Hiring a Webmaster

So, you've decided to hire a webmaster. Before you hire the first guy who walks though your door, here are some things you should consider when preparing the statement of work:

Number of Required Resources: Realistically, will one person be able to handle everything you want done within the desired timeframe or might you be setting the "new guy" up for failure up front?

Work Location: Where is this person going to work? Seems straight forward enough but they could work on-site or off-site (like from home).

Interviews: Do you want to interview people? If so, what questions should you ask?

Security Requirements: Are there any security or safety training requirements?

Language Requirements: Do they need to speak English, French or Spanish? How proficient do they need to be when it comes to reading and writing in those languages? If this person is going to be working with or even creating content, this might be important.

Travel and Living Expenses: If the person will need to relocate for the job or travel in the course of the job, will they be responsible for this or will you?

Overtime: Will this person be required to work overtime? If so, how often?

Availability: How much of the webmasters time will you really need? Just a few hours a week? 5 days a week? Will there be shiftwork involved? If you are hiring a consultant, how long will the term of the contract be for and when will it start?

Website: If the website is publicly accessible, include a link. Otherwise, specify that this is an Intranet or Extranet.

Background: Where can the potential webmaster learn more about your company? Why do you need a webmaster now? Did someone leave? Is someone going on maternity leave or vacation?

Duties and Tasks to be Performed: While it may just seem like common sense to you, there are literally dozens if not hundreds of types of tasks that a webmaster might be called upon to do. The clearer you can be about your expectations, the more likely you will find someone who can step-up to meet your requirements. Who will they be reporting to? Will they be required to do development of the website to create new features or will they just be required to keep the content up to date? Will they need to create or edit graphics? What about writing documentation? Will this person need to deal with your customers or 3rd party service providers?

Mandatory Requirements: What education, skills, knowledge and experience will make this person more likely to be qualified to do the position? What technology is used in your website? What soft-skills should they have? Are there any standards that they will need to be aware of? Is there any special software that they will need to know how to use like Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat Professional, Visual Studio, etc.?

Desirable Requirements: Assuming you get multiple candidates who are all wonderful and equally meet all of your mandatory requirements. What education, skills, knowledge or experience would it be really nice to have. For example, a background with experience in your particular industry might be nice. On the other hand, if you don't get many people who meet your mandatory requirements, desirables will be things that they could do without or learn on the job.

By the way, I happen to personally know a great Webmaster who also happens to be a skilled Professional Web Developer with Graphic Design skills. Contact me if you are looking for one.

Come to think of it, these are things that would probably apply to hiring just about anyone for any job.

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