Digital marketing or social media presents a unique challenge because age, on either end, is not an indicator of professional expertise

social media

Today while browsing through LinkedIn, I noticed some MBA grad’s profile that stated “looking for opportunities in early-stage startups”. This is not shocking. Surveys have shown that as high as “two-thirds of people say working in a startup would be their dream job”.

Startups are seen as creative, dynamic, with a sense of purpose and places that would allow employees to grow. And this made me think of the reverse question on hiring for startups.

Hiring for startups, like building startup culture and products is not easy.

As a startup with bad resources, going through the whole cycle of hire-and-fire is unproductive. The cost of a bad hire is remarkably high. Digital marketing or social media presents a unique challenge because somehow people start with a bias that younger interns can handle it well, since they use it. And that can spell disaster because, age on either end, is not an indicator of professional expertise.

Here’s how to select a social media hire for your startup.

1. Hire for attitudes not locations

Please keep out the whiners, consistent complainers and lazy folk. No matter what their experience is in the industry. To create a sustainable culture, you need learners, optimists and those that are willing to take an extra step and be responsible.

Personally, never making deadlines is also something I find iffy. It hurts trust and reliability. With tonnes of work falling all over, you want people who are able to plan and not create social media disasters because they were doing it all at once at the last moment.

Also Read: 10 Russian startups you’ll meet at Echelon Asia Summit 2015

Agreed that social/digital could always be in the improving beta mode, but you don’t want that when you’re reaching out to potential customers. The best can be anywhere. So, it doesn’t matter how global or remote your team is. Hire because you believe it’s the best choice.

Toby Ruckert, CEO, Unified Inbox,that runs a global internship programme said:

“It has been said many times that ‘the best are everywhere’. Those folks often won’t let themselves be confined into certain locations or working spaces. It is one of the new-found rights of freedom that the digital age has ushered in. I’ve experienced this myself when living on beautiful Waiheke Island, off New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean and have realized that we won’t be able to turn the clock back on remote working. Often when you demand people to work from a specific location, their salary expectation goes up. Why? Because you fundamentally take something away from the liberty and empowerment they feel when working from where they feel their best and most comfortable. I can totally relate to this: the location shouldn’t matter.”

2. Think about marketing ethics

It cannot be repeated enough. You need originality, not copy-cats.

People with poor marketing ethics are the ones that steal content without attributions, plagiarise and show disregard for earned media. These are also the ones recommending that you buy links and followers. It’s not sustainable. And nothing that you need.

Fake following is never going to have the right amount of engagement and will probably get you eyeballs and no business. It’s a choice you make. And one wrong move becomes the norm, after which it’s a downward slide. One employee with poor ethics can ruin the whole culture.

3. Hire for collaborative ideas

I was talking to a friend of mine who works in a small business. She took up a new role and responsibilities that she was now eager to give up on.

Because the company hired a 22-year old inexperienced girl with absolutely no regard for collaboration. Again, please don’t overanalyse the age. This behavior may come from a 42-year old, just as much as someone who is younger.

The point is, you want to hire people who can work together and collaborate. Social media and content marketing are fields that thrive with collaboration. Content is a team sport. Hiring someone with a poor work ethic will not make it better.

Also Read: 10 types of startups that will disrupt the media industry in 2015

What are the things you consider when hiring for your social media teams? Send me your comments via Twitter!

The views expressed here are of the author, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested to share your point of view, please send us an email to writers[at]e27[dot]co