Emily asks whether community experience or passion for the topic is more important when hiring community professionals.
Ideally, you want both. But when that’s not feasible, it depends upon the role.
The more the person has to engage directly with members, the more it helps to have a passion for the topic. At a junior level, you want people who can confidently answer questions which arise, initiate interesting discussions, connect naturally with people (and perhaps even be a known person in the field already).
At a more senior level, you want previous community experience. You want people up to level 3 and 4 on these benchmarks. You want people who have done tricky platform migrations, managed a community team, secured internal support, improved moderation systems, created dashboards, modeled variables etc…
Make sure you’re applying and recruiting for the right level.