Questions / test for a Community Manager candidate

(Alena Rybik) #1

Hi all,

I am moving on to my next role and helping out with finding a replacement for my current position (community manager in a gaming company). Right now I am compiling a list of questions (interview and first screening) for a candidate as well as the test that successful candidates will be given to. I would appreciate any experience you might have and want to share in this respect. This is the job ad:


  • Engagement - Engage our community of millions of users via our forum, blog, social media and other available platforms

  • Feedback - Be the direct link between the community and the development team. Collect, organize and escalate community feedback to the stakeholders within the dev team to ensure community-driven game development

  • Evangelization - Act as an advocate of the company in the community and as the advocate of the community within the company, engaging in dialogues and answering questions where appropriate

  • Support - Help and assist our passionate community through email, social media channels, and forum discussions

  • Communication - Create and maintain editorial calendars, write blog posts, game updates and press releases to keep the community up-to-date

  • Events - Plan, create and execute competitions, campaigns and events to increase retention and drive sales

  • Analytics & Reporting - Monitor effective benchmarks for measuring the growth, activity and health of the community, and analyze, review, and report on effectiveness of initiatives

  • Moderator Management - Assist and guide the community/forum moderators

Required Qualifications

  • Minimum 3+ years community management experience - beyond social media management
  • Love of, and enthusiastic participation in, online communities in general with an enormous comfort level communicating online - must be hands-on
  • Deep knowledge of all main social media platforms
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Team player that’s reliable, self motivated and proactive
  • Passionate about video games
  • Excellent English communication skills, both written and verbal

Desired Qualifications

  • People management experience
  • Experience with forum management and moderation
  • Experience working with influencer marketing
  • Basic Photoshop skills
  • Additional language(s) on a native level

(Shreyas) #2

@alenarybik I think this is great!
Had a small question though.

Any specific reason why you mentioned beyond Social media management?

(Mark Baldwin) #3

@alenarybik first of all, good luck with your next role, are you staying in games or moving on to something new? Now, on to the questions. Will your candidate need to know how to troubleshoot PC problems? Will they need knowledge of all the games you make, including legacy titles? Will they need to travel to shows/events?

(Shreyas) #4

Oh yes, I think that should be a requirement or at least a great plus! :slight_smile:

(Alena Rybik) #5

Any specific reason why you mentioned beyond Social media management?

Community managers are very often confused with social media roles, at least here, in Sweden, that’s why I felt this addition was crucial, for us not to get overwhelmed with “purely” social media applicants. What we do here is a very “old school” style of community management, done on a rather crude phpBB forum.

@Mjbill : Thanks Mark! I am moving away from gaming, at least for some time, we’ll see how it goes :wink: The industry is pretty addictive and fun but its got some serious downsides. Which I am sure you know about yourself :slight_smile:

Answers to your questions: No, they won’t need to troubleshoot PC issues, but some basic technical understanding of “gaming” problems and terminology would be beneficial. No, knowledge of our games is needed (I didn’t have any before I came on board), but of course we would expect people to do their homework before they apply and definitely before the interview. We are a very niche game, and the only way to get the knowledge needed to do this job well is to dig deep into the community itself. About shows and events - maybe, but not on a regular basis.

(Shreyas) #6

Ah, got it! That’s pretty much the same case here as well. Couple of months back we were planning to hire a community manager and posted the exact same line. :slight_smile:
All the best with your new role!

(Sarah Hawk) #7

Will this person be responsible for writing and executing the community strategy? I think that the more analytical side of that process is a skill that many CMs don’t have or are still developing.

I’d ask some questions around how they would go about aligning the community with the overarching business goals.

(Nikoletta Harrold) #8

Let me get this right @alenarybik, you are asking us what kind of questions you should ask the potential candidate, is that right? it seems everyone commented on your job description so far, so i don’t want to steer the conversation into the wrong direction. thanks

(Sarah Hawk) #9

I think you’re on the right path Niki.
I should have made my response more inline with the OP.

“If a primary business goal is x, what might success look like from a community perspective?”
“What tactics might you use to achieve that goal?”

(Nikoletta Harrold) #10

Most recent questions I was asked as I interviewed for a new role:

  1. Name the top 3 engagement activities you implemented at a previous community?
  2. How did you measure success (what analytics platforms did you use, what did you measure)
  3. What is your most and least favourite task as a CM?
  4. How would you handle spam or abusive behaviour on the community?
  5. What do you see as the major difference between CM tasks on an owned community platforms vs a Social media community platform?
  6. What methods would you use to grow or attract new users to your community?

One of the companies actually sent me a test/ presentation before they sent me to first round interviews. it gave me a challenge they are facing right now and asked how I would tackle it. I had to come up with a strategy in under 500 words. It was really tough to be so concise.

Hope these help @alenarybik

(Richard Millington) #11

I’m aways interested to uncover how much they know about the sector and how passionate they truly are about the topic.

I’ve seen community managers from one sector really struggle in another. They don’t have the same level of passion, contacts, or experience.

So I’d ask them questions that would let them demonstrate their passion, identify their contacts, and prove their experience.

(tamara Parris) #12

I would agree with Richard. Passion is a key driver for CM success and understanding the community sectors expectations, needs, wants and pains; and well as doing you SWOT

For me;

  1. how does the CM encourage return of current members?
  2. What is their strategy to create the user’s “habit” for returning to your community?

You can increase your sign ups, however if people do not return then your really at a greater loss

(Anton) #13

I’d ask the candidates to start one or two topics AND write 1 or two PMs for a particular situation. I’d seriously look at their writing: how easy it is to read and understand, grammar and punctuation, formatting presence. I think this is very important for mods/admins in online communities

You’re saying millions of users - so the language quality and diversity and teadability are among the most important criteria

Hope my answer is not too offtopic

(Alena Rybik) #14

Thanks for all you input guys, it’s been very helpful. I used a lot of suggestions from here, either in the test or in the interview.

Here is how the final test with my comments to each question:

  1. Imagine you need to communicate bad news to the community, i.e. something that you know will not be well received and could potentially cause backlash. Write a short blog / forum post communicating this and explain your reasoning. (You may come up with an abstract piece of news or take an example from you previous experience!) - This question has proven to be very good for filtering out candidates who didn’t do the research about our brand voice and the way we communicate with community, also their choice of “bad news” told a lot about they way they were thinking.

  2. Draft three Private Messages to the following community members:
    1. A well-known community member with a large following who has recently been a wee bit too actively promoting their own content throughout the forum.
    2. A respectable moderator with a great track record who has been under-performing for the last two months.
    3. A passionate community member, big spender and contributor to the community, who on a few occasions has been reported for their inflammatory posts due to losing their temper (and rightfully so).
    Thank you @meglio for this one! Those are real members and situation from our community.

  3. What were the top three engagement activities you’ve implemented in a community you’ve previously managed? Do you think they would work in our community? Why / why not?
    Thank you @Nikoletta_Harrold for this one!

  4. If you were tasked to prove the value of the community to the theHunter business and calculate its ROI, what would be your steps? (No detailed description needed, just describe your way of thinking) - Surprisingly, almost every candidate has failed on this one.

  5. What is the best gaming community you know? Why? - Here I was looking to understand how they determine the success of the community and was fishing for something more niche and interesting than Minecraft.

During the interview I also asked them what would be their KPIs in our business perspective (an alloy of @HAWK 's and @Nikoletta_Harrold 's suggestions), what is their most and least favourite tasks as a CM (again, thank you @Nikoletta_Harrold!), how does the CM encourage return of current members (thank you @tamaraparris - was difficult for some), and of course about their experience with niche games, weapons and hunting (suggestion by @richard_millington), but we didn’t manage to find someone who has passion for hunting plus community management experience, so we went broader and settled on passion for games in general with appreciation of niche games in particular.

All in all, it was interesting. If I have to choose one lesson learned I would say - do the test, it reveals a lot.

(tamara Parris) #15

Your list is great ?

I am going to sit down and think about my answers to these.

I believe these exercises help keep you sharp- even if not job hunting ?

(Nikoletta Harrold) #16

yes, this is super sharp stuff. i will sit down and think about it too. Don’t be too harsh on people failing on the prove the value of the community question. It is nearly impossible, even with all the formulas people keep pumping out. Do you feel you would have been able to answer and ace all these questions if you were the one interviewing?

(Sarah Hawk) #17

Those are brilliant @alenarybik – thanks for the summary.

Yeah, that’s tough. A broader approach might be “what are some ways that community can add value to the organisation and how could you demonstrate that value?”.

(tamara Parris) #18

Nope! But I did this one for the value q:

Value for Intelex EHSQ Public area community; being able to network with likeminded EHSQ professional people to share your knowledge and practice resources with each other.


(Alena Rybik) #19

I was trying not to be too harsh about that question, I agree that it’s difficult if one doesn’t know the community that well, that’s why I wrote that we were more interested in how people would approach this task rather than give a definite answer. However, the value of gaming communities is often a variation of combinations of pretty standard parameteres: R&D, growth (SEO & WOM), testing, support and increased sales. I was hoping candidates would explore some of those directions, to begin with.

Do you feel you would have been able to answer and ace all these questions if you were the one interviewing?

Good question :slight_smile: I hope I would, since the test was heavily based on my own responsibilities in this job and proving the value of the community to the company has been my pet project. But you never know.

Yeah, that’s tough. A broader approach might be “what are some ways that
community can add value to the organisation and how could you
demonstrate that value?”.

That’s a good one.

So, do you guys think the test was too difficult? Bear in mind we were asking for 3+ years of community management experience.

(Sarah Hawk) #20

I love this. Perhaps we could come up with questions like this regularly to keep us thinking outside of the constraints that we currently move in.

That’s valid, but it’s the value for the community members rather than for the business.
Do you know the value of the community to the wider organisation, or how it ties in with business goals? That’s the bit that I think is missing for many of us.