Social Business Job Descriptions suck…

Why read this?

I’ve been doing competitive research on “digitally savvy” companies; one of our basic process points is to review job openings at each company to examine where talent acquisition and business growth is occurring.

All I can really say is that my perception of most employers hiring social media and digital savvy personnel is like watching someone drive off a cliff.

This process has reminded me that human resources really doesn’t know what they don’t know.

What should they know?

As someone who has been innovating digital business models for over fifteen years I am often plagued by thoughts about how poor job descriptions are when it comes to digital innovation and evolving business models.

From a competitive intelligence standpoint a job description can be the detail of what is both right and wrong within an organization.

Human Resources should know how to write a job description, source candidates, and hire talent

Good people = Good Business

Part of ‘being there, doing that’ has included attending and/or organizing hundreds of networking events centered around digital business.

These include social media clubs, web developer conferences, product launches, technology events, and executive strategy seminars.

 I’ve personally shaken thousands of hands,
many of them I’ve met multiple times over weeks, months, or years.

Some of them are pretty amazing people.
Others seem to change personality, profession, and ‘expertise’
every single time I talk to them.

Few of them realize I get several calls a week from different employer brands asking about them. At the end of the day I keep seeing extraordinary people get passed over for people who have less ethics about claiming a glorified result from a ‘big brand’ background and who have an incredibly hard time actually defining what they did in previous projects.

In the recruiting world these people would be referred to as resume stuffers with “an extraordinary ability to sell themselves.”

The mundane world would simply say they are full of hot air.



An Honest Social Business Job Description

To help executive teams understand some of the broken elements surrounding why social business job descriptions are broken, I’ve written my own job description.

Job Title: Digital Innovation Architect

The Digital Innovation Architect works across our organization to discover, adapt, and implement new media technologies and trends. This person is responsible for understanding basic business drivers in multiple departmental units and for developing both short and long term projects that impact revenue categories. An ideal candidate will have a solid understanding of core business drivers, an exceptional talent in applying new models, and a track record of success.

The Social Business Architect will create and oversee implementation of plans to meet strategic objectives within an established budget and revenue target. They will be a
liaise and build relationships with both internal and external audiences.

Personality Type

  • Avid learner with a passionate need to constantly interpret market shifts and take decisive action.
  • Assertive personality, ability to negotiate with a variety of platform and service partners.
  • Knows when to play well with others and when to kick them out of the conversation.

Includes a razor sharp ability to recognize things for what they are: if it smells like a duck, walks like a duck, and looks like a duck… you have the ability to instantly recognize it as being a useless attempt at marketing and sales.

Personality Tags: Competitive, innovative, honest, ethical, out-of-box, thought-provoking


15+ years of experience planning and managing online campaigns that include market analysis, product integration, digital advertising, social media, hardware development, audience optimization, and continuing multivariate testing with cascading development cycles.

Has in-depth understanding of product strategy and core business modeling to create multiple touch points to existing business processes that can drive budget impacts across the organization. Has well-rounded understanding of business silos and knows how to effectively negotiate with internal and external decision makers to execute successful projects within budget and on time.

Expertise Tags: “A” Player, over-achiever, “go to person”

Budgetary Understanding

  • Has ability to scale from ideation to globalization.
  • Knows how to work with numbers from $1 to $1 billion.
  • Understands core budgetary cogs that define project success/risk against market opportunities.

Budget Tags: budgetary responsibility, profit & loss, disruptive

 Management Skills

You know how to squeeze blood from rocks.

This is because one of your greatest strengths is the analysis of people.

  • You don’t always try to squeeze blood from rocks and rely on a flexible understanding of why people want to be involved and where their cheese is.
  • This involves understanding creative talent, technical developers, corporate partners, executive leaders, and budgetary decision makers.
  • You have a likeable demeanor both in-person and over the phone, and have the experience to know when face-to-face time is needed.

Professional Network

Because you play well with others and you have an exceptional rolodex of professionals you can turn to that have expertise in specific niche fields.

  • You  know how to apply individual and team expertise and talent categories against a project road map and delivery schedule.
  • You know how to develop relationships that allow you to  scale projects and fill gaps in specific project teams.
  • In addition to technical skills, you understand talent and career levels.

Industry Knowledge

This isn’t your first rodeo.

If this job was a game of Monopoly

  • You could recite the differences between Atlantic Avenue and Park Place.
  • You not only know who owns what, but what the impacts is of each piece on the board.
  • You know who plays fair and who cheats. You know how to deal with either.
  • When it’s your turn to roll the dice you can give accurate percentages for the chances of going to jail or winning the game.

Inside of the social business space this applies to a developed understanding of hardware manufacturers, social platforms, mobile carriers, data providers, legal issues, market trends, and business modeling.

Industry Tags: adaptive, connected

Technical Skills

You have a well-rounded knowledge and expertise.

You know all sorts of technical things because you love technology and what it does for people and for business.

You not only like buttons, but you like pushing them and asking why a button exists and how it affects multiple processes that are intangible to the casual observer.

  • An ideal candidate would love things like wirelss HD video, interactive display technology, designing micro-drone quadcopters, or developing software tools.
  • They would look at a typical mobile phone or tablet computer and be able to define core characteristics and capabilities of the device and how they affect usage, market adoption, and opportunity/risk.

Web Skills

You know all sorts of web jargon. Terms like SEO, PPC, Tweeting, Geocoding, and Microformats make you laugh because you’ve heard all the nerdy geek jokes already.

You realize that there are people like you who live and breathe this stuff and there is ‘everybody else’ – you know when to put on your nerdy science coat and debate the usefulness of different technologies and when you need to speak in common English so that your audience can understand the benefits.

  • You understand the web is social.
  • You know that social is about being human.
  • You get businesses need to understand the web, to be social, to create products that rock, to make money.

Web Tags: too many too list (see addendum on Wikipedia)

Presentation Skills

You have all the above stuff handled right?

Great… now you just need to be able to put yourself in front of a million different audiences and communicate things in way they can understand.

You may have to present ideas on the phone, in an executive boardroom, via webinar, or in a tradeshow panel. You may get blind-sided five minutes before the presentation, but we will still expect you to juggle the hand grenade and make our company look impressive.

  • You may be talking about a physical widget or a completely intangible concept.
  • You need to know how to take a punch to the face.
  • You need amazing Kung-Fu skills.
  • You may be pitching an idea to a departmental partner or our next multi-million dollar customer.

Presentation Tags: entertaining, informative, motivational

Project Management Skills

Prepares our projects like they are running a 5 star kitchen: they have process, know all the ingredients, coordinate staff to get prep done, and know how to listen to immediate guest feedback to make something ordinary into something extraordinary. They can research and study demographic and consumer profiles, compare vendor capabilities, and integrate on-going improvement cycles.

  • Is fully prepared to be placed in a kitchen from Hell’s Kitchen or Restaurant Impossible.
  • Knows what commitment is and shows up with a game face on.
  • Works with the team, not against it.

Project Tags: reliable, on-time, under budget

The Conclusion

As an executive team or hiring manager, social business is about examining the corporate box, ranging from its contents to its environment.

A social business executive is responsible with researching new areas of opportunity and creating innovative applications within the market.

If you fall victim to writing traditional job descriptions or fail to talk about the reality of moving forward… your organization will slowly and surely bury itself in a pile of traditional ideas that don’t accelerate fast enough to live in today’s digital marketplace.