Employment Klout?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 - career change, Job Application, Social Media

Employment Klout?

So, you want to get a job, and according to some new age hack writing from an Apple iPad in Silicon Valley, a number calculated by a three-year-old start-up corporation will affect your employability? Have you just lost a job according to your Klout score?

The latest journalist to take a turn at this is from Wired magazine, in an article entitled: What Your Klout Score Really Means. In it, with regards employment, Stevenson writes:

Last spring Sam Fiorella was recruited for a VP position at a large Toronto marketing agency. With 15 years of experience consulting for major brands like AOL, Ford, and Kraft, Fiorella felt confident in his qualifications. But midway through the interview, he was caught off guard when his interviewer asked him for his Klout score. Fiorella hesitated awkwardly before confessing that he had no idea what a Klout score was.

The interviewer pulled up the web page for Klout.com – a service that purports to measure users’ online influence on a scale from 1 to 100 – and angled the monitor so that Fiorella could see the humbling result for himself: His score was 34. “He cut the interview short pretty soon after that,” Fiorella says. Later he learned that he’d been eliminated as a candidate specifically because his Klout score was too low. “They hired a guy whose score was 67.”

Partly intrigued, partly scared, Fiorella spent the next six months working feverishly to boost his Klout score, eventually hitting 72. As his score rose, so did the number of job offers and speaking invitations he received. “Fifteen years of accomplishments weren’t as important as that score,” he says.

So, should we all get worried, and start increasing our Klout score? Hang on a minute, and lets disect this from an employment perspective.

The Employment Process

I have written before about the employment process, and about how employment doesn’t start with the job seeker, but with the employer:

  1. The organisation/business wishes to change
  2. That creates a business case, which includes the provision of a certain number of assets
  3. Those assest include a certain number of people and associated skills, which is written down in a Job Decription
  4. The HR department scout the existing workforce – particularly if people are to be ade redundant as a result of this change – and note who has the skills, or who could be trained in what timescale to the required standard
  5. The resultant gaps leaving hiring requirements, which the company can fulfill themselves or sub-contract to a head hunetr or recruiter

At this point, the candidate sourcing process starts. From the 5 Steps to Employment process, we know that in step3 there are 5 ways to get employed:

  1. Promotion
  2. Head Hunting
  3. Networking
  4. Recruitment
  5. Job Adverts

From the Job Decscription, the recruiter takes the 5/8 competencies – skills, qualifications, experiences – required to fulfill the job, and starts a search. That will in part be through their existing candidate database, and in part based on a boolean search through LinkedIn.

Where would a Klout score come into candidate sourcing?

Primary competencies verus supplementary selection criteria

As a recruiter, I haven’t yet see any employer client put a Klout score on their primary search criteria.

The primary search criteria are the main 5/8 competencies, ie: Technical Fit. If you don’t have those, the you are not a suitable job applicant. These would include those listed in the 5/8 competencies, which would create a career track that may include:

  • Similar business results
  • Similar company experience
  • Professional certification
  • Education

Only now, knowing that a potential job applicant has the required 5/8 competencies to fulfill the primary search criteria, would secondary issues like Klout come int candidate selection.

What does Kout do?

In theory, your Klout score reflects your online activity, and who many people listen/follow what you say/do, and how many repeat it. So, its like it measuring how many pebbles that you drop into a river from a bridge, and how far the resultant ripples travel.

Online influence is very much a reflection of GenY people, ie: those in the present sub25 age group. Secondly, an ability to leverage online would be key potentially in product launch, marketing and sales positions focused on that target audience, ie: GenY. Therefore to my recruiter thinking, a Klout score could be a supplementary measure for selecting product launch, marketing and sales people associated with a GenY targetted product. (NOTE: Sam Fiorella was applying for a position in a Marketing Agency)

But is Klout a serious number in the first place?

Credibility of Klout

Klout has credibility because people accept its rating system, the base of which is an algorithm. But, and here’s a kicker, how oes that algorithm balance one set of criteria versus another?

For instance, I have a current Klout score of 30. Opps! However, a friend introduced me to Connected recently, on which I discovered that:

  • Facebook: low at 296 compared to average user with 592. I am cautious of the Big Blue Friendly Monster after removing 20% of of job applicants to our former HGV training programme due to their self-admitted drugs taking
  • LinkedIn: high at 4,028 compared to the average of 643. Wonder where we find most of our candidates?
  • Twitter: high at 1,846 compared to the average of 1,170

Yet, I only get a score of 30? In part I foud that was due to the fact that Facebook only authorises access for Klout on a periodic basis, and if you don’t renew it the authorisation ends, and so down goes your Klout score.

Secondly, if you do a search on your favourite Search Engine, you will soon find lots of articles about How to game Klout, and How to increase your Klout Score. Even Klout product director Chris Makarsky suggested that Seth Stevenson could increase his Klout score of 31 by:

  1. Improve the “cadence” of tweets, ie tweet more. Every 30mins seems to be the required cadence level
  2. Concentrate on one topic
  3. Develop relationships with high-Klout score people who might respond to your tweets, propagate them, and extend your influence to whole new population groups
  4. Keep things upbeat. “We find that positive sentiment drives more action than negative”

So, if that’s the way to game Klout, is the answer that really the focus of the under lying algorithm is biased towards Twitter, over other forms of social media? No wonder with but a measely 4000+ LinkedIn connections and only 1,800 people listening to my one or two tweets per day, I have such a lousy Klout score!

Klout is not employment

The simple summary then, is that Klout is not employment. Even if you were applying for a product launch, marketing or sales position in a service that targetted GenY, Klout would only be a secondary criteria point of assessment.

I’ll just add, from a European perspective, if a candidate asked me why they were rejected, and I stated it was mainly because of their low Klout score, I think a lawyer would tan my arse from here to eternity! Professionally as a recruiter, I conclude that they would be absolutely right to do so.

In the cold light of the real employent world, Klout simply is not credible. I’ll leave the last word to Seth’s own conclusion in his article, and then answer a question:

Over time, I found my eyes drifting to tweets from folks with the lowest Klout scores. They talked about things nobody else was talking about. Sitcoms in Haiti. Quirky museum exhibits. Strange movie-theater lobby cards from the 1970s. The un-Kloutiest’s thoughts, jokes, and bubbles of honest emotion felt rawer, more authentic, and blissfully oblivious to the herd. Like unloved TV shows, these people had low Nielsen ratings—no brand would ever bother to advertise on their channels. And yet, these were the people I paid the most attention to. They were unique and genuine. That may not matter to marketers, and it may not win them much Klout. But it makes them a lot more interesting.

Now, that interesting stuff: that’s employability!

Employment and Klout

Carl, a sales director, asks: Have you seen a person’s “Klout score” play a significant role in their being hired (or fired)? I pose the question after reading a multi-page article on this topic in the latest Wired magazine. In my experience, Wired has been a pretty reputable (although sometimes far-reaching) source of information. If Klout was able to truly deliver a viable rating of influence, this is not as far fetched as some may think. As a matter of fact, its a great idea. So… I’m glad some folks think this is silly, or ridiculous. The more, the better. That just means less people for me to compete against as I progress through my career! According to Wired, there is a growing trend to use Klout in the decision making process for new employees. Has anyone seen this first-hand? If so, how did it work out?

In Answer:

I have seen lots of people say that someone has used Klout to grade potential new hires, but I have not seen anyone in the world of recruitment use it as a main criteria for finding and selecting anyone.

There seems to be a rush to stupidity in Social Media at present, with a whole batch of new articles on the latest and greatest thing since Facebook, etc. Every time someone launches a new social media thing, there’s a flow of “How to get hired using X” type articles.

The answer presently with regards Klout is NO, and that’s based on two criteria. The first is based on a fundamental of the world of recruitment, which all of these articles seem to completely miss.

Firstly, if I had an employer customer looking for someone, why would I use Klout as part of the analysis of that candidates fit to that job? Klout is a theoretical measurement of someone’s online personal leverage, ie: how often they do something and others listen/take action. So its only relevance would be for positions that included a large proportion of social media, or management of. That suggests that its either a marketing or product launch type position, heavily engaging a GenY type audience that are mostly engaged online. I’d hence be looking at people with that type of track record: marketing based degree, marketing professional certified, a couple of product launches or marketing campaigns, etc. The ideal candidate would probably have written a couple of papers or articles, so I’d be on the lookout for those far more in the overall candidate analysis than a Klout score.

Secondly, is Klout a credible tool? At present they keep changing their algorithm every few months, so what was a good score last month is not so good this month. There is also a lot of industry wide critic of Klout, so much as other have pointed out its now has its own critic site at klouchebag.com.

I think where Klout could be useful, is if you were a in a product launch, and wated to hire a celebrity/personality to get at a particualr audience. We have seen numerous advertising agencies use popular Twitter followers in various campaigns, mainly fast food and snack orientated so far, to launch or enhance a campaign. Having chatted to a few people in that market, they have used Klout as a metric, but that’s alongside numerous other market-tested criteria. At the end of the day, the customer wants people to buy, not just re-tweet!

So, in summary, until Klout stabalises, how can it be seriously used by anyone? Secondly, if it were to be used in candidate search and selection, it would be at a third level or supplementary issue of candidate selection, over any primary search criteria (ie: career track record; education).

I’ll just add, from a European perspective, if a candidate asked me why they were rejected, and I stated it was mainly because of their low Klout score, I think a lawyer would tan my arse from here to eternity! Professionally as a recruiter, I conclude that they would be absolutely right to do so.

Good Luck!


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2 Responses to “Employment Klout?”

  1. Gudrun Velardi Says:

    Great article! You undoubtedly put clarity into a topic that’s been written about by many so called experts. Nice stuff, simply nice!

  2. Terry Anderson Says:

    Great post, and a really convincing piece. Nonetheless, this post could be too brief for newbies, and may be you could extend this in a subsequent post? Thank you – Terry

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