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Communications managers, often known as public relations managers, strategize and oversee activities that are designed to increase a company's, organization's, or individual's public image. High-profile companies, universities and politicians often need communications managers to help them maintain favorable reputations. When interviewing for a job as a communications manager, expect questions about your ability to create, plan and manage events. Your answers should reflect your organizational skills, creativity and public awareness.
Communications managers must increase public awareness, so they often use social media, community events, press releases, logos and speeches to draw attention to their clients' agendas or their company's services. You can expect interview questions such as, "How do you target specific groups to increase public awareness?" or "What steps do you take to help your clients communicate with the public?" When answering, discuss ways you conduct surveys to get a feel for the public's views, meet face-to-face with community leaders and build positive relationships with the press.
Creative Community Events
Not every attempt to increase public awareness produces expected results, so a hiring manager wants assurance that you have a wide range of ideas to solicit interest or gain support. The interviewer might ask, "What methods do you use to inform the public?" or "What types of events have you hosted to increase public relations?" Answer with a variety of ideas, such as organizing awards or recognition ceremonies; hosting free concerts; advertising on local cable networks; making public radio announcements; hosting community auctions; and operating booths at fairs.
The hiring manager might ask about your experience organizing or hosting fundraisers. Public relations and fundraising often go hand-in-hand. Expect questions such as, "What experience do you have with fundraisers and how successful were they?" or "Explain how you promote fundraising events to solicit interest in a particular cause or political candidate." Be specific when you answer and cite previous fundraisers you organized or facilitated. Without disclosing confidential information, you might say, "I organized door-to-door solicitations to promote our silent auction and doubled the previous year's profits" or "I designed mail flyers requesting private donations and received over $150,000 in contributions."
Communications managers are defined by their creativity, oversight and effectiveness, so the interviewer will likely ask about your leadership style. Expect questions such as "How do you delegate public relations responsibilities to your staff?" or "What methods do you use to create and supervise pubic awareness teams?" or "Explain your methods for managing public relations committees?" Discuss your ability to oversee marketing or advertising teams, unite workers to create effective campaigns, edit and revise speeches, delegate workers to host public events or arrange interviews. You might also stress team-centered goals, such as maintaining budgets; conferring with attorneys to ensure press releases meet legal guidelines; and overseeing email, direct mail and social media solicitations.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.