The Challenge of the Social Media Executive Recruiter

I’m in a fortunate position that I spend most of my days talking to vendors, buyers, investors, and of course, analysts in the social media industry.

But now, I’m starting to talk to more and more recruiters. Some of it’s due to my career series called “on the move” but mainly because that brands are starting to take this movement seriously.

In my recent Forrester report “How to Staff For Social Computing” I outlined two roles. The social media/computing strategist, and the online community manager, I recently met yet another recruiter (read my findings from the first one) who is focused on bringing forth social media strategists to large brands, and they both have the same problem. Coincidently, he read my reports (I realize they are being passed around, without paying)

Challenges that recruiters are having hiring social media strategists

First of all, finding folks is a challenge, to find an experienced social media strategist is limited to just a few folks. What’s the qualifier? They’ve actually deployed this in an existing company already. I’ve a list that I created a few days ago of Strategists, while it’s going to hit over 100 people this week, there’s very few folks on the strategist list. Talking about it on a blog is far different than having done it and brands want a track record of at least once success.

Secondly, going into a company and making severe cultural changes across multi-departments is a challenge. I know, as I’ve done it, being prepared to be an evangelist, and educator, a teacher, a cheerleader, and a leader is a challenge –esp when the culture may not want to move forward. It’s a challenging position that requires more jockeying than most in order to bring about enterprise change. In most cases, executive support (and funding) will be needed, including arguing teaching old school marketers.

Lastly, consultants are having much more lucrative offers by going off on their own, starting their own shop, or joining a smaller crew. Some can make more money by being independent, and not having to deal with too much internal politics.

Some say we’re in year 3 (depending on how you count) for big companies to start to consider these technologies, as such, finding folks that are qualified, and then being able to attract them to go through the challenges they just finished are well, tough.

For more resources, check out my “on the move” posts (celebrating new hires in the space) and my “careers” section where I share what I’ve learned (I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way) or you can find social media jobs right on my job board. Also see this list of Social Media Strategists, Community Managers, and Product Managers.

I share a lot here on this blog, but desire for you to talk back, please leave a comment on what you’ve experienced when it comes to hiring experience social media strategists.

Lastly, he asked me not to blog about the specific job or brand, although it’s Fortune 1000, why? he’s not confident he’ll get the qualified people, so I’m honoring his request.