The Growing Importance of Considering Social Connectivity When Hiring

As we enter an era of hyper-connectivity which recognizes social media as the platform of the future, we are moving from a knowledge economy to a social economy.

Who we know vs. what we know

The value of who we know is becoming just as important as, or perhaps even more important than, the value of what we know. Employers must therefore ask themselves whether it is more important to hire someone who will always have the answer, or to hire someone who will always know someone who has the answer.

Successful organizations are those that have “the most robust, engaged, and diverse social networks”1. In other words, they are the ones that have highly connected employees. More specifically, these employees have the ability to innovate out loud rather than privately.

Innovating out loud

Most of the time, innovative people are also creative people. However, while being creative allows employees to think differently, being innovative allows employees to act differently. Innovative people, unlike creative people, have the social skills needed to make their ideas viable.

Organizations that encourage innovation among their employees and that provide their employees with the internal and external channels of distribution needed to “socialize their ideas within the company and within the market”2 are more successful than those that do not provide these channels. Not providing such channels often leads to frustrated employees who cannot meet expectations.

Zoning in on socially-connected candidates

In today’s hyper-connected society, finding individuals who know how to socialize their thoughts and ideas is not so difficult. In fact, “the average American has roughly 600 online and offline relationships”3 (a figure that is likely similar in Canada). With social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In, among others, it isn’t very hard to find channels through which to connect with others who have similar interests and goals and to share thought provoking ideas. Someone who knows how to use these platforms correctly can indeed dramatically increase the number of people they are able to reach, and as a result, the number of people they can influence.

This is why companies will no doubt be increasingly taking note of social connectivity when reviewing an applicant’s resume. Keeping an eye on “those with a demonstrated ability to turn their networks into enhanced marketing opportunities”4 is slowly becoming an integrated part of the selection process for some organizations.

The Future of Hiring: Reputation Capital

According to Jeanne Meister, author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today, over the next decade, hiring will be based on reputation capital. She claims that this will not only be true of industries which require strong online influence, such as public relations, marketing and sales, but also of most industries.5

Proof that this is a top prediction for the future workplace can already be noticed: Best Buy has listed ‘reputation capital’ as a requirement for hire, while researchers, such as Dr. Robert Cross, a professor of management at the University of Virginia, have determined that “the highest performers in an organization tend to focus on building high-quality social networks”6.

Measuring Online Social Connectivity

Since research shows that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds looking at each resume they consider7, the ability to build and utilise a social network can be the extra component needed to differentiate between a good candidate and an ideal candidate.

This ability can be measured by non-traditional metrics such as online tools like Klout, which “aims to measure users influence across their online social network, and does so by pulling data from various social profiles and churning out a score based on a specific algorithm8. A Klout score can help in indicating how one is competent in the many skills that fall into the realm of social and, as noted in The 2020 Workplace, are crucial to so many jobs today.

Thus, as social capital becomes more and more important in a number of professional fields, more and more employers will need to screen applicants for their ability to build a social network and to become an innovative influencer in their area of expertise.


Kelly Galbraith
Junior Digital Marketing Specialist

1Razeghi, Andrew. The Future of Innovation: Creating a Plan to Win. Dublin: Slimbooks,


4Meister, Jeanne. “Will Your Klout Score Get You Hired? The Role of Social Media in Recruiting”. Forbes. 7 May 2012. 22 September 2013.