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Will Your Klout Score Keep You From A Job?

I’ve checked several times now, and I’m fairly certain it isn’t April Fool’s Day, yet I still found a lengthy article in Wired about how people aren’t getting hired because they have low Klout scores, even at the Executive Level.

Yikes.

While it’s one thing for hotels to use guests’ Klout scores to determine if they get an upgrade or not, or for online retailers like Gilt to offer a discount to those with high Klout scores, it definitely strikes me as a fast ride to crazy town to use it as an element for hiring someone.

Yes, even in social media.

The thing is, we all know that Klout is not even remotely an accurate measure of online influence. For instance, I have about 58K twitter followers, a moderately well known blog, and a low number of Facebook fans. My score is 66. Heather Armstrong of Dooce, who has 1.5 million followers on Twitter, a hugely popular blog, and 5K more Facebook fans than I do? She’s a 61. Why? Because I tweet constantly, and she shares on Twitter less often.

Basically, a higher Klout score just means you hang out on Twitter.

In the Wired article, a man named Sam Fiorella was being interviewed for an executive position when he was asked what his Klout score was. When he had to admit he didn’t know (or even know what Klout was), this happened:

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.”

Even with 15 years of high-level experience, he didn’t get the job because of a rather arbitrary and secret algorithm that basically only tells you if you tweet a lot on one subject. Also, it completely eliminates those that have deleted their Klout accounts because Klout for a while was pulling from your Facebook page and creating accounts for people — even underage people with high privacy settings unless they deliberately “opted out.”

The author of the Wired article had a pretty low score himself.

When I began researching this story, my own score was a mere 31. So I asked Klout product director Chris Makarsky how I might boost it. His first suggestion was to improve the “cadence” of my tweets. (For a moment, I thought he meant I should tweet in iambic pentameter. But he just meant that I should tweet a lot more.) Second, he pushed me to concentrate on one topic instead of spreading myself so thin. Third, he emphasized the importance of developing relationships with high-Klout people who might respond to my tweets, propagate them, and extend my influence to whole new population groups. Finally, he advised me to keep things upbeat. “We find that positive sentiment drives more action than negative,” he warned.

So, if it’s possible to “work” to improve your Klout score, is it really an accurate tool of measurement? I don’t know. But I guess I better get to work on moving the needle on my Klout score.

My next job could depend on it.

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