We have openings for the position of content writer. The candidate must be a graduate and should have passion for reading and writing in English. The candidate must also be a member of Facebook with atleast 25 friends.
Above is a job listing on a popular job portal. Zapped? Don’t be. Several companies these days are on the lookout for youngsters who have active social networking profiles. In fact, having a specified number of fans, friends or followers on these sites is now a major hiring criterion.
These ‘active netizens’ are hired to work with customer companies — ranging from a car manufacturer to a confectionary company — who wish to use social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. The work profile may include anything from creating buzz of newsworthy events to making videos, tweets or blog entries that attract attention.
Recently, freelancer Narayan Kumar, 25, got a glimpse of this new hiring trend. After quitting his job in journalism, Kumar was on the lookout for something to do with content writing and uploaded his CV on several job portals. “The results were astonishing. While most demanded active social networking profiles, one even asked for details of my account so that they could verify if I was active enough and also check if I had enough friends on them! Only then would they call me back,” he says.
Mix and match
The criteria differ. While some companies only ask for an active profile, others may also ask candidates to have fixed number of fans and make daily posts. They may even ask potential employees to maintain a daily blog. However, what doesn’t change is the focus on English language and people skills.
But content writing isn’t the only industry impacted by this trend. With youngsters spending hours on social networking sites, several companies are tweaking their online marketing strategies to meet their needs. It also makes business sense to hire people who understand social networking sites.
“People love to go to Orkut or Facebook during office hours which used to affect their productivity. So instead of complaining about it, companies are now devising ways to use it to their benefit. This works for both the employer and employee. The former gets visibility and the latter gets paid for ‘working’ online,” says Nancy D’Cruz, headhunter. She claims to have placed 25 youngsters in similar companies.
Are you game?
Even companies that hire technical writers and researchers require employees to share their views online and learn through forums.
A lifestyle company that wished to create online buzz recently approached Dimple Shah, 25. She says, “They figured that since I am very active on networking sites, my friends won’t realise that I am marketing a product. They asked me to discreetly drop product names in different conversations and offered me Rs 15,000 for it. I refused. It does come down to how comfortable you are in using your profile for professional gains.”
What to avoid
Employers screen candidates on Facebook. They look for:
Posting indiscreet photos and information
Posting activity involving alcohol and/or drugs
Bad-mouthing former employers
Malicious behaviour towards former colleagues
Faking credentials on CVs and then boasting about it