I recently recruited someone to work exclusively on social media.
It’s a shiny new post of a kind as yet still rare in government (I can only name three others) and a bit different from any vacancy I’ve recruited into before. So my (t)rusty set of interview questions for website managers just wasn’t going to cut the mustard on this one.
In search of inspiration I Googled, Icerocketed and Firehosed but – to my surprise – all I could find was one decent but short list of relevant Qs. There’s more stuff out there for the candidate to ask the employer than vice versa, including this pertinent and this rather impertinent list of suggested questions, and a well thought out generic SM job description here.
So I scratched my head and made some up instead. Here’s what I came up with. Hopefully you will find them useful if you’re ever in the same position, and doubtless you’ll be able to improve on them via comments. And – though posting this here may give the game away somewhat to future candidates – I’d say all credit to anyone who does their homework and seeks these out.
- What experience have you gained of using web 2.0 tools either in a professional or personal capacity?
- Can you tell us about some of the challenges you have faced when introducing social media in your previous job, and how you overcame them?
- There are many free social media tools available now. How have you gone about assessing which ones might be of value or appropriate for professional use?
- There are many cases of social media going wrong for brands. Can you tell us about a time when something you’ve done online has not gone as planned, and how did you handle it?
- Give an example of when you have had to write a strategy, training or guidance document about social media and explain how you approached this task.
Depth of understanding:
- What’s the difference between moderation and facilitation?
- What’s the difference between social media and web 2.0? / Social media and social networking?
- What are the differences between writing for traditional web channels and writing for social media?
- What is RSS? Why is it important?
- Assuming that I know very little about social media, and might even be a little bit hostile to it, how would you convince me that I personally should use social media in 2 minutes or less? [This one is taken wholesale from SM headhunter]
Strategic approach/business context:
- Why do you think [name of employer] should use social media?
- In what ways do we need to be careful when using these tools?
- What are the risks of using them badly?
- Who would be involved in managing them?
- How would you manage resource implications?
- Is it acceptable to outsource some of the work?
- How do you make sure participants are satisfied with the experience?
- How do you know if it’s worthwhile to the business?
- How do you measure success in social media?
- How would you justify the activity a) internally, or b) to external critics? [this and the one above also c/o SM headhunter]
- How do you think social media might affect other digital media work – for example the main website?
- What are the ways of monitoring online reputation or coverage of a particular issue across the social web?
A subset of these questions certainly did the trick for me and I got a great result. What would you add or change?