Friday, June 22, 2012

Why IT needs a social footprint

So I tweeted yesterday about a candidate that I interviewed, but she had no social footprint that I could find. I was a little (very little actually) surprised at the amount of "What are you crazy" tweets I got back, basically saying IT doesn't need to be social they need to be technical. In fact it morphed into a good thread on G+

Now 140 characters is a little hard to explain so I figured I would elaborate a bit more.

Enterasys is a very social, collaborative, company with a focus on teamwork, transparency and knowledge sharing.  Now I know a lot of companies say this, but for us we really do it. Our Chief Customer Officer was just in Forbes magazine talking about it, Our CIO, who was just recognized as one of Boston's most innovative CIO's had been pushing social for years and we even build social into our products.

One of our key requirements in IT is what we call "IT Rocks". At it's simplest it is the one metric we use to measure how we are doing. If anyone in our company gets asked about IT, we want to hear "IT Rocks".  ROCKS also stands for

Respectful - I want them to be able to respectfully discuss different opinions.

Open - I want people that will openly share success and failures so we all learn from it.

Collaborative - I want people that engage and work with others, not just in IT but in the rest of the company, and the rest of the world.

Knowledgeable  - Clearly they need to have the knowledge to do the job

Social - This doesn't just mean they can retweet, but I want people that can interact with other people and be comfortable engaging with others.

When we look for people we want them to have these qualities. We have a support model in our IT department where we visit in person when possible, even if we can remotely fix something. The idea is, If people know IT they generally like IT. If people like IT they support IT and life is much better. 

We want people who collaborate and don't try to hoard knowledge. If only one person knows how to do something, I want them to share it so we all get better as a team. 

Can people be a great fit without having a linkedin profile, or tweeting or blogging. Sure, probably. There are other ways to be social than online. Not all creativity needs to be shared via twitter, in fact we many times will not share something because we are working on a patent filing before openly discussing it. 

Will I miss out on some good candidates by requiring social? Yup. But I'm not looking for good candidates, I want the top 1%. If I get one great candidate I'm OK missing out on 10 good ones.


  1. Spot on. I totally agree. It is about the culture. Any new employee must fit the culture too.

    1. Thanks! I think we are still in the minority, at least in the Sys admin space. CIO's though seem to understand social is important, though even there I think more CIO's think its' important, than actually do it.