When Communities Define Your Job Requirements

Involving community and customers in providing feedback about your products isn’t the only way to innovate your company. In the future, especially around public facing jobs at companies, we should expect brands to involve the community in defining what those roles should be.

If you’re following my tweets, you’ll remember me mentioning this open position of Sr Manager, Emerging Media Marketing a few days ago, and commenting how one of the preferred requirements of having 250 Twitter followers.  You can see all those that responded, retweeted, or commented back to me.

While recruiters have been using social media to seek and find potential candidates, it was interesting to speak to Joshua Kahn, who spoke at the Social Recruiting Summit at Google, who is an Accenture consultant embedded at Best Buy.  He’s now helping Barry Judge, Best Buy’s CMO, find this role.   From his blog (which by the way is a great example of an open CMO) Barry asks the community to help define the requirements for the role.   It’s suggested that members use the community idea site IdeaX (we call this an embracing strategy) to define and suggest what the role should entail, I found this submission, and commented on another.

Impacts of Communities Defining Jobs

  • Involving a community/customers to define what a role should be keeps brands focused not just on corporate objectives –but also to stay customer focused.
  • This is a trend towards 360 degrees of accountability for public facing roles, perhaps not just in new media positions but in any customer facing role, and perhaps eventually in executive positions. In some ways, this level of corporate accountability lead from transparency could ultimately help repair or prevent some of the downfall we’ve seen in our current economic climate.
  • Expect community not to just define what roles should look like, but to also recommend and suggest candidates that could fulfill these roles.
  • Although the feedback looks pretty minimal right now, if an excess amount of contributions appeared, expect hiring mangers to take portions of this input to be factored into the requirements gathering.
  • In the most radical future, we could expect a formalized rating system could appear that let customers and community rate and rank employees of any given company. We’re seeing early examples of executives are already being rated by their employees in GlassDoor.
  • Expect a 2.0 startup to appear that focuses just on community feedback for roles and job requirements, we’ve got them for everything else, so why not this?
  • The downsides? While the attention around this open req is unique, there’s going to be an equal amount of pressure in this role to succeed. Then again, this candidate is likely going to be familiar with the open –and public aspect—of the social web.

Update: Barry has posted that there’s issues with the IdeaX application, watch his blog for updates.  Here’s a list of all the submissions.

  • http://www.bigdealpr.com Carri Bugbee

    This is a fascinating idea. My guess is that most companies will create a hybrid job description of community-generated suggestions and specific skills that fulfill internal requirements based upon what is needed to meet marketing and customer service objectives.

    This can be a big PR win for any firm who chooses to go this route just from the standpoint of ASKING customers/community for advice. But it could just as easily turn into a debacle if a company doesn’t take that advice to heart. When you solicit advice from the community, there is some expectation that you’ll follow it. This may be hard if the advice is all over the map.

    The other possible downside is that it’s highly unlikely that the community will embrace a marketing or PR person as a community manager because of the baggage of those titles. Yet, marketing and PR people are most likely to have the right skill sets – unless the community manager is a pure customer service play. That could present a conundrum.

    BTW, Jeremiah, we hope you’ll join us for our Social Media Club BBQ the night before you speak at Inverge in Portland on July 23rd! All the Portland social media groupies are dying to meet you. ☺

    @CarriBugbee
    @SocialMediaPDX

  • http://rueckert.typepad.com Joe Rueckert

    I think when the concept is pared down to practicality, you’ll see the crowdsourcing be aimed toward the specific community around the role’s expertise. In today’s landscape, proactive hiring managers/recruiters will reach out to potential candidates partially to entice them, but mostly to reach their networks of peers that the recruiter would not normally be exposed to. And sometimes they’ll ask for input on the role definition. This process would certainly help those hiring, get awareness to their target prospects (via WOM) and gain practical input into how the position should/could be defined.

    Although a possibility, I don’t foresee a consumer input model that would broadly improve the hiring process. But I guess time will tell. Tip of the hat to my fellow twin-cities to continue to push the possibilities.

    (BTW, I’d make it a requirement for that position that any prospect who has documented cases of referring to themselves as a guru or rockstar is ruled out)

  • http://www.expedientmeans.com Steve Furman

    Barry Judge really gets it. Makes sense to let his customers help determine who they will interact with. It’s like electing a representative. Hope it works out better than Congress. Personally I feel it’s too soon to use how many Twitter followers you have as a job qualification. But I really like the boldness of the approach.

    The person who gets this job will still be required to perform based on the old rules. Difficult to update everything all at once. Big downside is that the “elected” person may not perform and will be managed out of the organization. That is a communication nightmare.

    Steve

  • http://twitter.com/williamu William

    This is very exciting in the category of first-mover. It’ll be interesting to hear of the results and lessons learned from this effort. Question: Would this work as well or even better if it had been initiated from within a skill-set based setting/environment?

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    I think many small businesses have job descriptions that are amorphous and change as the needs of a company changes.

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  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    CarriBugbee

    Yes, looking forward to Portland. I’m not speaking at inverge (not sure what that is) I’m headed to speak at the Internet Strategy Forum Summit

  • http://www.AAA.com/news jgraziani

    Another insightful post, Jeremiah, that pushes the envelope for companies and consumers interacting through social media. Best Buy scores big points for out-of-the-box (and into-the-community) thinking. Seems like they are going the extra mile to involve their community into helping shape the future of the company (even in a small way). It will be interesting to see how it works out for them (and the community), and whether other firms embrace the idea.

  • http://www.bigdealpr.com Carri Bugbee

    Jeremiah, we’re really looking forward to meeting you in Portland! Sorry, I mistyped the name of the conference. Inverge is one of the other conferences produced by Internet Strategy Forum (ISF) producer Steve Gehlen (who I’ve worked with on other events). We’ll see you at ISF – and Social Media Club!

    @CarriBugbee

  • http://www.ireflectm.com Carlos Hernandez

    Jeremiah,

    Expecting brands to involve the community in defining what roles would look like seems to be a huge step.

    I like what Kodak’s Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chief Marketing Officer, @jeffreyhayzlett announced at Jeff Pulver’s recent “140 Characters Conference”, http://www.140conf.com/in NYC. They are filling the position of “Chief Listening Officer” to complement their “Chief Blogging Officer” role.

    It would seem that taking the active step to listen could evolve to what your post is advocating. It also declares that a company is financially committed to the role of at least listening. Implementation is yet another hurdle.

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  • http://www.vandehaterd.nl Bas van de Haterd

    After a lot of commotion, I just heard this is what best buy is doing: http://barryjudge.com/help-us-write-the-job-description-sr-manager-emerging-media-marketing

    Because there was a lot of fuss about the 250 followers in Twitter they decided to crowdsource the job description.

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