What if you hire the wrong person for forum staff?

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What if you hire the wrong person for forum staff?

Here's a question for anyone that manages an online forum or community group, such as on Facebook groups.

Let's say you meet a really cool person that loves your forum and they're super active with posting all day, every day, just the best/friendliest/most helpful, super awesome forum member ever! And, they have amazing energy for chatting on forum and being around other people and voluntarily report spam and do all the great things a staff moderator would do. So one day you have an opening in staff and think, 'hey why not add that person'?

After all, they're basically doing the job of moderator, sure they'd be great! And so you hire this super awesome person as your new staff member and then overnight almost they turn off the charm or start slacking off on the job or not showing up or being all mouthy and moody on forum or lording the power over people. And, it's just like this night and day Jekyl/Hyde person.

And, you are standing there wondering, how did I miss the signs?

Just wondering how you handle those situations on your own forum, group, clan, etc.


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Pull them up on it! Take then to the side, or get them into your staff chat room or send them a message. Tell them how you feel. Tell them what you think. Don't be afraid to speak your mind. After all, you're the boss and you get to decide what is ultimately good for that forum/community.

Tell them hey look, we got you on board because we thought you had some great energy on the forums and you're always motivating people and that's great, but since we've made you a moderator, it looks as though that status has gone to your head a bit and you appear to be using your status as a way to lord it up over people and you're not doing the things we'd expect you to be doing as a moderator.

Obviously be polite to them about it, just say that you're only giving them a headsup on something but you've noticed their change of behavior/attitude on the forums since they were given mod status. In most cases, this will be enough to help make people think and change their ways and might be all that you need to do to see that change come about in that new moderator.

You will be able to tell what they think/feel about it from their reply. If they appreciate that you have pulled them to one side and are giving them this pep talk, then that shows good willing and understanding and you're likely to see a change in that person.

But if their reply is one that says they're not happy and you shouldn't be so fussy or something along those lines, you'll know whether they are likely to change or not. But after this, you should monitor that person to see if they have made a change, or are trying to make a change in their behavior/attitude on the forums. In most cases this is enough to see a good change come about in that person for the better, for the better of your community.

But if they are still doing those things which could be deemed as lording it up over people, or they are not doing those things that is reasonably expected of them as a moderator, then you can of course, demote them back to a normal member again. This may be the best thing to do and that person may well go back to how they was before they was a moderator.

Some people do let that status go to their head a bit on forums. Usually though, this is younger people who don't already have any much experience being a moderator on a busy and popular forum. So yeah, pull them to one side, drop a little word in their ear, wait and see what happens. At the worst, you just demote them again and hire someone else.

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This is a great question. This has happened to me in the past actually. What I find out is that staff members tends to be very motivated when they start the job because they find it very interesting to be staff on the forum and really like the job. However, as time passes, they lose their passion because it gets boring and turns into more of a job rather than interest. This is when they start slacking off and this causes problems. My approach is normally to talk to them in a friendly manner and try to understand what is happening. Sometimes, it is not because of the reason above but it is due to the lack of time; in that case, they would normally resign after a while. If it was due to being bored of the forum, they would normally stay but not do very much. In this case, I would try to get them engaged again through discussions with them and incentives such as staff of the month awards with cash prizes or extra forum benefits. I find that cash incentives work the best. If that fails, then I will have to kindly ask them to resign for the best for both parties.

If they started slacking straight after they have been hired, then I would just use the same method as above. If it doesn’t work, then I would fire them. Sometimes, these decisions need to be made for the benefit of both parties.

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How stringent are you on expecting forum staff to do the moderation duties? I would think it's something that a member would do everytime they're on forum but I've seen times as a forum admin or manager where certain staff members would just show up and post or update their status but not bother to do spam patrol and I'm just wondering how much of that you tolerate (as in how many days/weeks, incidences) before you say enough is enough.

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This depends on whether it is a paid or voluntary role. I would not be very strict if they are volunteering as a moderator for free. However, if they are being very inactive for a few weeks, then I would talk to them about it and request them to be active again; I would give them 1 week after that in which I will fire them if there is no improvement. If I am paying them, normally, I will pay based on performance so I will reduce the pay if they are doing a bad job. In this case, I will probably give them one week before I talk to them and then a few days for improvement. We have an “away” thread on the forum where staff will post there if they are busy for more than a few days. That is absolutely fine if they are busy but the problem occurs when they are inactive and not doing their job for no reason.

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I've seen some people do this and I think it's because now they have an ounce of power and can be more controlling. It happens in normal 9-5 office jobs as well, someone will get a small promotion and now be a boss to a few people and always be on their case about something or try firing them.

It gets a bit ridiculous and tough to watch.

I've noticed that it's more frequent when hiring a younger person, under 21 years old, where you will see this kind of attitude change. Don't get me wrong, I've seen it in older people who are 45+ but it's more rare. The younger person hasn't had the experience with employees and I think that's why they are more likely to try and be a hard ass to random strangers on a forum or social page.

There's also the anonymity that goes into play with forums, blogs and any other type of online community. I'm sure there are people out there who are huge cyber bullies but in real life they are afraid to talk to people. Being a different person online makes them feel like a bigger person and they try to show it through their words and/or banning people since they have the title "Moderator".

You'll always need to due your due diligence when giving someone the "promotion" to moderator. I know that there are some people that will slip through the cracks and be the Jekyl and Hyde type, but I think it is more rare if you can weed them out in the beginning.

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Hi Beverly you ask a good question. I am very anxious after reading your title. This is very complex situation when you face such by any staff as admin what you thought but he des not. In this situation may occur for for several reasons. But I think it may happen for example: You may think that guy looking very energetic, motivate people by posting every day etc and you take him all as positively as right person for staff but he may does all those things intentionally, like for getting title and show up power to other as staff member or moderator. Once he got power and following some days, he may very active as before and after then he will disappear once getting his real target.
And I think you have to contact with him by chat room or group discussion either pulled his title, if he does not do work properly. And personally I believe do not need any person as staff who are Jekyl and Hyde type.

Thanks by Ajlancer

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I think that if you noticed how great he or she was, and how this does not seem to be the case anymore, the best option would be to have a chat in private where you point out how you feel. Try to do this politely while pointing out areas of possible improvement. Chances are that for most of them he may not be aware that he is in the wrong and all he really needs is some explanation or advice. Maybe it is his first experience as a moderator and so he is not really that experienced and is going about it in the wrong way unintentionally.

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