10 Advocacy and crisis management Interview Questions and Answers for community managers

flat art illustration of a community manager

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in advocacy and crisis management?

From an early age, I was always drawn to helping people and making a positive impact in my community. As I got older and began to learn more about the world around me, I became increasingly passionate about social justice issues and how they intersect with communication and public relations.

My interest in crisis management specifically was piqued during my time working for a nonprofit organization that provides disaster relief. I saw firsthand the impact that effective crisis management can have on people's lives, and knew that I wanted to be a part of that work.

Since then, I have sought out opportunities to hone my skills in advocacy and crisis management. In my previous role as a communications coordinator for a large healthcare organization, I was part of the team responsible for managing a major crisis involving a data breach. Thanks to our quick and strategic response, we were able to mitigate the damage and protect our patients' privacy. In fact, our crisis communication plan was recognized with an award from the International Association of Business Communicators.

  1. I truly believe that advocacy and crisis management is where I can make the most meaningful impact professionally and personally.
  2. I have a proven track record of successful crisis management and advocacy work, as demonstrated by my previous role.
  3. I am deeply committed to social justice issues and believe that effective communication and public relations are powerful tools for creating positive change.

2. How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments in advocacy and crisis management?

As an advocacy and crisis management professional, it's essential to stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments to provide the best possible solutions to clients. I have a system in place that helps me stay informed:

  1. Industry news sources: I make a conscious effort to read relevant news articles, blogs, and newsletters from respected sources like PRWeek, Ragan Communications, and the Public Relations Society of America. These sources keep me informed of the latest industry trends and insights.
  2. Social media: I follow industry thought leaders and organizations on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. I join relevant professional groups to have conversations and stay up to date with the latest best practices and thought processes.
  3. Attending events and webinars: I try to attend as many industry events and webinars as I can as they offer opportunities to learn from experts and peers alike. I ensure that I take detailed notes, and I draw out practical insights and best practice strategies from these events. These insights help me develop my skills and provide better service to clients.
  4. Client feedback: Lastly, I always seek feedback from my clients, ensuring their satisfaction and assessing their level of opinion on the end result of our work together. This feedback often gives me an idea of how well I am performing and where I might need to make adjustments.

By staying up-to-date and attentive to industry trends and developments, I can help my clients achieve their desired results efficiently and effectively.

3. Can you walk me through a time where you had to handle a crisis situation? How did you approach the situation and what was the outcome?

At my previous job, there was a situation where a customer's private information was accidentally leaked to the public. As the head of the crisis management team, I immediately got to work on addressing the situation.

  1. First, I gathered all relevant information and spoke with the customer to understand the extent of the issue and any potential damage caused.
  2. Next, I worked with our legal team to draft up a public statement acknowledging the mistake and outlining our steps to rectify the situation. We also offered free credit monitoring to the affected customers.
  3. I communicated daily updates to the customer, as well as to our employees and the public, to ensure transparency and accountability.
  4. To prevent future incidents, I reevaluated and implemented stricter security measures, including mandatory trainings for all employees on handling confidential information.

Through these actions, we were able to successfully contain the situation and minimize any further damage. The affected customer expressed their gratitude for our prompt and transparent response, and we did not see any major backlash from the public or media. In fact, our swift action and transparency led to an increase in customer trust and loyalty.

4. How do you prioritize and manage your workload when dealing with multiple advocacy and crisis management situations at once?

As an experienced advocacy and crisis management professional, I have developed a system for prioritizing and managing my workload when dealing with multiple situations simultaneously:

  1. Assess and prioritize: I first assess the urgency and severity of each situation and prioritize based on the level of impact it may have on the organization and its stakeholders.
  2. Delegate: I identify tasks that can be delegated to team members or external partners, freeing up time and resources for high-priority issues.
  3. Set clear goals and deadlines: I set clear goals and deadlines for each situation and communicate them to all stakeholders, ensuring everyone is aware of expectations and timelines.
  4. Utilize technology: I use technology tools such as project management software and automation tools to streamline processes and stay organized, freeing up more time to focus on critical issues.
  5. Monitor and adjust: I continuously monitor progress and adjust my approach as needed, ensuring each situation is on track and addressing any new developments or changes that may arise.

In my previous role as a crisis manager for a major tech company, there was a time when we were dealing with multiple high-profile crises at once. Despite the high pressure and demanding workload, I successfully managed to prioritize and manage each situation effectively, resulting in a 90% positive sentiment score among stakeholders and a 30% increase in customer retention.

5. What strategies do you use to build and maintain strong relationships with stakeholders and partners?

Building and maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders and partners is crucial for successful advocacy and crisis management. To achieve this, I use a multi-pronged approach that involves:

  1. Active Listening: I take the time to listen to stakeholders and partners and make them feel heard. This creates a sense of trust and open communication.
  2. Transparency and Communication: I prioritize transparency in my communication and ensure that stakeholders and partners are kept up-to-date on relevant issues. This helps create a sense of partnership and shared responsibility.
  3. Collaboration: I actively collaborate with stakeholders and partners, seeking their input and incorporating their ideas into my work. This fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the work that we are doing together.
  4. Evaluation and Feedback: I regularly evaluate the success of our partnerships and seek feedback from stakeholders and partners to identify areas for improvement. This demonstrates that their input is valued and helps us continuously improve our relationship.

These strategies have yielded positive results in the past. For example, while working on a crisis management campaign for a client, I was able to build strong relationships with local community leaders. This was evidenced by the fact that they reached out to me for advice on crisis management in the future, indicating a high level of trust in my expertise and willingness to maintain a relationship.

6. Can you share a time where you had to balance the interests of different stakeholders in a crisis situation? How did you navigate this challenge?

During my time at XYZ company, we experienced a product recall due to safety concerns. In this crisis situation, my team and I had to balance the interests of different stakeholders, including customers, investors, and the media.

  1. We first addressed the safety concerns by conducting a thorough investigation and implementing necessary changes to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. This reassured our customers that we were taking their safety seriously.
  2. We then communicated the issue with transparency and empathy to our investors, ensuring them that we were taking steps to rectify the situation and maintain their trust in our company.
  3. We also worked closely with the media to ensure accurate reporting and manage any potential negative impact on our brand's reputation.

As a result of our quick action and effective communication, we were able to mitigate any significant financial impact from the product recall and maintain our customers' trust in our brand.

7. How do you measure the success of your advocacy and crisis management efforts?

Measuring the success of my advocacy and crisis management efforts is essential to demonstrate the impact of my work, and ensure continuous improvement of my strategies.

  1. Impact of message: One way to measure the success of my advocacy efforts is by assessing the spread of the message. For example, during my time at XYZ non-profit, I crafted a social media campaign to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on coral reefs. My team and I tracked the number of likes, shares, and comments on the posts, as well as the increase in traffic to our website. As a result, we saw a 40% increase in website traffic, and the campaign reached over 100,000 people on social media.
  2. Response time: When it comes to crisis management, response time is a critical factor in mitigating the impact of the situation. For instance, when a vendor failed to deliver a product in time for a client event, I contacted other vendors and found a solution within four hours. The client was satisfied with the response and continued to work with our company, resulting in a 20% increase in business from that client over the next year.
  3. Resolution rate: In a crisis, resolving the issue quickly and effectively is crucial. During a supply chain crisis at ABC manufacturing, I worked with the supply chain team to identify the root cause of the issue and implemented a new process to prevent future delays. As a result, we were able to reduce the number of delayed shipments by 75% within three months.

In summary, measuring the success of advocacy and crisis management efforts involves assessing the spread of the message, response time, and resolution rate. By tracking these metrics, I can demonstrate the impact of my work and make data-driven decisions to improve my strategies in the future.

8. Can you provide an example of how you have used social media to effectively manage a crisis situation?

During my time as the social media manager for ABC Company, we faced a crisis when a customer's order was delivered with a defect. The customer took to social media to express their disappointment, and within minutes, the post had garnered hundreds of comments and shares.

  1. First, I monitored the comments and responded to each one with empathy and assurance that we were working to resolve the issue.
  2. Next, I created a crisis communication plan and drafted a public statement for our CEO to release addressing the issue.
  3. We also launched a social media campaign to offer refunds or exchanges to all customers who had received a defective product, which included a custom hashtag for customers to use when sharing their experiences.
  4. Additionally, I worked with our design team to create graphics explaining the defect and showcasing the steps we were taking to rectify the situation.
  5. As a result of these efforts, we saw a significant reduction in negative comments on social media and an increase in positive sentiment. Within a week of launching the campaign, we had processed over 500 refunds or exchanges and received numerous messages of gratitude from satisfied customers.

The experience taught me the importance of quick and effective crisis communication, transparency in addressing issues, and leveraging social media to turn a negative situation into a positive one.

9. Can you outline your experience with crisis communication plans? What was successful and what could have been improved?

During my time as a crisis communication specialist at XYZ Company, I developed and implemented several crisis communication plans. One of the plans was for a product recall crisis that affected a large number of customers. The plan consisted of a pre-written statement, media outreach strategy, and customer support plan.

  1. What was successful:
    • The pre-written statement allowed us to respond quickly and consistently to media inquiries, which helped to manage the narrative surrounding the product recall.
    • The media outreach strategy went beyond traditional media outlets to include social media influencers, which helped to reach a wider audience.
    • The customer support plan provided clear instructions to our customer service team on how to handle customer inquiries and complaints, which helped to reduce confusion and frustration among customers.
  2. What could have been improved:
    • In retrospect, we could have been more proactive in communicating with our customers before the product recall. This would have helped to mitigate the impact on our customers.
    • We also could have done more to monitor social media conversations and respond to any misinformation or negative sentiment more quickly.

Overall, the crisis communication plan was successful in managing the impact of the product recall on our customers and our brand. The plan was critical in maintaining trust and transparency with our customers and stakeholders.

10. How do you approach communicating difficult or controversial messages to stakeholders or the public?

When it comes to communicating difficult or controversial messages to stakeholders or the public, I believe in transparency and honesty. It's important to convey the information in a clear and concise manner, addressing any concerns or questions that may arise. Additionally, I strive to provide data or concrete results to support the message.

  1. First, I research and gather all available information related to the message or issue at hand. This includes potential concerns or objections from stakeholders or the public.
  2. Next, I develop a communications plan that outlines the key message, supporting data or results, and the target audience.
  3. Before communicating the message, I practice delivering it in a concise and clear manner. I anticipate potential objections or questions and prepare responses to address them.
  4. When delivering the message, I start by acknowledging any concerns or objections the stakeholders or public may have. I then provide the key message and supporting data or results. I end by summarizing the main points and inviting questions or feedback.
  5. After the message is delivered, I follow up with stakeholders or the public to address any remaining concerns or questions. I work with my team to assess the impact of the message and the effectiveness of the communication strategy.

For example, when I was working as the crisis communication manager for a healthcare organization, we faced a data breach that potentially exposed patients' personal information. I developed a communication plan that included clear and concise messaging, including the steps we were taking to protect our patients and strengthen our cybersecurity measures. I also provided concrete data on the number of patients potentially affected and the steps we were taking to prevent similar incidents in the future. As a result, the organization was able to maintain the trust of our patients and stakeholders during a challenging time.


Congratulations on learning more about advocacy and crisis management interview questions and answers in 2023! Now that you're prepared for your interview, it's time to polish your job application materials. Don't forget to write a compelling cover letter that highlights your skills and experience as a community manager. And remember to also prepare an impressive resume that showcases your achievements. If you're on the hunt for a new job, Remote Rocketship has a great job board for remote community manager positions. Start your search today and find your next remote adventure!

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