Up Front: I have been a Klout member since 2009. And I regularly sign-up for and receive Klout Perks. Sometimes I even blog about the Perks I receive (with full citations).
Klout is an awesome network. I love it. It’s great to see who influences me and who I, in turn, influence. Sometimes the results are shocking.
Their near real-time metrics are fun to examine. For example: my score dipped this weekend, as I went tech-free for nearly two days. Now I’ll try to overcompensate to get it back up a bit. See, harmless fun!
Their Perks have added somewhat of a gaming layer to the social sphere, as people can try to up their influence in a specific topic in order to get relevant freebies.
But there can be a dark side to it. As TechCrunch’s Drew Olanoff reported, companies are using Klout Scores in the hiring process for social media positions, putting a minimum score as a job requirement.
While Olanoff takes aim at the company for encouraging these efforts, I actually have no problem with Klout’s response. I mean, if a company wanted to use a metric or system I created in the recruiting process, I’d be happy, too! (Here is how Klout Scores are created.)
My issue is with the companies for using the metric in the first place. (And remember, I love Klout.)
Klout scores measure social influence – as determined by Klout. They do not measure whether or not you can perform the task the company needs.
Case in point: Justin Bieber has TONS of social influence — but I doubt he’s interested in your gig.
Case in point #2: I know I’m going anecdotal here, but some of the best, most talented social media marketers and community managers I’ve worked with shy away from building their “personal brand” online. It’s just not their thing, and that’s OK. Should these otherwise highly-qualified individuals not make the interview cut because they value their privacy?
Case in point #3: I know many people with huge scores and networks that can market one thing and one thing only: themselves. They don’t have a solid understanding of branding, marketing or communications.
Klout Score can definitely give you a piece of information about a job applicant, but weigh it lightly and try to get a more holistic view of their work.