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Why this matters:

To understand what goes into executing successful public relations campaigns, it’s important to know what constitutes success in the PR industry. PR professionals should know how to measure the effectiveness of a PR campaign and use that knowledge to inform future campaigns. Metrics for measuring success might include social media shares, audience engagement, and an increase in sales directly related to the campaign.

What to listen for:

  • Best practices and processes for measuring the success of a PR strategy
  • Demonstrated experience conducting successful PR campaigns
  • Knowledge of tools and software that accurately measure KPI for PR campaigns

Why this matters:

Public relations professionals use various strategies to garner positive attention for clients, including booking public appearances, getting a publication to feature clients, facilitating social media campaigns, and more. Candidates should be well-versed in a handful of these techniques and should be able to explain them in detail.

What to listen for:

  • Comprehensive list of PR strategies they’ve used
  • Demonstrated ability to explain best techniques in detail, as well as measurable results 
  • Willingness to learn additional PR methods that help maintain positive publicity for clients

Why this matters:

Networking is a huge component of working in the PR industry. PR professionals should demonstrate outstanding interpersonal skills that allow them to build and maintain positive relationships and build trust with clients, other PR professionals, news outlets, and more. This question will give you insight into how well the candidate is able to foster and leverage professional relationships.

What to listen for:

  • Proven experience in establishing rapport with clients and media professionals
  • Clarity about methods that effectively foster positive relationships with clients
  • Understanding of discretion related to PR/respect for clients and peers

 

Why this matters:

Public relations professionals will be tasked with diffusing situations for their clients many times throughout their careers. No matter how big or small the crisis is, people on the PR team are responsible for crafting and delivering the appropriate message at the right time and place to improve a client’s overall public image.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to stay calm in stressful situations while developing immediate action steps
  • Skilled assessment of PR conflicts and potential solutions
  • Experience planning and executing high-priority recovery campaigns

Why this matters:

With successful PR campaigns, public relations professionals have the potential to transform clients’ businesses. This question gives candidates the opportunity to reflect on a successful campaign they’ve carried out, which helps you determine their skill set, experience, and other important capabilities that can contribute to a role.

What to listen for:

  • Proven experience in previous campaigns that yielded successful results
  • Detailed explanation about a specific campaign and its logistics
  • Organized strategy for creating, monitoring, and executing the campaign

Why this matters:

Public relations professionals will work with a diverse range of people and personalities during their time in the industry. Not all clients are the same, and under certain circumstances, there may be a clash of opinions. The candidate’s answer to this question will show you how they navigate relationships and approach conflict resolution.

What to listen for:

  • Explanation of useful and effective conflict resolution techniques
  • Proven experience working with different personalities across the industry
  • Collaborative nature that allows the candidate to facilitate necessary conversations

Why this matters:

Public relations professionals must exhibit exceptional media literacy and possess a deep understanding of the role they play in the industry. To keep up with trends and relevant information, people working in PR should have a list of media outlets they regularly follow and interact with. Depending on their core values as a public relations professional, their reasons for following certain sources may vary.

What to listen for:

  • List of diverse media outlets that contribute to the candidate’s knowledge of PR
  • Understanding of the media landscape, and the value of media literacy
  • Strong and clear rationale for following vital media outlets

Why this matters:

Public relations is all about interacting with a number of different people and organizations to create and promote campaigns. When someone is approached with a new PR campaign, one of the first things they need to do is identify the right sources to execute a deal. A candidate’s response to this question will reveal their specific promotion strategy and experience with completing campaigns.

What to listen for:

  • Research skills that allow the candidate to accurately collect reliable sources of information
  • Ability to engage and network with various types of people and organizations
  • A clear step-by-step explanation of how to gather relevant sources and contacts

Why this matters:

Public relations is similar to industries like advertising and marketing, but there are some differentiators that set it apart. When public relations professionals interact with clients who are unfamiliar with public relations, it is the candidate’s responsibility to present it to them in a digestible manner. This question helps reveal the candidate’s knowledge of the industry, as well as their overall perception of it.

What to listen for:

  • A clear and concise definition of the public relations industry
  • Strong understanding of public relations and why the industry is important
  • Explanation of how public relations differs from other fields similar to advertising or marketing
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