The Industry’s Biggest and Brightest: What they look for when hiring for community management

Community management comes in all different shapes and sizes and breaking into the field requires just as many different characteristics. This week’s CMGR class featured a panel of four very different community managers. They represented some of the industry’s most influential companies, such as Google, and some that are small but influential in their own circle, like Cycle for Survival. Each CM at the panel put forth their personal take on what you need to get hired as a community manager.


Jennifer Sable Lopez is Director of Community at MOZ, previously known as SEOmoz. Jenn currently works with a small staff that focuses on community at MOZ. Designed as a software company that makes software to help marketers, MOZ has since expanded its focus. Beyond the software, the organization is now more content focused, working on social and community focused tools. They also feature an educational resources component on the website that breaks down concepts like SEO and other community management based principles.

As a veteran of this industry, Jenn’s criterion for potential hires is valuable insight. The key thing Jenn looks for in a candidate is some who is able to “figure to what to do next.” This includes the following capabilities:

  • The ability to take something and make a decision
  • The ability to figure out what has to happen next
  • The ability to know whether something’s a big deal or not
  • The ability to think on your feet


Lea Marino is CM at Cycle for Survival, indoor team cycling event that raises money for rare cancer research. Marino primarily works on email marketing, social media, and any marketing that goes beyond social. A large portion of her energy is dedicated to peer-to-peer fundraising as well, due to the nature of her organization.

For Lea, the biggest factor she looks for in potential candidates in the CM field is empathy. Not a quality you can necessarily teach, Lea believes that empathy is a personality-driven trait that makes a community manager stand out. In this age of social where people constant communicate digitally, a seasoned CM will have an inherent ability to understand what’s being said behind the words. In this way, one has the ability to connect with people in way “where you can hear what they want you to hear in the moment.”


Sahana Ullagaddi works at Klout as their Community Manager. Klout is currently the premiere tool to help you understand and measure your online influence. Organizational goals include helping their community improve its online influence by being better educated about social media. Sahana’s job is directly related to content that supports the fine tuning of channels the company uses to communicate their content. For Sahana, there is a distinct list of attributes and qualities she looks for when hiring in the community management field.

  • A hunger to learn
  • The ability to receive feedback well
  • Being able to speak up and share your opinions and feedback
  • The ability to be perceptive so people feel comfortable enough to open up to you
  • Being able to prioritize well.


Topher Ziobro, Communtiy Manager at Google Local NYC, works on everything from online interactions to in person events, to working with partners, and even encouraging people to explore and share about the various places of interest in NYC.

When it comes to hiring potential team members, Topher ranks energy management above all else. For a job centered around maintaining an energetic social media presence, Topher feels the individuals managing those accounts should be especially adept at using their energy wisely so as to avoid burnout, and thus a lackluster social media presence. Specifically, Topher places value in the following aspects of energy management:

  • How you display your energy
  • How to plan things so you are not draining yourself
  • Constantly thinking about building energy reserves so as to avoid burnout

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