting area of business. The dynamic nature of social media not only requires individuals to have a diverse set of skills, but it also calls for flexibility and the ability to adapt. As the industry matures, it calls persistently for unique combinations of talents, which can be daunting for anyone attempting to manage expectations from a human resources perspective.

Fortunately, looking at the fundamentals in a different way can help those recruiting within, or on behalf of, social media agencies to fill these emerging roles with potential candidates that have held traditional positions found in most marketing departments. By resourcefully reimagining titles such as traffic co-ordinator, media planner, editor, marketing analyst, production artist, and onwards, some of the perceived complexities of recruiting in this field can be resolved. The following is a list of different social media responsibilities within an agency that, with proper vetting and comprehensive training, are most successfully fulfilled by candidates from interdisciplinary backgrounds.

  • Community management Drawing visitors through social outreach and monitoring all activities across a client's various blogs, social media profiles and other communities, these activities within an agency could benefit from the attention of a professional with multifaceted experience. Those who have held editorial, traffic coordination, or project management positions in public relations, publishing, journalism, customer service, or even in legal services could fit the bill.
  • Directing engagement Overseeing the big picture on behalf of a client and keeping all social media activities on point while also encouraging greater community interaction requires a diverse set of talents. Most candidates suitable for operations of this type will have previously been in positions that required knowledge of online marketing, strategy, sales, public relations, product development, advertising, statistics and related areas. Those who have overseen the operations of a digital media company or similar enterprise should have the necessary skill set.
  • Creating digital strategies Social media requires strategic masterminds that are able to plan for every eventuality, which is integral to the development and scheduling of client activities. This requires similar talents to those of media planners and buyers.
  • Managing content One could look at this endeavour as the social media version of what an art director or PR director does within the context of client services. Overseeing all the content earmarked for a client's various social media profiles requires experience in managing multiple and diverse aspects at once.

So, while some hiring managers and HR professionals might struggle when trying to fill social media agency positions in such a new and constantly changing field, it helps to remember that social media activities have evolved from those traditionally found within marketing, communications, public relations, or advertising departments. It is about looking creatively at the fundamental skills required and moving forward from there.

Cassie is the editorial manager at Punch Communications, a unique company creating integrated services traditionally offered separately by a public relations, social media, or SEO agency. She has in-depth editorial experience in diverse industries, including publishing, fundraising, recruitment and real estate. Residing at the intersection of PR, search and social media, Punch creates seamless interactions between disciplines to offer innovative services, such as social search campaigns. For more information, please visit:

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