How to Hire a Communications Officer

Does your growing business need a communications officer? A communications officer designs and implements communications strategies to achieve business goals.

Here are some tips to help you find great communications officer candidates and make the right hire for your business.

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Communications officers searching for jobs on Indeed*

47,385

job seekers that clicked communications officer jobs

4,241

resumes for job seekers with communications officer experience on Indeed

269

communications officer jobs that received clicks

What is the cost of hiring a communications officer?

  • Common salary in US: $46,322 hourly
  • Typical salaries range from $14,000$118,000 per year
  • Find more information on Indeed Salaries

Common

 
 
$14,000
$118,000

*Indeed data (US) – December 2020

As of December 2020, communications officer jobs in the US are less competitive compared to other job markets, with an average of ~180 job seekers per communications officer job.

Why hire a communications officer?

Select the right person for your communications officer position to ensure that your organization is always reflected in a positive light with the right content. Communications officers are typically responsible for:

  • Performing communication outreach by creating and disseminating content across social media and general media
  • Boosting visibility of the organization amongst all external stakeholders and lawmakers by creating and distributing suitable public relations (PR) material
  • Initiating and preserving relationships with media journalists, investors, customer audiences and bloggers to boost business activities

Deciding between a full-time vs freelance communications officer

Before writing a communications officer job description or interviewing candidates, it’s important to decide if you need a full-time or freelance, part-time or contract communications officer (and what your budget will allow).

Freelance or contract communications officers can help with one-off tasks or projects, like writing press releases or creating social media posts. However, in most cases, it may be more beneficial to hire a full-time communications officer who can create all aspects of your business’s external and internal communications and ensure it aligns with your goals and broader company strategy.

What are the different types of communications officers?

When hiring a communications officer, it’s important to understand the specific kind of communications officer you need for your business. Here are some of the most common types and levels of communications officers to help you find one that meets your needs:

  • Chief communications officer (CCO): Serves as the head of communications and public relations. Typically responsible for communications to internal employees, shareholders, media, the press and the public. 
  • Communications manager/director: Ensures a company’s internal and external messaging is consistent and aligns with business strategies. Typically reports to the CCO and may manage a team of PR or communications officers and specialists. 
  • Dispatcher or emergency communications officer (ECO): While most communications officers focus on building and improving a company’s reputation and brand awareness, some companies and local governments use “communications officer” and “dispatcher” interchangeably. People in this type of communications officer role handle routine and emergency radio, phone and 911 calls. 
  • Public relations (PR) officer: Typically specializes in external, public-facing communication, developing PR strategies and campaigns.

Where to find communications officers

To find the right communications officer for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Hire from within: Is there anyone on your current marketing team who’s ready to move to a communications officer role? Hiring internally is a great way to find someone who already knows your company’s brand and goals.
  • Ask for referrals: Reach out to your network (e.g., friends, industry connections, current employees) and ask if they know anyone who would be a great fit for your communications officer role.
  • Use social media: Find, engage and recruit communications officers candidates by incorporating a social media strategy into your recruiting process. This is also a great way to see how potential candidates communicate online.
  • Post your job online: Try posting your communications officer job on Indeed to find and attract quality communications officer candidates.

Skills to look for in a great communications officer

Since communications officers will have access to internal company information, it’s essential to review the qualifications and work experience required for the right communications officer for your business.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, Public Relations, Journalism or a related field
  • Relevant experience in business communications and its strategic development and implementation
  • Adequate knowledge of digital marketing, such as SEO and email marketing
  • Problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills

Writing a communications officer job description

A clear job description is essential to help you find suitable communications officer candidates. It should include a job summary, detailed job responsibilities and the requisite skills for the position.

When writing your communications officer job description, consider including some or all of the following keywords to improve the visibility of your job posting. These are the most popular search terms leading to clicks on communications officer jobs, according to Indeed data:

  • Communications
  • Public relations
  • Marketing
  • Government
  • Dispatcher
  • Police
  • Communications officer
  • 911 dispatcher
  • Logistics
  • Communication

Interviewing communications officer candidates

Review shortlisted candidates for your communications officer by understanding their skills and comparing their knowledge and skills.

  • MS Office and content management software (CMS)
  • Knowledge and experience in creating and distributing business content
  • Coordinating with external stakeholders to develop and preserve the organization’s brand to customers, external media and other stakeholders

Need help coming up with interview questions? See our list of communications officer interview questions for examples (with sample answers).

FAQs about how to hire a communications officer

When should I hire a communications officer?

While timing will be different for every business, consider hiring a communications officer after you’ve defined your brand, developed your brand strategy and would like to start promoting it to a wider audience (e.g., bloggers, investors, customers, journalists).

While communications officers can help you build a brand, they tend to specialize in communicating a brand, rather than creating one from scratch. If you’d like help developing a brand strategy, consider hiring a brand manager or a marketing director.

What’s an alternative to hiring a communications officer?

If you already have an in-house marketing team at your company, your current employees may be able to take on tasks and responsibilities that are typically reserved for communications officers. However, be careful not to stretch your current team too thin. If you find your current team doesn’t have the bandwidth to execute campaigns, it may be time to hire a communications officer.

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