The role of a public information officer (PIO) within your organization must be highly considered within this new age of social media. As the demand for current information rapidly evolves so must you and your organization to these demands. The only way to keep ahead of this and ensure the image of your organization is protected and the correct, unabridged information you want disseminated is to appoint or hire a public information officer. This individual will become the face of your organization. What considerations need to be taken under advisement to successfully select a qualified candidate and establish this position? How do you do this? Let’s examine a few qualifications to help you get started.
The Candidate, The Person, The Face Of Your Organization
The biggest decision you have to make, other than deciding the actual need for the position, is who exactly will fill this position. PIO candidates must be evaluated on several factors in their persona.
Let’s first take a look at the most important factor: what is his or her moral aptitude? The face of your organization shouldn’t be someone who has been in trouble on and off the job. For example selecting a candidate who has a history of domestic abuse and internal disciplinary action would send the signal to the public that your organization somehow condones malfeasant behavior. A trusted and respected individual should be the one to disseminate the trusted and truthful messages of your organization.
Consider also, has the candidate been a good employee? Have they excelled in their work efforts? A well-rounded candidate with a clean work file and highly favorable annual reviews should go to the top of the list. A PIO is an initiative driven individual, guided by independent thinking. Generally those who exceed in their work as a firefighter, both in the station and on the scene, are the type of workers who would fit well into such a position. Given this distinction, look for someone who can handle the pressure of an emergency incident and think critically to solve the problem at hand.
What type of personality does the candidate have? The PIO should have a good smile, a clean and neat appearance, and be a kind-hearted, self-confident individual who can relate to any type of person. This is essential because of the need to work with a variety of people on a moment’s notice. Those personnel who are known as angry and job frustrated are not for this job. Having confidence helps to project surety on the topic being discussed and tends to settle the public when concern over their well-being is at hand. Selecting someone who is deficient in one or more of these areas would be pose a significant risk to the reputation of your organization. Remember the PIO is the face of your organization. This face needs to be clean and unblemished as much as possible. Part 2 will continue our discussion of how to select a public information officer with several more items to consider.
Photos courtesy of John Gallagher.
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How To Select A Public Information Officer