You Don’t Want a HR Social Media Position

Do you know how many times in the past 12 months I’ve heard someone say – “I’m looking for a social media position”?  Enough to know that we don’t need that many Social Media HR people!

Let me give some HR job seekers a little tip – You don’t want a position in HR that is created around social media!   This is a dead-end HR job.  (Oh boy, as I just wrote that I could hear people that I know losing their f’ing minds!)  Take a minute and let yourself really think about it, before you respond.   Social Media is sexy and fun, and you can add some value to your organization, and even some to HR – but if you really want to be in HR – taking the path of social media isn’t going to move you up in HR.   I run into too many HR Social Media folks who have really no clue about HR – but they LOVE their jobs.  Many of these folks seem to be out of those jobs very quickly – job after job after job.

You see it doesn’t take an organization long to understand that social media isn’t a position – it’s a tool.  A tool that can be used by everyone in HR, without a ton of effort, once you get the train going down the tracks.  That’s why you see HR Social Media positions crop up, then get cut in a 6th month window.  Organizations want results, they want to measure productivity – and while social media has a ton of things you can measure – it’s really hard for a HR Social Media Pro to prove their value.

“But Tim – I LOVE social media and HR – what am I suppose to do?”  Employment Branding is probably the best fit.  But you need more than social media chops for this – you need some marketing chops, some creativity, some business sense and networking ability to make this work.  Employment branding isn’t building a facebook page and using the term “Talent Community” in every meeting you attend.  It’s your ability to share your organizations story, while at the same time not losing the look and feel of what your actual brand is – that’s much harder than it looks!    You can be this highly conservative established brand, and try and sell your employment brand is young hip come-as-you-are party – it’s not authentic and it will fail.  Thus, you have to find a way to share the value and positives of what you actually do have.  I know so many employment branding folks who fail, for the simple fact that they “try” to establish an employment brand, this isn’t their brand.  “But we want a cool brand like Google!”  Well, you’re not Google – you’re GM – you’ll never be Google – but you have some cool stuff of your own – share that.

Look I get it – Social Media is exciting and sexy – but don’t confuse that with your ability to create a career path using it.  There are about 15 people in the world that have been able to do that, for longer than 6 months, and there are about 500,000 HR positions.  Love Social Media in HR, just don’t LOVE it.  Integrate the tools, have real HR chops – look to last past 6 months.


9 thoughts on “You Don’t Want a HR Social Media Position

  1. Tim is right. We don’t have HR “Internet” folks now do we? We will stop talking about “social” esp in terms of job titles within the next 2-3 years I reckon, just like we did with the Internet in the late 90’s.

    Social media creates the opportunity for everyone to be a brand advocate, a recruiter, a marketeer. As it embeds into our business lives, it won’t be relevant to have it managed by people in certain roles. We will all simply be doing socially enabled and charged business.

  2. @susan I have time; a history of commitment to and involvement with the sleeping community; and I have fat, snuggly cats. I’m a very good candidate for the job.

  3. I had a nice long post written and then my iPad crashed, sweet.

    I agree with the comment about social media being a tool, but think dissuading the career path is a bit short sighted. I don’t really care what your title is, I care if you’re using social media to drive the evolution of HR. If you’re in a bs SM HR job with a bs title doing bs work, chances are your career path in HR was limited any way. If you recognize social media is an invaluable tool, and use it to innovate and push HR to evolve, you’re likely to have a strong future.

    I don’t really care about the title, I care about the results. Disclaimer: I do care (a lot) if you have ninja or guru in your title. Don’t ever do that…

  4. tim, tim, tim. why must you be such a sad sack with this post?

    OK, so you want or maybe you have a role in HR that’s social media focused… fantastic. there’s nothing wrong with that and let’s not discourage it! come on! because for me? this means that you’re forward thinking and innovative. you are strategic and see opportunities to leverage emerging platforms for the enterprise. sure, it’s possible that if you have a role in HR or recruiting that’s social media focused, maybe you can get it to a place where it’s operational and institutional, in 6 months time like you say. and maybe you don’t need to guide it any more. so then what’s next? well, you were forward thinking enough to figure out how to strategically use it for your own brand and/or your organization. you came up with a framework that ensured you made an impact with measurable results. so then you’ll be forward thinking enough to figure out the next big thing, or apply all those same things in a different discipline. or you cross over into branding and marketing for a different audience. who knows? but the possibilities are endless – at least to me. and let’s face it – social media isn’t going anywhere. the digital space is ever expanding and fundamentally changing how we access information and communicate with each other. there’s no telling what’s next for social media and more broadly speaking, digital.

    so yes. my glass is half full over here… but i guess let’s see if i still have a job in six months.

    an HR gal who does social media

  5. My toes felt crushed, until you mentioned employment branding. But don’t forget about Recruiting – they’re not the same thing. I’m a marketing mind on a pretty amazing talent acquisition team (re: HR) and I’m tasked with solving recruiting problems. So there’s a slice where we can add value and progress our careers. And share some cool things along the way.

    Bryan (just hit the 6 month mark, lookout) Chaney

  6. Yes, yes, and yes. There also will not be HR jobs that involve pinning all day. Or creating Facebook games all day.

    In my mind roles should focus on what you’ll impact. Not what you’ll do. For example:

    Manager, HR Social Media :: NO
    Director, Digital Strategy :: YES

    You don’t want a role where your job is to impact the tool set. You want a role where your job is to formulate a strategy that may or may not comprise multiple tool sets.

    All of that said, I’m still searching for a VP of Sleeping Late job. Lemme know if you find one.

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