Who was your first community hire / what skills should I look for?


(Caroline Sekar) #1

Hi team!

I run a B2B community for a large IT company; our community is about 8 months old and has 6,000 members. Thus far, I’ve been a team of 1 (with some hired consultants for a bit of frontend work and integration with our SSO).

I’m thinking of hiring another team member to help me out with some of the day-to-day community tasks (checking metrics, handling abuse reports, sending welcome emails, etc) and also to run marketing campaigns on the community (e.g our “First Post Week” promo, and monthly Community Challenges). Wondering if any of you have had a first community team member who had a similar job description.

Also wondering: what were the skills of YOUR first (er, I suppose, second - after the community manager) community hire? If you were to do it again, would you hire someone with the same or different skill set?


(Travis King) #2

Well I guess I was a first community hire at one time, so I suppose I can tell you what my then manager was looking for :smiley:

He wanted an engaged, reliable, well-written and above all empathetic team member. Most of the spreadsheet, social, newsletter, design etc. skills can be taught, but things like reliability and empathy needed to be in the core already.

And I’m still doing my community thing after 10 years with the company, so I’d like to think he chose well :stuck_out_tongue:

(Caroline Sekar) #3

Awesome, thank you for the response, @Travis! Great advice.

(Luis Villa) #4

I found helpful in a recent job posting (not yet filled :wink: ) this post from our kindly host, particularly the table of levels and associated information. Sounds like in particular you might want to focus on the engagement and content areas, since you’re presumably handling strategy and business (and the technical can be easier to either outsource or teach).

(Richard Millington) #5

I think the other interesting question here is what are your goals and targets at the moment. What metrics are you looking to move?

That will probably have a huge influence over who you’re looking for and the skills you need.

(Caroline Sekar) #6

This is a super post, thank you @luisvilla!

(Luis Villa) #7

BTW, @richard_millington, is there a way to get the table in that post as editable text? I don’t see it in the book or in any of the purchaseable materials, and it’d be handy to be able to edit/tailor it.

(Richard Millington) #8

If you have keynote, sure:

(Richard Millington) #9

Also converted to powerpoint:

Do try to source it to us though :slight_smile:

(Luis Villa) #10

Will source (though only for internal use at the moment). Thanks!

(Caroline Sekar) #11

Yes, good point @richard_millington. Right now we are looking to move content & engagement metrics, and also to build internal awareness.

(Travis King) #12

Please let us know how the search goes. And if I can ask, are you looking for in-office applicants only or are you open to remote as well?

(Caroline Sekar) #13

We’re looking for in-office applicants only (in San Francisco, CA). Not actively looking yet, just thinking about what I’m going to be looking for!

(Travis King) #14

No problem just interested in the current stance of large companies and their approach to remote working.

Just as a suggestion, don’t be too quick to exclude the remote option. They often work faster and produce great results without the distraction of an office :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(Richard Millington) #15

Obvious question here perhaps, but why are you looking to move content and engagement metrics, what’s the end output of that?

(Caroline Sekar) #16

Fair enough, @richard_millington! We are a pretty young community (8 mos old) and have been growing steadily, but recently our content numbers seem to have reached a plateau. We want the community to keep growing because, well, it’s pretty small and could use some more fresh content! Also want to be able to support a larger number of very active users - right now I feel like we have a good number of folks who are willing to lend their expertise but not as many people asking new questions. So, I suppose the end output is a community that doesn’t stagnate?

(Richard Millington) #17

Ah, I think I get it.

Is this a customer success or a customer support community?

It seems the challenge is less about driving overall engagement than getting people to ask new questions. This is usually an awareness challenge:

I’d start looking at what % of Meraki customers know the community exists, what are their existing thoughts about it, why they don’t participate etc…sometimes it could be because the volume of problems is low, sometimes it’s the community is just hard to find etc…

In short, I’d look for someone who can tackle a specific problem rather than adding people for the sake of adding people. Does that help?

(Caroline Sekar) #18

Hi Richard - It’s sort of a hybrid customer success & customer support community. And, yes, I think you’re right that there’s currently an awareness problem. A very small % of Meraki customers know that the community exists right now. But - we also have a lot of people who sign up and never post, and I want to crack the nut on encouraging them to post too.

(Darren Gough) #19

Some great advice on here so far - don’t discount the value of actually speaking to a few people though.

I’ve made team hires where personality and verbal communication skills have tipped the balance. A lot of people have very solid skill sets on paper, which is awesome, but recruitment can sometimes underplay the value of how that person will interact with you / the wider team / the community.

If I had two great candidates to choose from, I’d always favour the one who had those interpersonal skills (assuming they still had a solid background), even if the other candidate ticked a few more skill boxes. Skills can generally be taught.

@caroline_sekar you also mention danger of stagnation and need for new content to breach a perceived plateau - a candidate with that enthusiasm and drive can also lift you/the perception of community within the organisation and inject some new vigour into the community.

(Luis Villa) #20

By the way, @richard_millington, one thing that jumps out at me after marinating with this for a bit in some internal discussions - there’s a bit of a gap around product management. In my experience, the strongest community people have the ability to extract signal from the community about the associated product/project - what is working? what isn’t? etc. - and then convey that in a useful form to internal product managers. That need is present in either customer success or customer support communities, since in both of those situations there is presumably some continuous iteration of the product that could benefit from this information.

This isn’t a 100% universal need for all community managers, but I expect it is a part of the job for many/most. So if you ever refresh this chart you might want to consider it. (Otherwise, again, very helpful - thanks again for sharing!)