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5 Public Relations Account Manager Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

What initially sparked your interest in marketing and public relations?

A:

The applicant's answer should furnish insight into their inspirations and motivations. It should also reveal a direct connection to their chosen educational path, their decision to specialize in marketing and public relations and their desire to pursue a career in this area. They should provide an answer that reflects a genuine interest and relevant experience. What to look for in an answer:

  • Some personal insight
  • General career motivations
  • Desire to specialize in this area

Example:

"I obtained a degree in journalism because I've always been drawn to communications. When I realized that fashioning public opinion held more interest for me than assembling basic facts, I pursued a career in public relations and never looked back. I began by managing social media and worked my way up to handling large accounts for individual and corporate clients."

Q:

Explain the duties and responsibilities of a public relations account manager.

A:

The applicant should be able to effectively enumerate the requirements of the position, demonstrate familiarity with all the job functions and exhibit knowledge of how to perform them. These include establishing and contributing to client social media accounts, working in a team environment on content marketing campaigns, tracking digital metrics and analytics, implementing PR communications plans and consulting with clients while supervising and training subordinates. What to look for in an answer:

  • Thorough knowledge of the job functions
  • Capacity to optimize and manage social media
  • Ability to create content marketing campaigns

Example:

"I expect to utilize social media effectively and train my team to do the same. I'm accustomed to creating viable content as part of strategic campaigns and distributing it across multiple channels to capitalize on interest and develop audience engagement for my clients. In prior positions such as this one, I've also designed and implemented PR communications plans for various firms and tracked the results of these campaigns."

Q:

Beyond focusing on the big picture, what do you think an account manager should accomplish on a daily basis?

A:

The applicant's answer should reveal familiarity with the day-to-day responsibilities of a public relations account manager. Customer relations must be dealt with on a routine basis and contact maintained with key business executives and stakeholders. Problems constantly arise and must be resolved. The position entails identifying opportunities to promote current clients and attract new ones. It requires someone who possesses extremely well-developed communication, presentation and negotiation skills. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience with customer relations
  • Effective implementation of business strategies
  • Professional communication and presentation skills

Example:

"Good relationships with clients, stakeholders and other business entities must be constantly cultivated. Problems need to be addressed as soon as they arise. Opportunities should be identified before they slip away. All of these responsibilities exist on more or less a daily basis, and they all require strategic thinking, effective communication and solid organizational skills."

Q:

Explain what the differences are between advertising and public relations.

A:

This question ensures that the applicant has experience with both types of marketing. Their answer should demonstrate an ability to recognize and develop either. They should be conversant with the comparative differences: costs, audience and presentation. What to look for in an answer:

  • Awareness of differences between ads and PR
  • Ability to predict and hone the target audience
  • Knowledge of the budgetary considerations involved

Example:

"The client must pay for targeted advertising, but an effective public relations campaign obtains free exposure. A properly designed ad gives the client control over its contents in addition to when and where it will be published. Once a press release reaches media outlets, the agency loses control over its distribution. We can determine the frequency, duration and audience for a targeted ad run, but the awareness generated by an effective PR campaign can produce massive customer awareness at a fraction of the expenditure."

Q:

What are your long-term goals in publicity and how do your short-term goals help achieve them?

A:

The applicant's answer should show a commitment to the field and long-range planning to delineate a viable career path. Immediate, short-term goals should be practically connected to long-range ambitions. The applicant's goals and ambitions should be aligned with those of your company. What to look for in an answer:

  • Genuinely motivated ambition
  • Logically oriented career plans and strategies
  • Specific career goals that coincide with your own interests

Example:

"An interest in public relations materialized as I was completing my journalism degree, so I concentrated on that subject and specialized in the field. Since then, I've pursued every opportunity to hone my craft and gain more experience. I continually improve my skills and seek new professional challenges. Eventually, I want to open my own public relations firm, but in the meantime, I want to work with the best."

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