While it’s not necessarily a “one size fits all” kind of job — different companies have different needs and define scope differently, of course — there are certain characteristics that all good community managers will have in common.
“We all generally tend to look for similar character traits as opposed to trying to hire for the more hard, technical skills with the understanding that those skills can be trained for and learned while the intangible traits are better key indicators of fit,” says Destin Haynes, Director, Freemium Community, at Hootsuite, and a featured speaker at Community Management Conference CM1 this year.
Without any further adieu, here are Haynes’ top five things to consider when looking to hire the right community manager.
“Passion for the work, for connecting people, for storytelling – passion around the elements that make up the role of a community manager is important to posses.”
This is a no-brainer: a good community manager will be passionate about the job. It’s easier to be good at something when you genuinely like doing it.
“Passion is one of the key things I look for when hiring a community manager,” says Haynes. “A candidate does not need to be passionate about the community they are working in per se. Passion for the work, for connecting people, for storytelling – passion around the elements that make up the role of a community manager is important to posses.”
Social media’s fast paced and always changing. One day your brand is the toast of the town, the next day everybody’s got a gripe. A good community manager, the right community manager, will be able to think on their feet.
“It’s important for a community manager to be comfortable with being agile,” says Haynes. “Community managers are on the front lines for a company, surfacing insights, feedback and trends. Often this information can lead to changes in the company or product they work with and thus the scope of their role as well.”
“It’s easy to get sucked into a head-down and headphones space, but community management is all about being social.”
Clearly, the ability to communicate is a skill that community managers have to have. The right community manager will be able to effectively communicate with both members of the community and within their organization.
“Knowing how to communicate effectively across a variety of mediums for various audiences is core to being a good community manager,” says Haynes.
While being self sufficient, the right community manager will always remember that there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’
“Community managers need to be comfortable working solo but also need to be adept at being team players and working on a cross functional team,” says Haynes. “It’s easy to get sucked into a head-down and headphones space, but community management is all about being social and that should translate into the way a community manager works and operates in their workspace.”
The fifth and most important factor in hiring the right community manager is fit. An organization is like a good jigsaw puzzle —all the pieces are unique but they fit together well.
“For me, the most important factor in hiring a community manager is whether or not that person is a good cultural fit for the organization,” says Haynes. “At HootSuite, as with many other companies, we have core cultural values that we always look to when hiring. Additionally, there are other community-centric values that we look to when bringing new people onto the team. Having these cultural values set out and widely adopted throughout the company helps to ensure you are hiring cultural fits across the company and also helps attract people with those values.”