If you have decided that you want to add to your in-house SEO team (or start one), you need to think seriously about the type of person you want to hire. Do you want someone with prior experience? Or do you want the person to learn from other team members along the way?
Hiring top people can be prohibitively expensive, because there are a lot of income opportunities for them to pursue. It is hard to match the earning potential of a top SEO practitioner because, at the very least, he can make more from building his own sites and operating them in an affiliate model. That does not mean you cannot hire real talent; it just means you will pay a premium.
Although experience costs more, under normal circumstances it will bring faster results. On the other hand, a less experienced person is a lot like a rookie in baseball: if you hire a future star, you can potentially accomplish a great deal at a much lower cost.
When sifting through résumés, examine candidates’ specific skill sets. If you are looking for someone to develop social media campaigns, you should probably be a bit more focused on that than on whether the candidate is an expert at keyword research. No matter what the person’s skill level, he should “get” the Internet. Does he blog? Tweet? Participate actively in social media sites such as StumbleUpon? If he doesn’t, chances are he is underexperienced for the position you are looking to fill.
When evaluating a person’s skills, ...