Traits To Look for When Hiring A Community Manager

A Community Manager (or sometimes referred to as a Client Services Manager) can make or break a workspace. They’re the person that keeps everything running smoothly, everyone getting along amiably, and they’re the ones that organize all the fun stuff. Oh, they’re also in charge of making sure the coffee’s always hot.

Although the Community Manager typically reports to the Center Manager, they bear a lot of responsibility and are accountable for all the goings, comings, and happenings in your center.

Have a new member? Have a visitor? Need printing paper? Need coffee? Organizing a party or event? Need to send out an email blast? Have to update social media? Need an extension cord? Gotta give someone notice that their invoice is past due? Need to get next month’s invoices ready to go out?

You name it. They do it. They fix it.

As you can probably imagine then, this job isn’t for everyone. So, where do you find the right person? More importantly, how do you make sure you pick out the right one for your shared workspace?

That’s what we at Office Suite Strategies are here for. We’ll help you find the right fit, the one that will keep your workspace buzzing, with a healthy community, and happy clients. Our President, Karen Condi, has shared some traits that you should look for when interviewing for the Community Manager position.

Traits to Look For and Tips To Help You Find Them

  • What’s your first impression? Is the candidate shy or do they have a strong presence from the get go? Your community manager should be a social butterfly, it should be someone that’s comfortable with meeting new people, isn’t shy to knock on doors, and naturally knows how to get conversations flowing.
  • When looking for the ideal candidate, look for qualities that’d you’d often find in that one friend that throws the best parties and naturally knows how to have a good time, regardless of who is there and who isn’t. (Quick side note here: make sure the person you hire doesn’t promote any networking events…what’s cool about “networking”?. Encourage them to call your events a  party, a member social, or a happy hour–it’ll bring the attendance up.)
  • Of course, the one person that throws the best parties has to have some killer organizational skills. Your ideal candidate is also someone that knows how to handle administrative tasks and is pretty good at keeping his or herself organized; they need to be detail oriented and not afraid to take the lead when it comes to administering tasks.
  • Last but certainly not least, customer service needs to be your candidate’s middle name. The perfect fit will be the person that is good at delivering good news and bad news; they will be patient with members, the won’t hesitate to call up someone and remind them their invoice is past due or when member fees will go up, and they’ll also be the first to want to celebrate a client’s success.

Final Thoughts

Your Community Manager is going to be everyone’s go-to person when they have good news or when they have bad news. Which is why it’s important that this person be someone that people naturally like to interact with at all times.

Ysel Hernandez, Client Services Manager at Lakeside Executive Suites, shared some words of wisdom with us.

“What makes a great Client Services Manager is the ability to think of each client’s company as if it were your own, that way you will be able to provide a level of service that will allow for that company to continue to grow at your center and beyond.”

We hope this helps and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions, doubts, or need some extra tips to hiring your ideal Community Manager.

How to Interview Candidates for Business Center Manager

In an earlier post, I talked about the 3 key skill sets that successful center managers in the serviced workspace industry have.   In this post, I will detail how I have conducted interviews to practically evaluate each of those skills sets and others in the context of the serviced office center.

When I interview candidates, I like to break the role down into 5 broad areas: Sales, HR, Accounting, Technology, and Property Management.    These are the five major functions that managers in Office Suite Strategies-managed centers are responsible for.  Our centers are run with a lean staffing model so having a well-rounded skill set is extremely important.     I touched on Sales and Technology   in the post linked earlier, so I will further define the three other categories here.   The HR category includes evaluating leadership experience and abilities, as well as the fundamentals of staff management.  Having a manager that can understand a basic P&L is essential to running a successful  serviced office company.  I evaluate the candidate’s success and experience in this area under the Accounting category.  Lastly, several of the successful center managers we have found come from the property management field.  So, it is important to consider experience related to managing vendors, cleaning crews, and building maintenance as well as a strong attention to detail under the Property Management category.

My interviews begin with asking the candidate to rank these categories from one to five in terms of how much experience they have and/or their confidence in that area.  I look for candidates who rank Sales and Property Management the highest in their self-evaluation. Of course, they must also have a very good understanding of basic business skills.  Successful managers must  have the ability to effectively communicate the value of the serviced office company in order to secure the sale.  And, they must be able to have the organizational skills and an understanding of basic accounting to make sure the business as a whole is functioning optimally.  In truth, these ideal candidates are very difficult to find, but I’ve fine-tuned the Office Suite Strategies recruiting process to attract top notch individuals that run our centers today and the centers for many of our clients.

The hiring process that Office Suites Strategies conducts consists of a minimum of 4 interviews before an offer is considered.   Before we start the interview process, we thoroughly screen through resumes, ensuring anyone we talk to includes a well written cover letter.  Again, with sales skills being a priority for us, we feel that if an individual doesn’t present a cover letter when they are attempting to sell themselves, this is a major red flag.  From there, we move to a phone interview followed by face to face interview that takes place via Skype.  Next, the candidate has an in person interview with a member of the Office Suite Strategies management team.  If the candidate has been successful in all prior steps, the last interview assesses their decision making skills through a series of conflict resolution questions.   Finally,we make the selection of the best candidate for the position and move to the reference checking step.  We do not make a job offer until at least three prior work references have been checked.  Upon hire, I work with each new employee in a regimented training program that acclimates them to the serviced workspace industry, teaches them Office Suite Strategies’ proven-effective processes and procedures, and tests their understanding and effectiveness once trained.  And, training does not end at orientation.   In order to keep our managers motivated and strong, Office Suite Strategies conducts regular training sessions on a monthly basis.  They are then responsible for the same type of training (with my guidance) with their team.

I hope this post has shed some light on the interview process that Office Suite Strategies carries out in order to find the best candidates for the integral Center Manager role.  If you are considering entering the serviced workspace industry and would like assistance with staffing, please contact me, Karen Condi, for a consultation.  You can also hear more about this process at the Global Coworking Unconference in Los Angles, CA in April of this year.  I will be speaking on Day one of the conference!