8 Tips for Finding the Right Campaign Manager

When you intend to bring in a great new campaign manager to lead you to victory at the polls, it’s important to leverage a strategic, data-driven approach. However, you’ll also need some good instincts, as there’s far more to finding the ideal campaign manager than simply analyzing some numbers on a page. 

As you begin your search, it’s important that you follow these eight tips:

Define Your Needs and Goals

It’s essential to clearly define your needs, goals, and expectations for the campaign as early as possible. Consider factors such as the size and scope of the movement, the resources available to you, and the specific skills and experience required for the role. 

You must also be mindful of the conditions that the new campaign manager will be stepping into. Take a step back to ask yourself whether they’ll be walking into a situation that requires them to build an entirely new campaign team from the ground up or if you’re plugging them into an established group that has worked together for years. 

Seek Someone With Relevant Experience

Look for candidates with relevant experience and expertise in political campaigns, advocacy, or related fields. Give special attention to those who have a proven track record of success in managing campaigns, winning elections, and driving meaningful results.

It’s also vital that you prioritize those who possess a diverse skill set and a deep understanding of fundamentals, such as voter outreach, messaging, fundraising, data analysis, and strategic planning. Additionally, consider candidates who have experience working with diverse communities, navigating complex political landscapes, and building coalitions.

Assess Their Leadership and Management Skills

Effective campaign management requires strong leadership and management skills. A great campaign manager will also be able to delegate tasks and set priorities in a frictionless way. Look for candidates who excel at building and managing teams, fostering collaboration, and creating a positive work environment. 

Alongside those skills is the need for high emotional intelligence. A person who possesses such a quality will be able to motivate and empower your team to achieve broad political goals. As such, you need to look for applicants who demonstrate a propensity for integrity, resilience, vision, and the ability to motivate others. 

Consider Intangibles 

After you’ve narrowed your field to a handful of high-quality candidates, focus on intangible traits like charisma and self-awareness. The most impactful campaign managers are poised and unflappable under pressure, able to receive and deliver constructive criticism, move past conflicts, and focus on the task at hand to achieve long-term political goals.

While many parts of the campaign manager evaluation process prioritize measurable qualities and past performances, it’s just as crucial to consider the “vibe” of applicants as well. In other words, you need to ask yourself if the two of you can maintain chemistry and alignment during months of campaigning. If the answer is “no,” they probably aren’t the right fit for your team. 

Conduct Thorough Interviews

During the screening process, be thorough so that you can assess candidates’ qualifications, experience, and fit for the role. Prepare a list of questions and topics to cover during the interview, focusing on areas such as campaign strategy, leadership style, and problem-solving abilities. Get other members of your team involved in the process, as well, especially those who will be working closely with the campaign manager. 

Encourage prospects to treat the process as a two-way interview. It should be an opportunity for them to get to know you and your expectations. However, if they seem uncomfortable having tough conversations early on, they probably won’t be able to step up when needed while on the campaign trail. 

Seek Recommendations and Check References

Always check a candidate’s references before bringing them on board. Speak to people who have worked closely with the person in the recent past and ask for insights regarding the candidate’s demeanor and abilities. 

If you have good relationships with those who have employed the candidate in the past, seek recommendations from those individuals, too. They can help you decide between competitive applicants during tight assessment processes. 

Evaluate Fit and Compatibility

In addition to assessing candidates’ qualifications and experience, you must also consider their cultural fit and compatibility with both your campaign team and organizational culture. Consider factors such as values, communication style, work ethic, and personality traits when assessing fit.

You also need to search for candidates who align with your campaign’s values, mission, and vision and who demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Consider conducting informal meetings or team interviews to gauge the applicant’s rapport with existing staff members and assess their compatibility with the team dynamic. 

There will inevitably be an adjustment period, but it’s important to minimize friction by getting your staff involved in the selection process. If they feel like they have a say in who you choose, the team will be more accepting of the new addition. 

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, you must trust your instincts and intuition when selecting a campaign manager. Pay attention to your gut feelings and impressions during the interview and evaluation process. 

Additionally, remember that your hiring decisions aren’t based solely on qualifications and experience but also on interpersonal dynamics and chemistry as well. When everything comes together, you’ll choose the person who not only inspires confidence that they can get the job done but actually succeeds in doing so, especially when the pressure is on. 

Empower Your Campaign Manager With Aristotle

Once you choose a new person to lead your campaign team, you need to put them in a position to thrive. That means equipping them with tools, support resources, and data from an industry leader like Aristotle. Our comprehensive database includes millions of consumer and voter files that can guide your campaign efforts. Schedule a demo with Aristotle today to learn more.


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