Public relations involves managing an organization's publicity, public image and relationships. Many of the duties are similar to those of a marketing professional and typically include writing press releases, scheduling interviews, overseeing media coverage and managing public appearances of company officials. Interviews with candidates for PR positions will focus on your communications and marketing skills, experience and ambitions.
A Discussion of Applicable Skills
Because public relations jobs involve writing, scheduling and managing clients, hiring managers deem oral and written communication skills as well as organizational skills very important. The job also involves marketing functions such as analyzing public opinion and conducting market research. To succeed in your interview, you need to demonstrate research and evaluation skills. Public relation candidates must also be able to adhere to strict deadlines and master the art of persuasion. To gauge your marketing and persuasion skills the interviewer might ask, "What do you think is the best way to distribute a press release in order to gain the most publicity and media attention for a client?"
Details of Biggest Accomplishments
A proven track record of swaying public opinion and securing big publicity opportunities is important in the public relations profession. Discuss past success stories such as increased press coverage, higher customer ratings for a client or a campaign you managed and executed that yielded favorable results. Be prepared to answer a question such as, "In what ways has your market research benefited the company or resulted in an increase of desirable attention from consumers?" Answer by bringing up marketing tactics that helped employers or clients expand their customer bases. Because social media is becoming a bigger part of public relations, be prepared to discuss any successes you've had using social media to improve a company's profile. For example, the hiring manager may ask, "How have you used social media to garner the attention of traditional media?"
Feedback on Hypothetical Situations
Many interviews involve creating hypothetical work situations and asking interviewees to respond with how they would proceed. When it comes to public relations, possible hypothetical situations might involve performing damage control for a company that faced public scrutiny or criticism for its business practices. Do a little research beforehand on common crises facing organizations, and the proper way to handle them. One question regarding a hypothetical situation might be, "How would improve the image of our organization should information be released to the public regarding a product recall?" Practice responses to similar questions so you will be well prepared during the interview.
Explanations about Future Plans
It's important that you are well prepared to discuss your future goals during the interview. Many employers like to know whether you are someone looking to grow with the company or if you are simply looking to gain experience and move on. When inquiring about future plans, the question is typically phrased as, "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" Some hiring managers get even more specific by asking, "What role do you think you will have in the evolution of our public relations strategy in regards to garnering more media attention?" Employers tend to lean toward ambitious people who demonstrate the desire to develop their skills over many years with the company.