11 Community Manager Interview Questions—For Candidates + Hiring Managers!

Interviewing

Community manager interview questions you just have to know before you go!

Are you preparing for an upcoming community manager job interview and need help thinking about the kind of questions you’ll be asked? Looking to land a role as the head of digital marketing at a new startup and want to be able to speak to potential involvement with their community manager? Hiring a new community manager for your organization and want to ask the best interview questions? Either way—come one, come all, this article is for you!

No matter which role best describes your situation—community manager candidate, digital marketing maven, or hiring manager—these days it’s essential to be well-versed in online community management. Why? Online community isn’t a silo within an organization. It’s a hub that intersects and interconnects with a wide variety of departments, roles, and objectives. Especially when it comes to marketing.

At its core, online community is inseparable from marketing goals, product R&D, and the overall growth of an organization. So… why not know everything you can know and make yourself the best possible candidate, resource, or interviewer for online community management? Our thoughts exactly. Without further ado: the top community manager interview questions most everyone should know!

Top Community Manager Job Interview Questions (in no particular order!)

Below you’ll find our list of 11 questions you can expect to be asked (or should ask candidates) during your community manager job interview, as well as our recommendations on how to respond. Yes, these questions and answers are directed at interviewers and interviewees. But we’re confident you’ll find them plenty useful, whether your digital marketing role is expanding to take over community management or your marketing and product design teams are trying to navigate how to best overlap with and leverage online community.

1. How do you define a community? No, this community manager interview question is not asking you to pull out the dictionary and offer up the literal definition of community. Nor does it want you to Google search “what is online community?”

How to respond: When an interviewer asks you this question, they’re asking you to give your personal definition of community. What does it mean to you and how do you interpret its significance within an organization or brand? Why is it important to you and what does it represent for us as human beings in a digital world, as well as for the overarching goals of an organization? Here, what community manager interviewers are looking for is to understand your unique take on the concept of community.

Interviewers want to see that your definition of community goes beyond social media activity and deep into the act of bringing people together. This question is a good opportunity to let your passion for community shine while emphasizing the impact you believe communities can have on an organization. So… speak to these things!

2. What communities do you belong to? 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 respond: In answering this community manager interview question (and all of them, really), be honest and transparent about the communities you regularly participate in, as well as 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? Community manager 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 respond: 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 would be to build the community from scratch). Formulate an answer based on your experiences within that community, and address challenges you experienced from a member’s perspective. 

It’s also a good idea to know what you think and feel 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 pivot quickly, step up, and problem solve.

How to respond: 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 then follow up with your lesson. From there, you can explain the situation with an honest account of the story.

While this community manager interview question may not be your favorite to answer, how you respond is quite significant in demonstrating who you are and how you’ve grown through failures.

5. What do you think makes a strong community? This community manager interview question should prompt you to highlight your expertise in community. Community manager interviewers are looking for someone who really understands how to build a strong and engaged community.

How to respond: As with most community manager interview questions, there’s no right answer here. How you respond is truly based on your own opinion and your past experiences with community. Use this question as an opportunity to once again show the interviewer your passion for and knowledge of community development. If you’re not sure, check out this post of ours on how to build a strong community.‍

6. How would you build and foster a community? Building a community is hard work. But that’s why the community manager interviewer is looking for you.

How to respond: The best way to answer this community manager interview question is to pull from examples of how you’ve built communities in the past. If it wasn’t with a business or organization, that’s OK. Even if it was a book or writing club, the important thing is to take the interviewer step-by-step through the process of how you’ve built, fostered, and maintained a community.

7. How do you deal with difficult people? Can you give us a specific example? This community manager interview question seeks to learn about your interpersonal communication and de-escalation skills (prerequisites for any community manager).

How to respond: Because customer support is an important part of being a community manager, 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 things personally is always a good approach.

8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? This is another community manager interview question (that we all collectively loathe, am I right?) that tries to understand your passion, commitment, and dedication to community management.

How to respond: Again, there is no right answer to this question. As always, 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 them. Being your genuine self goes a long way in community management, so it only makes sense that genuine responses during your community manager interview are to your advantage.

9. Have you ever represented a brand in forums, social media, or a blog rather than your own voice? Tell me about that experience. If so, talk about that experience. As a community manager, you’ll be asked to communicate with members on social media and through blog content. Knowing how to write and communicate in the voice and likeness of an organization or brand is important. You can still be yourself, but companies have their own voices for a reason.

How to respond: If you’ve managed social media accounts before, what was your approach? This community manager interview question gives you the chance to highlight your experience in social media and blogging from previous jobs. Here, you can share how this kind of work contributed to building a successful community.‍ You can also talk about communicating using a specific brand voice, and why that’s important.

10. How do you track success in community management? Ah, success metrics! No matter your role within a business or organization, proving the ROI for what you do is always valuable. For this community manager interview question, you’ll need to speak to success and ROI.

How to respond: Measuring community success can be a little tricky at times. While it depends on what your community goals are, there are basic metrics you can keep track of like 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.‍

11. What steps have you taken (or would you take) to increase web traffic to your community?  In order to increase web presence and traffic, and keep an audience on a community website longer, community managers need to think about creating content marketing plans and implementing SEO through useful articles and landing pages. Strategy, content-driven campaigns, and SEO are key here.

How to respond: Speak to how you use (or would use) the following to bolster community:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Membership promotion
  • Community-driven marketing plans that actually gauge success

Questions YOU Should Ask (because you are interviewing them as well!)

A community manager job interview is more than just “being interviewed” while sweating through your nice shirt over Zoom. Every community manager interview is an opportunity to learn more about whether or not the role and this company are the right fit for you. 

Here are a few questions you can ask your interviewer (choose 2-3 questions, but not really more than that):

  • What specific goals or metrics will my performance be measured against?
  • Can you tell me more about the team I’d be working with and how they cross-function with other teams and departments?
  • Can you tell me about a recent issue you faced with a community member and how you handled it?
  • How do you plan to deal with your next big challenge as a community (if there’s something specific that’s coming up, reference it)?
  • What do you and other employees do outside of work?

Whatever you ask during your community manager job interview, just make sure you do ask. Asking questions (that you actually want to know the answer to) illustrates engagement, curiosity, and attention to detail. It also helps you know what kind of environment and team you’d potentially be working with.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up After Your Community Manager Job Interview

After your community manager interview, don’t forget to follow up later that day (yes, the same day). And, if you don’t land the community manager job, ask for feedback! Any feedback you receive can then be used to make your next community manager interview that much better. Eventually, especially if you continue to be proactive about the endeavor, you’ll find yourself where you want and need to be.

Ready to knock your community manager job interview out of the park? We think you are! Good luck, and we’ll be waiting for you here (ready to celebrate your success) once you get the job.

Work with experts who build successful communities

Mobilize is made up of community experts who have launched communities for the likes of Dropbox, United Nations’ SDSN, Dermalogica, and more. We work with you to align your business goals with a tailored community strategy to ensure its success.

Whether you’re just getting started or are looking to improve outcomes with your existing community — we have strategies and industry-tailored programs to help you get things done. Schedule a demo for a personalized walk-through of our technology and learn about our expert-led strategy services.