Wakefield Research, a market research company in Arlington and New York, is looking for a director to oversee its survey and polling service — gauging public sentiment for customers, usually businesses. Recent polls have covered topics such as the percent of Americans experiencing joint stiffness, and the declining number of travelers booking hotels or travel based on loyalty to one company (today’s travelers care more about the deal, Wakefield found).

Nathan Richter, a partner at Wakefield Research to whom the director will report, talked with Capital Business about the position.

What are the director’s daily responsibilities, and what might a day look like?

[The director] leads the day-to-day management of client projects, and the project team. We have a lot of creative, energetic people from a variety of backgrounds. You really have to be a skillful manager of people as well as their projects.

One of the great things about this position is no two days are the same, and there’s a ton of variety on the subject matter or the tasks they’re performing. It might start with an all-staff meeting, where we discuss as a group what people’s needs are for the day. Then they might join some calls with clients to learn about new projects. They might work with some of their team members, either responding to client editors or developing some interesting and newsworthy ideas for a new projects.

What’s the most exciting part of the job?

One of the unique things is really the sheer variety of subject matter and clients you’re working with. Most people who work in [public relations], and senior professionals in PR, are working in the same industry category, the same brand for enormous amounts of time ... We’re working across every industry vertical ... financial services, technology and anything you can buy in a Target or a Wal-Mart.

What’s the most important quality you’re looking for in a candidate?

[They should] understand the importance of being responsive to clients, [and be] a problem solver. All of what we do can be distilled to solving problems, those problems clients bring to us.

They’re really doing a little bit of everything — it requires writing management, knowledge of the media and knowledge of research.

Really no one comes in here on day one knowing exactly how to do this job. You have to be someone who is familiar with media communications and brands and businesses and market research, so what we look for are people who have a lot of those qualities. Nobody comes in with all of them.