Managing the public relations of a growing company can start to feel like a challenge as you begin to interact with more customers, clients, partners, investors, consumers, competitors and other parties, all of whom have their own unique interests and opinions. As the old saying goes “more money means more problems,” so it’s not surprising that successful start-ups are often met with PR hurdles along the way.
Hiring the right employees is one way you can reduce the hassle that comes with the inherent PR struggles of doing business in general. With that said, here are four hiring tips for creating a team that will handle PR the right way the first time around:
1. Hire a leader with a business management degree
Try to ensure that your highest-ranking employee has a business management or administration degree of some sort, as this will significantly reduce your chances of running into unnecessary PR snafus. Alternatively, if you’re wanting to study for a degree in business management, distance learning programs can allow you to do that at your own pace while you are still able to handle everyday company operation duties.
2. Ask key questions and pose hypothetical scenarios during interviews
Asking the right questions during the initial interview is one of the most important steps to take when you’re trying to determine whether someone will pose a risk of creating PR problems in the future. Try to come up with a few potential scenarios related to issues that could hurt or help your brand’s public image and then ask the candidate what they would do, or how they would respond to such a situation. Simple hypotheticals like this can tell you a lot about whether a prospective employee is prepared to react appropriately.
3. Pay attention to attitude and personality
While the actual content of an applicant’s answer can hold its own weight, sometimes it’s not whata person says that tells you what you need to know, it’s howthey say it. Watch body language, facial expressions, vocal tones, and other subtle features to gauge their personality and attitude. Do they seem to be an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist? Are they antsy, anxious, or nervous? Simple observations like these can tell you a lot about whether a person is ready to deal with a hot seat PR scenario. Generally, you’re looking for people who are “cool, calm, and collected.”
4. Look for people with PR-related experience
Although you’re probably only going to encounter a small percentage of applicants who have any PR industry experience, asking for this kind of experience in your job listing is still a worthwhile step to take.
Improve your current team’s understanding of PR
Sometimes, hiring new people isn’t the answer, as simply training your current staff can lead to profound improvements in company culture and other factors that influence PR outcomes. Try to introduce some training material or professional coaching to make your top employees more familiar with the topic of public relations.