There have been some recent hirings for new Community Managers and the Community Team in general recently, including Ayo and Rosie, which is great! The CM team has been severely understaffed for years on end now, so seeing some new hires is great.
However, taking a look at the current members of the team, I'm admittedly a little bit worried. There are only around two current members of the team who were ever deeply involved in the community prior to becoming staff - Catija and JNat. After the removal of Shog and Robert Cartaino, and the leaving of Jon Ericson and Tim Post, there's a distinct lack of institutional knowledge in the Community Team - to the point where some people feel the team was gutted.
Having a knowledge of what it takes to be an active user of the site, including getting involved in moderation, or becoming a moderator, is invaluable when dealing with those moderators. If you don't understand what being a moderator entails (it's a serious commitment and you don't get paid) and how it feels, it makes working with those mods much less effective. With the recent hirings from outside the community, active members of the community have created some resources to assist in bringing those outside hires up to speed, but that's no replacement for extended hands-on experience.
Of course, external CM hires have proven to be great in the past, but - in my experience at least - have not had the same rapport and mutual respect that CMs such as Shog, Jon, and Cat have had, by virtue of having been respected and active members of the community before being hired.
CM experience elsewhere can't beat hands-on experience with the very community you're hiring people to manage when it comes to establishing trust and cooperation and learning how the system and people work.
This is all slightly concerning, though, in the context of the wording of the CM job position. The job listing states as a requirement:
At least 3-5 years of professional community management experience for a large technologically-focused user base
...which excludes almost all of the existing user base right off the bat, including the moderators.
This is a stark departure from the past, where it was said that putting in your cover letter that you were applying to "have more diamonds than ChrisF" would get you at least through the initial screening. (If you don't know who ChrisF is or why it would be a well-known joke that he has a lot of diamonds... here.)
Having this requirement excludes many of the people that the community would most trust to take the CM position - the people who already understand the needs of the community, are experienced in communication with the community, and already have established mutual trust. It makes no sense from my point of view to explicitly exclude these people from even being considered. Community moderation and activity on Stack Exchange should count as experience when applying for a CM job at Stack Exchange.
Can we please open up the CM listing to have either professional CM experience or experience in managing the very community you're hiring people to manage?