When it comes to hiring staff, the amount of pitfalls and mistakes which can be made greatly outnumber the success stories. Especially in the online world, where you only have words and possibly a Skype conversation to judge someone by, it is easy to be fooled and end up in a less than desirable situation. The one rule of thumb I always recommend is the “Too good to be true” rule. If someone is willing to go out of their way for you for little or no pay, usually there is a hidden catch. I am not saying that there are not good people in this world, for trust me, there are. They are however greatly outnumbered by the bad people.
So who is it that usually looks to become staff on your forum? The active member is usually your safest bet. Unless of course, there is a hidden grudge from your past that I am not aware of. Someone who has been a member of your forum for a long period of time, actively contributed regularly during this time and never asked for a staff position is usually the best person for the job. If you reach out to them, you are more likely to have a longer, happier co-operation. There are issues with this though. Just because this person is active on your forum, you don’t know how they will handle power. You also don’t know if they truly are reliable, or a total hot-head that will go off on you as soon as a member is hard to deal with or you tell them what to do.
For these reasons, some administrators choose to outsource the staffing of their forums and hire staff on other forums, such as we offer the ability to do here at Forum Promotion. There are however issues with this too. You don’t know these people, they could be anyone. Just because they have staffed other forums in the past doesn’t mean they are the best fit for your forum. What is their true story? Why did they actually leave the forum they staffed in the past? What happened on that forum? There is also always a risk of malicious intent. Maybe they only want to get a staff position on your forum to gain access to information? Even here, there are exceptions, that you can be extremely lucky with, who pour their heart and soul into your forum, only with good intentions.
So, if you can’t trust anyone from the online world, who can you trust? What about a real-life friend or even a family member. Here too there can be issues though. What if you get into an argument in real life, and then this transfers to the forum. People do stupid things, that is an unfortunate part of life and something you must take into consideration at all times. It can also be harder to tell a friend or family member that they did something wrong. Can you really tell your brother his moderation skills are less than sub-par?
At the end of the day, it really does come down to judging character. Look closely at who you hire and instead of just asking for past experience, run your forum like you would run a business. Ask for references, it isn’t an odd thing to do. They don’t have any, or don’t want to share them? This should certainly make alarm bells ring. Your forum is an online entity which contains your investments, don’t treat it any less than that.