One of the things that I have found fascinating is to see the immense growth in jobs and opportunities involving social media.  Whether it is for professional reasons or for research / academic positions, all of these seem to be focused on new media integration and application in both research and in practice.  However, how do you REALLY know if you are hiring a person / consultant / PhD candidate who is an expert in social media and new media?

One of the things that I have seen – both from the practice side and academic side – is that people want to get on board with the social media bandwagon.  They will state that they are an expert in the field – whether it is for consulting or research – just so they would be able to get a job.  There are certain things that you can look at for a potential candidate to see who knows their material, and who doesn’t.

There are certain questions you can ask when you are hiring a digital consultant that are important, but when you are looking for a person who is applying for various academic positions in new media.  There are several questions you would want to ask the candidate – whether they are established in the field already and claiming their area is in social media or an up and coming student applying for their first job after the PhD / Masters program:

  1. What can you bring to the table in terms of new media?  What makes you different from the rest of the students / professors claiming that they are “experts” in social media?
  2. What are your areas of interest in social media?  What theories do you use in your studies and what is your overall theoretical framework / perspective on how you see the world with new media?
  3. Based on your research and studies – how would you apply these findings for the real world?  What is the connection to your research to various professional fields such as crisis communications / non-profit / investor relations / employee relations / IMC?  Who is your audience exactly for social media?
  4. How would you integrate social media / new media into the classroom?  What would be some of the activities and assignments you would give?  What textbooks / readings / blogs & other online resources would you use for this class?
  5. What social media monitoring platforms do you use for your research?  Do you use paid or unpaid services to search the media?  If so, what are some of the key metrics you have looked at in your research studies?
  6. What are some of the key concepts and terms in new media?  How would you conceptualize and operationalize these terms for a study?  What are some key references to note for each of these concepts from the field and from the academic community?
  7. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge in studying and working in new media?  What are some of the best practices that have helped you in addressing and overcoming these challenges?
  8. How do you keep up with the latest technologies?  What are some of your daily habits with following what is going on with new media?
  9. How long have you been part of new media – do you live new media?  Are you active on social media?  Do you have a website and blog?  If so, for how long and what are some of the topics you write about?
  10. In your opinion, what do you consider to be the next big trend in new media, and how can PR/ StratComm prepare themselves to evolve to adapt to these changes?
For those of you who are interested in finding out who knows their material and who actually has expertise in the area of new media, these are just some of the questions you can look at.  Making sure that the person knows the key terminology used for social media as well as being able to talk about their own research and discuss how they balance this with consulting and actually being invested in it on a personal level as well will tell you a lot of things about the candidate.  Plus, it is also important to do a search for this candidate online to see what is out there already in terms of blog posts, articles, pictures, videos at conferences, etc.  This would give you an idea of the overall reputation of this potential candidate as well.
Hope you all are having a wonderful day!
Best Wishes,