Looking for Community Manager jobs? Ask this important question at your interviews.

by Matt on June 17, 2010

in Online Communities, Social Media

And we’re back!

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for me. I recently landed a gig as an online community manager for a prominent social gaming company. More on that later, but the short version has me living in San Francisco and kick-starting an exciting new career. Good times!

As a result of this long job hunt, I’ve been through a lot of job interviews. Some good, some bad. With the economy as rough as it is, and considering how competitive both the video game and social media industries can be, even a great interview often ends with “good luck in your search.”

But this post isn’t about how to land any community manager job (check out Blaise’s fantastic article for help on that front.) It’s about how to figure out if that specific position is right for you.

Nearly all interviewers will end with “So, do you have any questions for me?” Once you’ve finished impressing them with your savvy, well-informed questions about their products and company history, make sure you ask:

Where does the online community manager sit?

Will you be sitting with the engineers, the marketing team, or the customer support team? Or another team entirely? Because of the jack-of-all-trades nature of community management, and because many companies are hiring one for the first time, every organization has a different view on the CM’s role. The physical place that you sit gives you a great snapshot of what your primary tasks will be.

If you’re sitting with the engineers, your primary task is probably to engage with your members and relay bugs that the community finds. With marketing, you’ll be more focused on blogger outreach, social media and community involvement. Of course, you’ll probably be doing all of this regardless, just in different proportions.

The good news is, community management is such an encompassing role that once you get in the door, you can mold it into your ideal mix of abilities. All you have to do is be awesome at it.

Find out where your chair is, and you’ll learn a lot more than if you asked “so tell me about the position.”

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