Would you hire a remote first-time CM?


(Sarah Hawk) #1

If you were in a position to hire a new staff-member for your community team, would you be comfortable hiring a remote worker?

Would it make a difference if they were brand new to community or experienced?

If no, what are your concerns?


(James McMahon) #2

Our entire little project is made up of remote people, so I would have no reservation bringing someone onboard working remotely to help with community.

Since we’re pretty new to having our own community (haven’t launched) I would be OK with them being new to the profession of community management but for sure I would someone who has a track record of being engaged in, and ideally playing a leading role in building communities.


(Sarah Hawk) #3

I love that you make this distinction.

I don’t think this general understanding is common (yet). Community is a specialised discipline which requires training and ongoing professional development. I think this is because so many people ‘fell into the role’ over the last 10 years. The market is competitive now though. Training and ongoing education are key.


(Travis King) #4

100% yes.

Of course it helps that I’m remote and my company took a chance on me.


(Sarah Hawk) #5

Your company isn’t all remote though, right?
Were you a special case, or do they have a remote-hiring policy?


(Travis King) #6

Most of the employees are still in Melbourne but our remote force has grown steadily over the years. They’ve always had a really good attitude when it came to remote workers. And I don’t believe they’ve been disappointed :smiley:


(Sarah Hawk) #7

It seems to me that having an international pool of talent from which to draw is a lot smarter than limiting yourself geographically, but I think until we crack the issue that I mentioned earlier about people not fully understanding what a properly trained career CM looks like, that won’t change.

Very interested to hear from organisations that don’t hire remotely. I imagine there is strong rationale behind that policy, and I’d love to understand it.


(Duncan Field) #8

I’m curious if there is an existing example for this - CM is going to be one of many hats I’ll be wearing for the foreseeable future, so I’d love some sort of standard to look up to (because surely I’ll be below!)


(Jess Williams) #9

I’ve worked remotely my entire career and I think the company has to be comfortable with many remote positions - not just a remote community manager. Your community manager should be plugged into many departments and have access to C-level execs, etc… so it’s much easier to do that in a remote-friendly environment.

Regarding experience, I’m a firm believer that for many roles, not just CM, a dedicated, passionate person can get up to speed and be a self-starter with innovative ideas without having direct past experience. Some of the best people I’ve worked with came from fields outside of their current role.

That being said, I do believe that inexperienced hires should be ready to take some training, mentor under someone, and be especially versed on the awesome resources out there from FeverBee, CMX, Community Roundtable, etc.

Incidentally, I was one of those people Hawk mentions who “fell into” the role early in my career. I was a writer and editor for a large community and wore many hats. Although my role was to produce content, I was actually growing new subcommunities and driving engagement through content, features, tools, and programs. Hell, I don’t even think “community manager” was a title back then. :wink:


(Sarah Hawk) #10

My experience was the same and because the role wasn’t developed or refined (and there was no training or experienced people around to mentor us), everything was done by instinct. That is a very important part of the job still – but now most communities have add value to the business so there is less space for trial and error.

Being able to justify your actions, analyse your data, strategise based on that data, and validate your decisions requires a set of more formal skills than I had when I started out, and I wouldn’t be in my current role had I not learned and developed those skills.


(Colleen Young) #11

Coincidentally, I wasn’t able to respond to this question when @hawk first posted it because I was in the throes of interviewing for community managers - remotely. We’re moving our team from a consultant firm to “in-house” remote community managers.

Like @jesswlms, I’ve always worked remotely usually with the entire team or large numbers of the team also working remotely. It was in the bone of the organization’s culture. So hiring remote community managers was a given. Find good people and let them work where they are.

Like @James_McMahon I also have few concerns if they are new to the community management profession, but they have to have a demonstrated track record of the qualities of facilitation, building communities, etc. as well as a willingness to be coached and to show evidence of self-motivated professional development (joining Feverbee is a requisite :slight_smile: .

I work in health communities, primarily patient communities. I have helped train people from a variety of backgrounds to moderate and manage communities - people who come from the experience of a patient, a patient educator, health professional (nurse, physicians, social workers, psychiatrists, pharmacists, etc.) or social media communicators. As a gross generalization/observation, anecdotally speaking, patients and patient educators have been the quickest to hit the mark.


(Colleen Young) #12

PS: @Travis I’ll be coming to Melbourne in November for a conference. I look forward to getting to know your city.


(Travis King) #13

I live in Canada but work for a Melbourne based company :smiley: But I know you’ll enjoy the city!


(Alena Rybik) #14

Absolutely. Just make sure to hire the right person (hehe, easy one ;)) and then provide lots of training, be available to answer their questions at all times and give consistent feedback, with is valid for any position. I believe that in-house is generally overrated.


(Colleen Young) #15

That’s crazy! I live in Toronto.


(Sarah Hawk) #16

Might as well come over to NZ while you’re down this way. :wink:


(Travis King) #17

Canada peeps represent! :smiley: