Published: Tuesday 19th of April 2016

Finding a good community professional to build your company’s community strategy from the ground up can be like unicorn hunting.

You’re looking for someone who can relate to your community, can convey the spirit of your brand, think analytically, and communicate your users’ pain points back to your team. And that’s usually just the minimum requirements. It’s not an easy task.

Writing a good job description is an essential first step in convincing talented professionals to give your job opening the consideration it deserves.

So how do you write the best community job description possible?

As you probably know, we curate a lot of jobs at CMX and have helped many companies with their hiring process. Since they’re often hiring their first community person, they may or may not know what they are really, truly looking for, and this is the first time they’ve had to put it into words.

So after looking at hundreds of job descriptions and working on many ourselves, we wanted to share the common characteristics of strong community manager job postings that will attract the best possible candidates. We’ll include a lot of examples as well.

Before writing your job description, answer these 3 questions for yourself:

  1. What problem are you building this community to solve?
  2. What does a successful candidate look like?
  3. Why does this position matter to your organization (and to what degree/to whom)?

This should give you a good starting point to make sure you’re thinking about the role in the right way and can convey that in your description.

Now let’s start writing.

Every community job posting should contain the following basic information:

  1. Job title
  2. Company overview
  3. Responsibilities
  4. Skills of desired candidate
  5. Ideal level of experience and compensation
  6. Reporting and team structure
  7. How to apply

Let’s look at each one and learn what makes them great.

1. Job Title

You should consider writing a more descriptive job title.

The title “Community Manager” really means nothing without context, as community roles vary so widely from company to company and team to team. Ideally, the title should hint at where the role fits into the company as a whole.

Is this a “Community Marketing Manager” who focuses on acquiring users through community programs role or is this a “Community Operations Manager” role that builds out processes for activating and engaging your members?

Slack recently posted a community role firmly focused on developer relations:

Slack Developer Community Manager

If you’re going to go with the generic Community Manager title or even a higher-level title like VP or Director of Community, be sure that you crystalize #3 (the specific expectations for the role) below.

2. Company Overview

The general description of your company is a significant but often overlooked element of a great community job posting.

Community builders are passionate folks. We want to know why we should care about the community you want to build. Even if we do know your company, we want to be reminded of your driving mission, what problem you really see yourself solving, and we want to begin to envision how we can begin helping to solve that problem as a part of your team.

Facebook did a great job of this in their posting for their Community Management Lead, Community Operations role. They outline in one sentence what Facebook is all about: “Facebook was built to help people connect and share.” Of course, everyone knows what Facebook is, but they’re reminding you of their guiding mission and vision for the world and then introducing you to the job opening.

facebook-dublin-ireland-2-community-management-lead-community-operations-

3. Outline of Responsibilities

The candidate should be able to envision what a day looks like in a community role at your company.

Will they spend most of the day sifting through customer data and feedback to improve the product (and then reporting these to a product team)? Or will they be organizing meetups and events right off the bat? Will they deliver a brand ambassador program strategy? Or will they moderate forums? Will they manage others?

YEC clearly outlines all the responsibilities of their new Event and Program Coordinator in their posting:

yec-boston-2-event-and-program-coordinator-

While it’s okay not to know every single detail of the role you’re hiring for, you should be able to envision what a typical day might be like so that you can start to put together the pieces of what success looks like for this role.

4. Skills of Candidate

This is fairly straightforward. What software should your ideal community manager know? Should she be an Excel whiz? Want him to write Mailchimp newsletters? Interested in having your community manager create engagement campaigns as a result of Mixpanel events? List them all.

Some companies also list some personality traits they’re looking for.  Something like “highly organized” or “passionate about helping people” are too obvious and have little effect. The more specific you can be the better.

Check out how WeddingWire has done this, clearly listing past experience as well as software proficiencies.

weddingwire-washington-dc-2-recruiter-

Some of the most common skills and software include:

  • Communication skills
  • Email newsletter programs
  • Excel
  • WordPress
  • Nimble or other CRM tool
  • Forum software
  • Event management

5. Ideal Level of Experience and Compensation

Be upfront about what you’re looking for so you don’t waste anyone’s time.

If you’re open to different levels of experience, make sure to say that.

See our general guideline for experience levels by position title and compensation.

It sometimes helps to state up front that you offer a competitive salary and/or equity. Community pros don’t always get compensated very fairly so they’ll appreciate knowing that up front. Check out how Buffer shares a whole list of perks that their “Happiness Hero” would get.

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 10.47.04 PM

6. Reporting and Team Structure

Who will the candidate report to? Will there be a Director of Community as their boss? Or will they report directly to a founder? Make sure it’s clear who the community manager will report to and, more importantly, why.

You can also explain who they’ll be working with. Will there be other community professionals at their side? Will they have anyone working for them? Who will own what?

Directly included this info in their Community Operations Support position below, though they could have included more information here about what the entire community operations team looks like so candidates have more context.

directly-san-francisco-2-community-operations-support-

7. How to Apply

You’d be surprised how often we come across posts that have no clear way of contacting the hiring team. The easiest way to do this is to send candidates to an online application or direct them to a specific email address where they can send their resume and cover letter.

Make sure to include all the materials you want candidates to send you like resumes, cover letters or get creative and ask for video applications or answers to specific questions.

Once you’ve written and edited with these tips in mind, you should have a winning job posting.  Now post it for free on CMX Hub’s job board and any other site of your choosing.

Need more help finding great candidates or getting feedback on your job description? Email us at [email protected] We’re here to help.

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Carrie Melissa Jones

Carrie Melissa Jones | @caremjo

Carrie is the COO and Founding Partner of CMX. She has built community at Chegg and Scribd and has consulted with community companies around the world. She lives in Seattle, WA with her pup, Bruce Wayne.