You’re about to interview for an amazing community manager position at your dream company—congrats! Chances are you’ve already been daydreaming about happily accepting the offer, and creating a huge movement around something you’re passionate about. We’ve all been there, but first, you need to prepare for the interview to get that awesome offer.
According to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder International and the author of Great People Decisions, most job-seekers don’t prepare enough for interviews. “You can never invest enough in terms of preparation. You should find out as much as possible about the company, how it’s organized, its culture, the relevant industry trends, and some information about the interviewer,” he told Harvard Business Review.
Being prepared not only increases your chances of getting the job, but it also boosts your confidence during the interview. Below we’ve listed 10 questions you can expect to be asked during an interview for a community manager position and our recommendations on how to answer.
1. How do you define a community?
This question is not as literal as it seems (hint: don’t study take the definition from the Merriam-Webster dictionary) interviewers are looking to understand your unique take on the concept of community.
How to answer: Interviewers want to see that your definition of a community goes beyond social media activity and bringing people together. This is a good opportunity to let your passion for community shine while emphasizing the impact you believe communities can have on an organization. For example, if the company you’re interviewing for really wants to build brand awareness, a brand ambassador program might be the perfect community to do that.
2. What communities are you a member of?
In order to succeed as a community manager, you must know the inner-workings of a community. One of the fundamental ways to understand a community’s infrastructure is to be part of one.
How to answer: Be honest and transparent about the communities you regularly participate in, and their goals. Share your responsibilities, and what attracted you to the community in the first place. Explain what keeps you there, and why you’re an active member. If the community helps support a business or organization’s larger goal, elaborate on the strengths of the program, and how the community manager mobilizes the community toward that goal.
3. What would you change about our community to make it better?
Interviewers want to see you’ve done your research on their organization. They also want to understand what you think their challenges are, and how you’d solve them.
How to answer: First, make sure you’ve researched the organization and have participated in the community you’re interviewing to manage (the only exception is if they don’t have one and your task will be to build one). Formulate an answer based on your experiences within that community. Address challenges you experienced from a member’s perspective. It’s a good idea to have thought about the following:
• What roles do members have in the community?
• Which roles are missing?
• What programs exist in the community today, and which ones do you think need to be built to have a real impact on the business?
4. What’s the biggest lesson you learned from your previous job? (or tell us about a time you’ve failed)
As a community manager, you’ll be managing relationships with people on a daily basis. This involves the ability to quickly step up, and problem solve.
How to answer: If your previous role wasn’t a community manager position, try and think of a lesson that relates to building relationships. The Muse offers good advice for answering this question such as to be prepared with your own definition of failure. First, explain what failure means to you and follow with your lesson. Then explain the situation with an honest account of the story.
5. What do you think makes a strong community?
This question should prompt you to highlight your expertise in the community. Interviewers are looking for someone who really understands what creates a strong community.
How to answer: There is no right answer to this question. It’s truly based on your own opinion and past experiences. Use this as an opportunity to once again show the interviewer your passion and knowledge of community development.
6. How would you build and foster a community?
Creating a community is tough, but that’s why they’re looking for you.
How to answer: The best way to answer this question is to pull from examples of how you’ve built communities in the past. If it wasn’t with a business, that’s OK. Maybe it was a book club or a writing club. The important thing is to take the interviewer step-by-step through the process of how you’ve created, and maintained a community.
7. How do you deal with difficult people? Can you give us a specific example?
A good community manager must have excellent communication skills.
How to answer: Customer support is one part of a community manager role. It’s important to share how you’d handle a situation with a difficult person in the community. You may have your own process, but experts say listening, showing empathy and not taking it personally is always a good approach.
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This is another question asked by an interviewer to understand your passion, commitment and dedication to community management.
How to answer: Again, there is no right answer to this question. Our advice is, to be honest, genuine, and share a story about why you’re passionate about communities and want to build a career around it.
9. Have you ever represented a brand in forums, social media, or a blog rather than your own voice? Tell me about that experience.
As a community manager, you’ll be asked to communicate with members on social media and through blog content.
How to answer: Have you managed social media accounts before? What was your approach? This is a chance to highlight your experience in social media and blogging from previous jobs. Share how it contributed to building a successful community.
10. How do you track success in community management?
Ah, success metrics. In a business, no matter what your role is, proving ROI is always valuable.
How to answer: Measuring community success can be a little tricky at times. It depends on what your community goals are, but there are basic metrics you can keep track of such as member growth, communication engagement rates, and the number of members interested in joining. If you’ve managed a community before, share how you’ve measured success in that role, and how it contributed to the future success of the community.
Ready to knock your interview out of the park? We think you are! Good luck, and we’ll be waiting for you here once you get the job.
How have you prepared for a community manager role before? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.
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