Social Media as a career is interesting and one that is constantly evolving, making it a very viable option. The industry is growing fast and since many agencies have sprung up in the last couple of years, it can be overwhelming to understand the inside scenario of a social media agency. Students are often confused about which role to take up and what skill sets are required to work on social media campaigns. Even senior level entries in agencies do not have set guidelines for the interview process.
We interviewed Rohan Bhansali, CEO, Gozoop to throw some light on the various inside operations, hierarchy levels and the ways in which a candidate can land a job in a social media agency.
1. What are the skill sets required to work at a social media agency? What do you look for in a resume?
Before looking at skill sets or resumes, we first gauge the individual on general values like loyalty, integrity, leadership, heart, and honesty. We focus more on character than talent. Our philosophy is simple; we believe that it’s easier to teach social media to an honest willing individual than to develop integrity in a social media expert.
Having filtered for character and culture, the skill sets we seek are brand understanding and communication – written and verbal. Social Media is not rocket science. Its simple objective is to make brands more human and approachable. So what we’re looking for are good communicators who have the ability to understand what a brand stands for.
2. What are the broad roles/profiles in a social media agency that candidates can apply for?
Social Media executions require a wide set of talents. A social media team consists of a Client Servicing executive, Brand Strategist, Content Writer, Designer and a Web Developer. So individuals who are passionate about any of these roles can make a career in a social media agency. Being a complete digital marketing agency, we also welcome talent for Media Planning, Business Development, Search Engine Optimization, Online Reputation Management and Public Relations
3. How do candidates showcase their knowledge / skills during an interview?
We conduct a pre-screening before the interview by giving the candidates an assignment. A candidate applying for a Social Media executive role will be asked to make a complete Social Media strategy for a brand while a Designer may be asked to design a Facebook Application. This is where we gauge them for their domain knowledge or particular skill.
Post filtering, we conduct interviews that are more conversational and casual. We try and get to know the person as much as possible. We ask questions along the vein of how they spend their weekends, or what their best friend would say about them. We normally have 3 rounds of interviews and each interviewer rates the candidates on the following parameters – Culture, Integrity, Communication, Domain Knowledge and Presentation.
4. What is the scope of using social media for personal use during the job selection? Also, do agencies look into personal social media profiles of an applicant while hiring them?
Today, mostly everyone we interview is active on Facebook. However, a good personal presence on Twitter, Instagram, etc. is definitely a valuable positive. This is not a prerequisite though. I can’t speak for all agencies but we don’t really look into the personal social profiles of applicants, but conduct professional reference checks.
5. How can Linkedin be used effectively to land a job in a social media agency?
LinkedIn is great for hiring, especially for senior roles. An example I love sharing is that of Valentina Sanna, MD, Gozoop Singapore, who got in touch with me on LinkedIn. Our conversation started on LinkedIn and today we have a footprint in the South East Asian market through Singapore. So, one can imagine the effectiveness of LinkedIn as a team building tool.
One may also use LinkedIn Jobs to post requirements. This is a paid service which we’ve honestly never used yet, but I think it’s a great hiring tool worth exploring. On LinkedIn, we have relied more on general postings and it worked reasonably well for us.
6. On what basis does Gozoop choose candidates for senior roles?
As a blanket practice, we focus more on soft skills irrespective of the seniority of the role. For senior roles we additionally focus on 2 skills – Leadership and Communication. Of course, domain knowledge is screened for first.
For Senior Roles, experience plays an important role too. We are aware of the places where we need to improve, to be in line with our mission and vision. If an individual can help us towards our goals, fits into our culture and aligns with our value systems, we would love to get him/her on board.
Our goal is to hire people who are better than us. For example, before we had an HR team, I used to personally manage everything HR related. As we grew and decided to build a dedicated HR team, the challenge and goal was to hire someone who could do this job much better than I could. I can proudly say we achieved that with our HR Head (we call her the Happiness Officer) and that’s how we hire for many other senior roles.
7. What is the hierarchy in your company?
We have historically had a flat organizational structure. However, post the Red Digital acquisition we have made a few changes to synergize the team and overall operations. As far as the social media hierarchy goes, we have a Social Media Executive who is mentored by an Account Manager. Leading the Account Managers we have the Social Media Head, Client Servicing Head and Online Marketing Head.
On a broader front, we have a head for each function – an SEO Head, a Media Spends Head, an Online Reputation Management Head, a Design Head and a Web Development Head. We also have Country heads for each of our 3 locations – India, Dubai and Singapore.
8. How does one make a solid career in the social media industry?
The most important thing is, to love the medium. Its pace has to excite you. Of course, most people love spending time on Facebook but that’s not enough. It is important to think beyond the Wall and the Newsfeeds. There is a lot more to social media beyond likes and comments.
It is important to think on a broader digital front. How have smartphones changed the digital medium? How will Google Glasses change the digital industry? If these are the questions that consume your brain cells, you are well programmed to make it big in the social media and digital industry.
A career in Social Media firstly requires the candidate to love the medium, as well as values, brand communication and understanding. Rohan Bhansali has solved major points that most students and senior.