Home > Twitter > What’s Klout All About?

What’s Klout All About?

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[10/13 Update: Oh, they added Facebook into your Klout score now too. So, theoretically Facebook can affect your job search (beyond the random drunk pictures, etc)]

Alright, so you’ve done everything possible to look like an ideal job candidate. You created a top-notch resume filled with more volunteer work than Mother Teresa and more internship experience than Kenneth the Page. Never mind that it hasn’t been released yet, you’re ALREADY proficient in Microsoft Office 2015. There are no pictures of you doing kegstands on Facebook, and you have even taken some of my advice and learned how to use social media to get hired. You’re ready to enter the professional world. You’re pretty much a lock to land a job, right?

Well, let me ask you one more question: What’s your Klout score?

Whoa there cowboy, what’s a Klout score?

Klout bills itself as “The Standard for Influence” online. Basically, it’s a service that measures how “influential” you are online. You simply plug in your Twitter handle and it will generate a score between 0-100 for you. The more influential you are and the wider your reach is online, the higher your Klout score is. It is based on a number of different variables, like the size of your audience, if your content is being acted upon (retweeted, etc), and the influence your audience has. If you want a more detailed explanation, go here. This is all fine and dandy if you’re a little vain like me and just want to know what your score is (a few years from now, everyone might be “Klouting” themselves instead of using that old-timey Google).

It doesn’t mean anything, right?

Well, it might mean something. I had been aware of Klout for a few months now, but I wasn’t aware of its clout (see what I did there?) in the recruiting world until today. To me, it was shocking to see that some employers consider your Klout score as part of the application process. Said in a more alarmist way, you may be denied some job opportunities just because you aren’t popular enough on Twitter.

That’s right. 20 years ago, you could do anything you wanted in your personal time, and as long as your background check turned up clean, you could probably land a nice job. Fast forward to 2007, and you had to make sure that your MySpace and Facebook pages were “clean” to get a job. Our generation is now faced with another employment roadblock: “influence.” Now we have to worry about whether or not we’re being retweeted and if we have enough influential followers. It adds a whole new layer to the already-complicated job search.

But don’t quit and join the circus yet…

It’s not quite time to panic and give up. If you’re looking to be an accountant or electrical engineer, you’re probably never going to have to worry about how influential you are online. Influence is only an issue for in industries like social media marketing, advertising, and media. Even if you are in one of those industries, don’t jump ship yet. If any company uses only Klout scores to weed out the “bad” candidates, you probably don’t want to work for them anyways, because they don’t get it. As Edward Boches, a very influential person in the ad game on and offline (he has a Klout score of 52, OMG), notes:

[Klout] appears to emphasize the impact of one’s “push” content on Twitter and Facebook – reach, influence, re-tweeting. But it can’t identify the rest of the qualities – conversation strategy, flexibility, timeliness, and authenticity – that a smart agency or brand should look for in a social strategist.

Essentially, it’s not measuring the quality of your content, nor is it measuring other important qualities like how quickly you respond and how authentic you are. Just like a résumé can’t tell you everything about a candidate, Klout can’t measure your personality or your fit with the company’s culture. It’s not a complete picture.

I fear that social media illiterate employers are going to use Klout score as a shortcut, much like looking at the number of followers one has. Instead of actually READING someone’s tweets, they’re just going to check out Klout and get an incomplete view of that person. They’d use it like a pre-résumé to weed out the “unworthy ones.” That would not be good, and a lot of stellar employees would get passed over because of it.

Building influence and followers on Twitter is a time-intensive process. I hope that I’m not instantly disregarded because I only have a Klout score in the teens, because I’d like to think that my opinions are valuable and the content I spread is worthwhile. Because of technology and the economy, it’s harder than ever to find a job. I just hope that recruiters don’t put too much trust in “influencer” metrics, and if they do happen to use something like Klout, I hope they take the time to actually read my Twitter feed first.

One final question: Can you guess who has a score of 100 on Klout?

What do you think of Klout? Do you think it’s fair that some companies use it during the screening process?

  1. September 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Tom, This is a great post! I love how you jumped into it and made some excellent points. Ultimately, you’re right. It will most likely be companies with recruiters or hiring managers who don’t currently engage in social media that might look to Klout as a shortcut.

    Hopefully most companies will be like the ones I interviewed that said they’re aware of Klout and are paying attention to it, but not wholly basing decisions on it. I can see where some social media positions could require a Klout score to weigh more heavily in the final hiring choice. But unless a company is simply looking for a highly-engaged communicator, there will be a lot of other factors they’d want to look at. The good news is that Klout provides more than just a number. It also assesses an individual’s areas of passion and influence.

    Ideally, those who are using Klout to assess job candidates would dig deeper into a Klout report, as well as offline factors, and not base decisions on a single number.

    Thanks for engaging on my blog! I appreciated your responses and also really enjoyed your post.


    • September 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      I definitely agree with you. Like you said, Klout can be a powerful metric as long as recruiters look beyond the score and dig a little deeper. I’m really interested to see what happens as Klout becomes more widespread; ultimately, Klout could link interests with influence and create a score for individual categories (for example, if you wanted to know who was heavily influential in television, you could pull up a Klout TV category). I think it has a lot of potential; I just hope recruiters don’t take the easy way out by just looking at one number.

      Thanks for commenting, and thanks for inspiring me to write this!


  2. September 2, 2010 at 2:07 am

    This is extremely interesting to me, as I’m pretty sure the reason I was “let go” from my last job is because I wasn’t “world class enough” for the social media position.

    At the end of the day, what does that even mean? I’m a fairly smart strategic and creative thinker and I know how to communicate with others well, yet my Klout score is self-admittedly low. I would hope that recruiters would actually look at the quality of the candidate and their willingness to put extra time in online versus one number.

    • September 2, 2010 at 9:38 am


      Thanks for your input! I agree, recruiters definitely need to put the time in if they are screening a candidate. Using a Klout score (or any other influence metric) is a shortcut that doesn’t take into account a lot of worthwhile qualities in a job candidate such as strategic thinking and creativity. I appreciate that your shared your story.

  3. September 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Employers are always looking for ways to make more effective employment decisions. In the past, we had IQ tests, Myers-Briggs and so-called career aptitude tests. Klout is one of many measurement tools — Twitalyzer and TweetLevel are others — to give some view as to the intangible value of “influence.” It’s new and exciting but it’s accuracy and real value is still yet-to-be-determined.

    The concept of influence is not new, but for the first time in history we have two factors: 1) data points to potentially measure influence; 2) proliferation of access for individuals to “create” influence.

    Klout is a good start but it’s not quite there yet.

    Alan Berkson (@berkson0)

    • September 2, 2010 at 9:43 am


      I agree with you, its definitely easier to numerically define influence. With Twitter and other social media, it’s also much easier for individuals to have influence. I’m definitely excited to see what these metrics can do in the future; used correctly, I think Klout scores and similar metrics could be powerful tools used to target influencers in social media marketing campaigns. Thanks for your insights!

  4. September 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    What I want to know is how you discovered Justin Beiber has a Klout score of 100??

    • September 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Hahaha let’s call it “curious research.” It’s also a good lesson: Klout score doesn’t exactly qualify/disqualify you for a job.

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