Andy is the founder of Sirona Consulting (http://www.sironaconsulting.com) - a specialist consultancy that helps companies understand and leverage social media to improve their recruitment strategy and processes. He is also the author of the popular Sirona Says blog (http://www.sironasays.com), where he discusses everything in recruitment - especially social recruiting. He is 'not afraid' of offering his opinions and industry insights, alongside valuable industry advice for recruiters. Andy has a wealth of experience across the recruitment industry having spent 23 years working in it, first as a recruiter for 17 years, followed by consulting with both recruitment agencies and corporates for the last 6 years. He has successfully delivered recruitment projects and assignments for companies in the UK, Europe, Middle East and the US.

Is there anyone you know that doesn’t have some form of a digital footprint? Most people now have at least one online social profile, even if it locked down for privacy purposes (let them believe that, it makes them happier!) But can these social profiles – the social DNA – be used by companies to help them identify new potential talent for their companies?

For the last couple of years, three companies have been trying to unravel this social DNA. They have been trying to understand how content, interactions, engagement and type of social network can provide indicators as to peoples social influence and knowledge. This would prove incredibly useful for companies looking to recruit people who have social media involvement within their jobs. For example, if you were hiring a marketing manager that requires good social media experience, you would expect them to have a strong social DNA. This would be picked up by one of the tools shown above (or should be) – Kred, Klout or PeerIndex – and indicated with an above average score. A low score or no score at all, would indicate that they are not very active on social media, and maybe not right for your role.
Any of you that use Twitter will have already seen this in action. Have you ever wondered what the red shape with a number in is on the Twitter website? Well this is actually your Klout score. It uses ‘ 400 signals from 8 social networks’ to produce your social score out of 100. This is great in theory, but there is however a big ‘?’ here with regards to these three products.

Image Andys post

You see this thing called social DNA is incredibly complex. What determines you are influential and therefore useful ( to you or your clients)? Is it frequency of activity on the social networks, the type of content you share, the followers you have, the communities you are involved in, the types of networks you are part of, or any other of the myriad of data points there are in the social media world?

To date each of the three companies above have been openly ridiculed across the social web, for ‘supposedly in-accurate’ levels of influence across different subjects. The most famous was when Justin Bieber was hailed as the most influential person on social media!!  The fact is he might well have been to young teenage girls, but across the whole of social media? I don’t think so! (And neither did all the people that took to channels like Twitter to voice the same opinion!) The problem with this is that it did little for the credibility of these tools! And here lies the one big problem……… credibility.

For these three tools (or any others that come along) there needs to be a consistency we have not seen to date with their results. This is going to take time. John Sumser came up with a perfect answer with regards to this: “It took scientists years to unravel DNA (after it’s discovery), but they got there in the end. The journey to unravel social DNA has only just begun, but be in no doubt that over the next few years, companies like Kred, Klout and Peerindex WILL get to understand people’s social DNA and it’s power in influence and decision making”

So let me go back to the point of the post. Can you use these (or other tools) to help you make a recruitment decision? In my opinion for some sectors, yes they can be very useful, but only as an indicator at this stage. If you are recruiting roles that need social media as part of them – sales, marketing, technology and recruitment – then maybe you should be keeping an eye on these platforms for the future.

Your social DNA is only going to grow and become more complex, so it is going to be really interesting to see how companies learn to de-construct it’s different constituent parts for all our benefit!