March 24, 2021

Questions you wish you'd asked at the interview?

topics: tactics
Mark Wilkin
I've been thinking about a few questions I wish now I'd asked at previous interviews I've had as community manager recently and thought I'd share :).

"Who is the director level sponsor of the community and can I talk to them during the interview process?"

I've been in enough large businesses to learn that without a high level sponsor you run the risk of being pulled one way and then another by people who don't understand how to build communities or what they're for. It's good to check if you've got a sponsor and if they "get" community, or if they're at least willing to listen.

Ask the people that you're going to working with "what kind of experience have you had with online communities?" 

I found out recently that someone I've been working with and talking to about the community for over a year has never even used Facebook. Next time I start anywhere I'm not going to assume any baseline of knowledge until I've asked that question.

What questions are on your list to ask next time you're at an interview for a community manager role?
—Mark Wilkin
  • Hey Mark,

    Personally I think it's super important for anyone in community to be aware and up to date on current tools and tactics, not being aware easily makes people become out of touch. The world moves so fast. And keep on top of latest trends and tools is super important. Reading about it is ok, actually doing and using stuff is even better.

    Should managers do this? Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I like to think so, and I like to remain at least partially hands on.

    Often what I've done in the past is learn to do the job (on my own or with others), define the process, then hand it on to someone else as quickly as possible. There's nothing like working through a situation or problem to get a real understanding of all the pieces.

    Another aspect I think is really important is a true interest in the industry they are serving. Community people need to become experts to deeply serve their people. It's really hard to become an expert if they are not passionate about the industry.

    rosiesherry · about 2 months ago
    • It's not so much about the manager not being an expert but that I didn't know he wasn't an expert. So that I assumed there was a shared experience there when there wasn't. If i'd know I'd have gone about explaining things a completely different way.

      markwilkin · about 2 months ago
  • This is a great question, Mark! This isn't exactly a question for the interviewer, but I also wonder if it'd be valuable to reach out to the previous CM and hear their experience.

    ali · about 2 months ago
  • Great question! Ok, this isn’t directly related to communities but I found this to be a really good practice in interviews. Ask, “If I didn’t get this role, what do you think the reason would be?” Or “What about my experience or skills still give you pause?” Kind of direct but good to know what the interviewer is still concerned about and if they are open enough to have a real conversation with you.

    daniellexo · about 2 months ago
  • Hey Mark!

    Love this question — my interview go to: is there anything about my application that concerns you or raises a red flag?

    This allows you to address any potential "problem areas" right then and there.

    erinmikail · about 1 month ago