Will my Klout score get me a dream job in Digital Media?

Has an interviewer, or job advertisement, ever asked you for your Klout score? 

In time, maybe they will. 

Although Klout has a it's share of skeptics, and even angry types who seem hell bent on sending Klout to meet it's maker - the company continues to gain ground and credence beyond it's rudimentary measurement of Twitter and Facebook followers. Whilst it's tempting to quibble about the site's nebulous algorithm, or the idea of being arbitrarily "ranked" we can't ignore that for some professions -- such as community management, public relations and social media marketing -- a Klout score is increasingly useful to help to determine which candidate can best engage with his or her community in a given topic. 

When I started using the tool, I was unsure of it's validity. This was in part because the areas I spent the most time being an "influencer" on the social web were not Twitter or Facebook. 

Klout has since corrected this, and enabled a really broad range of platforms to be plugged in, to help to arrive at a more balanced ranking. These days, Klout will listen to 

  • Facebook 
  • Twitter 
  • YouTube 
  • Google+
  • Instagram 
  • Blogger 
  • Tumblr 
  • Wordpress 
  • Last.fm 
  • Flickr 
  • Foursquare 

....to track your social influence. And it's not just about the number of followers either. There is increasing smarts behind the algorithm which enables you to drill down in areas and focus on what you said, where that was engaging, and who you engaged. The more influential the people you engage, the higher your score climbs. 

Adam Cooke of GroupM Singapore, is a digital media recruiter. He's responsible for hiring a ton of digital experts across Asia. On Klout and it's influence over his hiring decisions, he says: "I think having a good Klout score doesn't mean that you can structure a good campaign. What it might mean is that you are probably spending (or even wasting) time on frivolous activity like follower generation. It's reasonable to use Klout to help identify brand advocates but it's superfluous as a recruiting mechanic" 

Some organizations (most notably US SAAS giants Salesforce) have already adopted analysis of Klout as a meaningful recruiting metric. As early adopters, they also benefit from a ton of buzz around the advertisement which I'm sure helped drive big application numbers. And yes, they eventually hired someone with a Klout score above 70, apparently. 

Christopher Smith, Director of Social Media and Production Services at GroupM, says: "Never used Klout as a hire indicator. The minute i started dumping photos to Flickr, my score went up. I stopped and it went down. This activity-based measure activity does not equate to influence. The other thing is - for Klout to a hiring tool it would have to weight original content differently. A lot of people gain Klout for simply re-tweeting other people's stuff"

I have a different view. Being influential (to a point) online shows that you are engaged in experimenting with social media tools and techniques (eg Blogging, Video Curation or Creation, Creating Buzz) and if part of your job entails doing that, at scale for clients who want to move products, it's reasonable to take note of Klout score as part of a recruiting decision. With so many people claiming social media expertise just because they know how to "use" Facebook, the more rigor you can put behind an analysis of how much they really know, and make that assessment quickly, the better. 

It's a highly contentious topic and it seems to me from reading around the web that many people get pretty fired up about it. 

Do I think Klout could help to get you a dream job in Digital Media in 2013? Unlikely. 

Do I think that tools like Klout will one day provide a very accurate measure of social media effectiveness and influence? Definitely yes, and soon. 

Will I be checking your Klout score as part of a hiring process for a senior digital media job? Probably. 

Will I sit up and take notice if you tell me your Klout is higher than Robert Scoble? Definitely. 

Would it get you short-listed? Depends on the job..... 

For more talent related rumblings, go hide out over at Talentmagic

Views: 603

Comment by Vinda Rao on April 1, 2013 at 1:02pm

Hi Michael, interesting piece. I have seen some visceral reactions to Klout due to the disparity in scores between a genius thought leader and a random celebrity. We surveyed 663 recruiters specializing in filling marketing/PR/social media jobs back in August, and less than seven percent say they consider candidates’ Klout scores in deciding whether to pursue them as prospects (http://blog.bullhornreach.com/post/34632815358/top-5-ways-to-scare-...). Weighing Klout scores for marketing/media jobs at this stage reminds me of a college interview. A really bad one may keep you out but a really great one won't necessarily get you in.

Comment by Jason Webster on April 4, 2013 at 11:15am

We experienced this real-time when Salesforce.com listed a Klout score of 35 as a preferred qualification on a job posting. They got 2 quality hires, and the debate went wild: http://ongig.com/blog/uncategorized/debate-runs-wild-over-use-of-kl...

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on April 4, 2013 at 11:26am

I have a score of 48 last time I checked....my biggest issue is that I can usually not log in...they have some systems issues.  It is more of a running joke when I get some good clicks on my blog or linked in stuff.."this will raise my klout score"  I've never received any promo from klout worth writing home about.


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