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  Finding Moderators?
How do I find the right moderators for my community?

Since moderators are the "public face" and frontline of your site and community, finding the right people to fill the role is crucial. With able and appropriate individuals in your community your visitors are more likely to become participants, you are more likely to gain cohesion and brand loyalty, and your community has the basis for growth and success. Recruiting moderators should be seen as comparable to recruiting a company representative, since they are often the means by which first impressions are made, opinions generated, and loyalty created.

When seeking potential applicants for your community moderators there are a number of key skills which are important. At a basic level you should expect that a person;

1) be a positive and welcoming representative for your site.

2) has at least an interest and some knowledge in the content and issues which your community involves.

3) has excellent communication skills, particularly online in chat, e-mail or message board situations.

4) is able to handle conflict neutrally and in a level-headed fashion.

5) is as web-savvy and experienced in using technology as your community visitors might need.

With those key skills and specific criteria for your community (specific interests, professional qualifications and experience, languages and so on) in mind, you should be able to draw a picture of your ideal moderator and be in a position to start your search. At this stage you should be very clear about the exact tasks the moderation role will involve, the hours and conditions, and also any remuneration.

One of the best ways to find moderators is by placing an announcement on your site where new and existing site visitors will see it. Your visitors, especially repeat visitors, will already have a certain level of "buy-in" or committment to your site. They will also be acquainted with what your site has to offer and the content it provides. This will enable them to speak knowledgably around topics presented, as well as being able to direct members to other services on your site that will be of use.

Another excellent way to find moderators is to place an announcement on moderator/online community development listservs or topical newgroups. Newsgroups and listservs are particularly useful in this respect, as there are often individuals who are especially helpful, conversant and encouraging. Don't rule out being able to find suitable candidates from such places. There are several available that can be found via the major search engines.

Once you have decided how you wish to locate potential moderators, you will want to devise an application/hiring process.

The process should ensure that all the right questions are being asked in a forum that will enable you to identify the best qualified individuals for the job. If possible, it is often valuable to perform the hiring process online, since this will give you a good sense of an applicant's communication skills and persona in the medium they will be working. For example, conducting an interview in an online chatroom is often a very good way of gauging an individual's approach to questions under pressure, as well as their general capabilities. Once you have a list of "candidates" further online interviews and evaluation will enable you to make your final decisions.

We wish you the best of luck in your hiring endeavor. Thank you for the great question.

- Jon Nix and Pam Thomas
http://communityanswers.com
http://cornerways.com
http://cwlive.com
 
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