Back in March I wrote an article entitled ‘How to recruit forum moderators‘. Since writing the article, I have come across many forum posts from forum administrators asking whether they should interview potential new moderators and/or seek references.
In this article, I will share my opinions and thoughts concerning this area of moderator recruitment.
The benefits of conducting interviews and obtaining references
Interviews allow you to ‘feel out’ the character and personality of a person. You can ask specific questions and ask for details of relevant experience the candidate has for the role.
Similarly, the applicant has the opportunity to ask questions and determine whether the role is really something they want.
References also help determine the character of a potential applicant – after an interview you will have formed your own opinions about the applicant. A reference gives you the opportunity to see how accurate these opinions are, from the viewpoint of others that know the applicant well.
Problems with the interview and reference process
All these advantages sound great, right? Well they are – but they are also time consuming and not always the best way to judge an applicant.
Some people are great at interviews, others are not. Effectiveness in an interview is not always a reflection of a candidate’s suitability for the position. Similarly, references may not be an accurate indicator as they are often full of praise and tend to gloss over any areas of weakness.
Conducting interviews for your moderator positions is hugely time consuming and offers no real advantages over my preferred method of moderator selection – namely the person’s previous track record as a member.
Considering the track record
I believe this is the most accurate way of determining an applicant’s true character and suitability for a moderator role. Potential new moderators should be long-standing members of your community – this allows you to really understand the character and personality of the applicant.
Read previous posts from the potential new moderator – how do they react to controversy? How do they react to chiding and occasional abuse? How much value do they add to your community?
A member’s post history is a far more accurate way of determining their suitability as a moderator compared to interviews. You can see them for their true colours, and save the time and stress involved in interview and reference procedures.
Do you interview potential moderators? What traits do you look for when recruiting new mods?