Job requirement: Twitter followers

A recruitment ad for a Sr. Manager – Emerging Media Marketing Job at US retailer Best Buy includes an item under the “Preferred Qualifications” heading that applicants have “250 plus followers on Twitter.”


I guess it’s one way of noting a preference that applicants are savvy, active and connected in the twittersphere and, by implication, might have a better understanding of how social media tools like this work in a business context.

I’m not surprised to see this in a recruitment ad by Best Buy.

This is the company whose President and COO (now CEO), Brian J. Dunn – who, incidentally, is on Twitter – was awarded the IABC EXCEL Award this year and whose keynote address about communication at the IABC conference in San Francisco in early June was one of the most inspiring I’ve ever heard from a senior corporate executive of any company (here’s a taste of what Dunn said, in a brief Audioboo I recorded from my spot in the auditorium).

The IABC EXCEL Award recognizes leaders who foster excellence in communication and contribute to the development and support of organizational communication.

So, Twitter followers as a preferred “qualification” when recruiting. Is this a sign of the (coming) times?

This has clearly captured many people’s imaginations this morning, judging by the number of retweets of my original post on Friendfeed about it, as well as retweets of this blog post.

(Via Nathan Driver)

[Later] A comment by Best Buy’s Joshua Kahn talked about a new development regarding this recruitment opening that would be posted today on Barry Judge’s blog. He is Best Buy’s CMO.

Sure enough, there is now a post that opens up an intriguing development in what I’d call the co-creation of a job description in a way that would make a distinct connection with people who have an interest in the company, not only those looking for a job. There’s also the huge buzz potential that gets Best Buy talked about.

[…] In following the conversation around this job posting we discovered that many people had other ideas for how this job description should look, and what the qualifications should be.  We realized that perhaps we hadn’t thought of everything.  Beyond that we thought perhaps we could find a way to enable a more pointed discussion about this relatively new job category of Emerging Media.

It seemed to us to be a natural progression to get the community involved in crafting the job description and qualifications. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

We’d like you, (yes all of you), to help us write the job description for our Sr Manager of Emerging Media Marketing job.

We’d also like you all to help us pick the best description.

Here’s How To Participate

1. Starting now, until Tuesday, July 14th, at 5pm central submit your job description idea to our Best Buy IdeaX site.  IdeaX is a site where people like you can share your own ideas on how to make Best Buy better – through idea posts, popular vote and discussions with the rest of the IdeaX community.

I do like the rationale Judge expresses, especially his number 2 point:

This role is a new one for us as it likely is for other companies. We have a lot of smart and social media savvy people here and amongst our partners and friends.  However, there are a larger number of smart and social media savvy people “out there”. So instead of thinking we know it all, we’d like to increase our chances of getting it right by surveying the wisdom of the industry.

Sort of an Ideastorm for HR.

This should catch on.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Eden Spodek

    I’m not surprised at all. Other companies think this way, Best Buy is just the first one bold enough to say so in a recruitment ad. During my recent job search, I met with several companies both in-house and agency side. A couple roles I considered made it clear they were interested in me in part because of the size of my Twitter following.

    • neville

      That’s an interesting point, Eden, re your own experience. Not heard of that here in the UK, but I think it’s just a matter of time.

      • david cushman

        One’s connectedness has always been valued by potential employers in key roles. But it is very cool to see the fuzzy-edged adhoc group forming connectedness of twitter specifically.

      • John V Willshire

        At the moment, I think it’s probably smart… but as soon as it becomes common practice amongst employers, then the first thing anyone will do to get a new job is purposely scale-up their twitter followers… they’ll accept anyone, including any spam followers, and follow folks they don’t really want to in hope of a return-path follow…

        It’s arguably an example of old world thinking clouding a new world opportunity? “Lots is good, let’s get lots, everything else will work itself out afterwords…”

        • Eden Spodek

          John, you make an excellent point about scaling up your twitter followers. Interestingly enough, none of those companies asked how I engaged with people on twitter (or other platforms.)

  2. Mike Driehorst

    Numbers are nice, and like a lot of numbers and other metrics in social media, how do you quantify them? I bet about 15-20+% of my followers (1300+) are nothing more than get-rich-quick or porn accounts — ones I definitely do not follow back.

    So, my follower numbers may look good, but they’re not really “real.” Most of are high-quality — and I appreciate the compliment with the follow — but how does one convey quality in a brief profile?
    Thanks for the post, Neville (and thanks to @OnwardSearch on Twitter for the pointer).

  3. Joshua Kahn

    Hey Neville, I’m on the staffing team at Best Buy. I’m the guy who originally tweeted this out to Jason Falls, Jeremiah Owyang, et al.

    Keep your eye on (the blog for Best Buy’s CMO) today for a new development related to this job and qualifications.



    • neville

      Thanks for the heads up, Joshua. I see the new development you mention is now posted on Barry Judge’s blog. I’ve updated my post to reflect that.

      Nice work on this!

  4. Andrew Gerrard (@andrewgerrard)

    This is unquestionably a growing trend where HR professionals are already using social media to research and discover more about potential candidates for employment. Savvy employees are using their online personae to then position themselves according to the level and types of jobs they want. In fact, prospects should be pushing employers towards social network profiles when and where they become relevant.

    The no. of followers in this case is almost irrelevant – what’s needed by a prospect here is a demonstration of their social media whuffie. Further, the idea that they can trick an employer by building their following through dodgy means won’t wash – any half-smart employer should be looking for quality as a balance to quantity.

  5. Ben Strackany

    Um, it’s an emerging media marketing position. Of course they want to find people who tweet, blog, and are otherwise fully immersed in new & emerging media. Counting the number of followers is merely a low-effort metric to narrow the field.

    • neville

      The really interesting aspect is how they now want to engage with anyone who has some useful ideas to suggest what the spec for a job like this ought to contain.

      Now that ought to be a trend.

  6. radostinakesova (Radostina Kesova)

    Twitter Comment

    RT @elenko: Изизскване за работата – 250 последователи в Twitter: [link to post] -> не ставам за тая работа 153 followers, слаба ракия.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  7. Anelche (Anelia Mircheva)

    Twitter Comment

    Ще го включа към изискванията RT@elenko Изизскване за работата – 250 последователи в Twitter: [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  8. carnagein

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