Interviewing for Community/Social Media Roles in 2009

Originally posted February 12th, 2009.

In 2009, just as online communities have transitioned from simple discussion forums to full-featured, customizable social networks, interviewing questions are evolving to “How often do you blog? How many followers do you have on Twitter, how do you plan to market our products using social Media?

While the nature of organizations seeking online communities vary widely, the main interview question is “How do you plan to engage and involve our customers?”

I thought it would be a constructive project to share some of the recent questions I have been asked in my 2009 interviews –along with my responses, and get your feedback on how to improve them. I greatly appreciate your perspective.


1. Tell me about yourself? I grew up in Iran and since then have lived, worked and studied in 5 different countries. I am passionate about meeting and connecting people to each other, learning foreign languages and cultures. Naturally, being a Community Manager is more than a job for me, it is a true passion. I have a MA in International Relations with a focus on Global Marketing, and began my professional career in customer relations and online commerce. Since then, I have held many roles and worn many hats, but mostly enjoyed creative positions in which I was involved with Market Research, Product Development, Event Marketing, Social Media and Public Relations.


2. What do you think you can bring to our company/community that is unique or sets you apart from other candidates? As an avid community member and brand I feel like I have a pretty good feel for the expectations your customers have from your company as well as the Community. With my online community experience working with diverse demographics, I have what it takes to take your community to the next level and meet the needs of your customers.


3. What information would you include in the ‘member profile’? Social networking has the ability to make important connections between the consumers and the company brand. Prior to crafting the profile portion, I would determine what I want to learn about those specific members. I would ensure a place for an avatar, and a place for personal interests.


4. How do you monitor what people are saying about you? I often Google keywords related to the topic and the company name and visit the links that come up. I also frequent communities that I know are interested in the company or products .


5. How do you go about pitching bloggers? I would start by reading some of Subject Matter Expert’s blogs, begin commenting and communicating with the ones whom I would like to pitch, and build relationships. I would then blog about the topic myself and ask those bloggers to share their opinion.


6. How do you measure the success of a community? I set the industry standard parameters such as: the number of page views per day, the number of registered users, the amount time spent on site, etc.. to have a general understanding of my community’s activity and the growing trends, I think the real success of the community is based upon whether or not the members enjoyed their time spent on the site, and whether they obtained the information they wanted. Also, would customers recommend the community to their friends, and would they purchase more products/services based on the recommendations they received through the site. I measure these parameters through regular surveys and polls.


7. Why do you think certain online communities fail? According to Forester Research, office politics play a major role. In my experience, the communities that tend to have failed are due to lack of proper goal setting, and not having defined objectives in place. Most marketing fails when the company strives for company needs in lieu of the customers – particularly true for social marketing. When a community only pushes sales and not the value-add to the customer, it is bound to fail.


Once again, I truly appreciate your feedback on the quality of my answers, and how to better answer these questions. You may want to refer to Dave Fleet’s post on what not to answer. Feel free to also add in your own questions to this list.

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