October 25, 2016


by: Ben M Roberts


Tags: Social Media, working in social media


Categories: Marketing, Social Media

Stage not Age: Why hiring young people for social isn’t always the wrong thing

I’m writing this post on the back of having had someone recently say something to me at a networking event. They said to me “I’d never hire a young person for social media, they have no real experience in proper social media.”
*cue steam coming out of my ears*
steam out of my ears

Credit: www.no6cinema.co.uk

Wow, I can’t remember the last time I had to bottle up that much anger and wait until I saw my keyboard to be able to release it.
The reason I was so angry was for a number of reasons . . .

You should hire for attitude not skills

You can teach skills, you can learn how to use tools, but sometimes it’s impossible to change a potential (even current) employees attitude.
My first proper business job was as a 18 year old, and a large part of the job was to carry out the companies social media activities. Before I go on, I am not going to tell you I was incredibly successful. I was average. Very average. But, I had a real desire to learn, gain experience and offer followers of the companies feeds great value.
I had no skills, I had to learn, and learn pretty quickly. But, what is to say an older, more “experienced” person will be any better at social media? Would the average businessman/businesswoman have brought any more to the role? Sure, I recon they probably might have got to the end result quicker, but a young person like I was, could be argued would be more adaptable and more willing to embrace new ideas, especially when the attitude and desire is there.
Isn’t that what social media is, constantly changing and evolving? Shouldn’t you just hire someone who fits that profile instead of pigeonholing someone dependant on their age?

Stage not Age

I am a huge believer in stage not age. It doesn’t matter what age you are, with the right attitude and enthusiasm you can achieve great things. I believe that experience is great, it can help you realise risks quicker, it can help you eliminate wasteful activities faster and it can help you achieve bigger results. But, what is the say an 18 year old will be any worse than a 40 year old in terms of engaging with people through social media?
It’s all about the stage. Some roles will naturally require more experienced hands, and some roles will require specific knowledge. However, it is grossly unfair to say that you would never hire a young person because they have no ‘real experience in social media’
Stage not Age: Why hiring young people for social isn't always the wrong thing

What is proper social media anyway?

The final thing I took exception to was the ‘no real experience in social media’. I mean really, what on earth does that mean? Every single person I have ever met uses social media slightly differently from everyone else. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to social.
Who is to say that the way a 14 year old uses social is wrong, or the way a 30, 40, 50, 60 something year old person would use social isn’t right?
I understand the perception that younger people tend to like sharing GIF’s of sneezing Panda’s and funny screenshots of texts sent to the wrong person, whereas older people generally like to share more helpful articles and like to have longer conversations. But, which form is right for social media in the business world? The answer is both. Social media needs a bit of everything. By actively making a presumptuous decision to not hire a young person for social you are automatically denying your social media followers a slant on social media that they may enjoy or even prefer.
That’s just my opinion anyway . . . what do you think? Do you agree or disagree?