7 Characteristics to Look for in Your Church’s Communications Director 

7 Characteristics to Look for in Your Church’s Communications Director 

July 29, 2015 by

One of the trends in fast-growing churches is the hiring of a communications director. This role can take many forms and have many different titles, but the primary responsibility of this role is to build, manage and execute the communications and messaging strategy of the church, both online and offline. Here are seven characteristics your church needs in a communications director and some potential interview questions for your candidates:

1. Digital Native

This is a term I learned from HubSpot’s CMO, Mike Volpe. He describes digital natives as people who’ve grown up with the Internet at their fingertips. Digital is their first language. You can often tell if someone is a digital native by simply looking at his or her email address. Is it Gmail or AOL?

Interview Question: What’s your earliest memory of interacting with the Internet?

2. Problem Solver

Communication strategists solve puzzles on a daily basis. Furthermore, the puzzles they solve are often intangible and must communicate emotion. Effective communications directors are insatiably curious and get energized by solving problems.

Interview Question: Tell me about a puzzle you had to solve. What was the problem and how did you solve it?

3. Curator

Communications directors do not dictate conversation; they curate it through content that sparks conversation. They understand the topics important to their audience and facilitate an environment that brings their audience together. Instead of solely providing answers, they ask questions and allow their audience to share answers.

Interview Question: Tell me a time you had to write on a topic you knew nothing about. How did you go about creating the content?

4. Collaborator

It is vital your communications director play nice with others. They must have proven experience in building trust among a team. Communications directors are often moving from project to project, working with different team members along the way. A communications director must be someone who can work well with many different personality types. For example, they might receive instruction from the senior pastor about an announcement that needs to be made to the church community and then work with the executive pastor to coordinate the specifics of timing and execution.

Interview Question: Tell me about a time you experienced interpersonal conflict with another team member. What was your response to the conflict?

5. Connector

The communications director must be a natural connector. They should be focused on increasing engagement among current church attendees as well as boosting reach among the greater community to bring in new visitors. Effective communications directors have proven experience in building an online audience and connecting people into communities.

Interview Question: How have you built your own social media following?

6. Pivotor

Confession: I made this word up, but I think it gets to the heart of one of the key characteristics of a successful communications director: agility. Communicators must be able to move and pivot to adapt to the needs of their audience. Additionally, they must have a mature emotional intelligence to be able to anticipate the needs of their audience and provide workable solutions.

Interview Question: Tell me about a time you had to change something at the last minute. How did you execute the change?

7. Data Analysts

Communications directors understand that digital behavior can inform effective strategy. They study the behavior of visitors on the church’s website, frequently asked questions of volunteers and staff, and the demographics of the church community. They use this data to inform the way they engage the church and persuade them to take action.

Interview Question: What data would you want to know about our church within your first 90 days in this role?

These are just a few examples of key characteristics to look for in your church’s potential communications director.

Bonus Tip: Most importantly, make sure your communications director matches the culture of your staff since culture will trump competency every time.

Post By:

Holly Tate

Holly Tate is the vice president of business development at Vanderbloemen, an executive search firm that helps churches and faith-based organizations find their key staff. Connect with Holly on Twitter.
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6 Responses to “7 Characteristics to Look for in Your Church’s Communications Director ”

  • Dennis
    July 30, 2015

    Great content Holly!


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  • Eric Dye
    July 31, 2015

    Very helpful—thank you!

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  • Andrea Gerhard
    August 4, 2015

    Great read, and affirming. This is also inspiring thought on some of the questions we use in some of our other hiring situations – great timing as we go through a review of that this week. The words we use and the way we use them are so important, especially when we are seeking the right fit.

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  • Sue Edison-Swift
    September 16, 2015

    I hope you did not intend your first point, “digital natives,” defined as someone “who grow up with the Internet at their fingertips,” to be code for “hire young.” The congregation’s communication director needs to be digitally fluent, who neither chases or runs away from new media, and who keeps the goal–effective communication with members–the #1 priority. This is not age specific.

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