Interview Tips

If you love to share, engage, write, promote, or be creative, then a job in communications could be just what you’re looking for. Alternatively, you may already be doing comms, but want a promotion. Either way, the next several years will be offering rich pickings, because communication jobs of all stripes are on the rise: PR, internal comms, social media management, community relations, and marketing are all part of a growing industry.

Whether you’re just starting out, an experienced candidate or a recruiter for such jobs―or you’re a recruiter in another industry, but would prefer to move into comms―the church of communications is a broad and expanding one.

Alas, along with such jobs comes the prospect of dreaded interviews. But while there are plenty of articles available that help you address your job interview fears, you may find it harder to get a helpful checklist of the top questions you need to prepare answers for, to help you win your next role.

Perhaps you’re a newbie and want to know what to expect a company will ask you for such a job? An experienced candidate who just needs a checklist of questions to prepare from? Or a recruiter for non-comms that wants to move into recruiting comms in the future? Then look no further.

Based on over 20 years of working in every type of communications role imaginable and across most industries, here’s a comprehensive, mega checklist of over 60 questions. They’re written in such a way that, irrespective of whether you’re a candidate or a recruiter, these are the questions in communications that matter most.

Most importantly, you will find the questions work just as well whether you’re applying for a job in social media, marketing, PR or any other type of comms. In fact, you may find they’re helpful to consider for a lot of other outside jobs outside of this profession.

To avoid making every question overlong, the type of comms has been left blank. That way you can simply “fill in” the blank for the type you want.

  1. Please give me your definition of ____.
  2. To help us build the best company reputation, what do you think matters most in ____?
  3. What motivated you to get into ____?
  4. Tell us briefly about your career to date in ____.
  5. Could you tell me about your current role and the range of ____ activities that you do?
  6. Do you think anyone can do ____?
  7. What are your greatest achievements in ____?
  8. Why do you think it matters whether or not a company does ____?
  9. Can you imagine a situation in a company where it would be best not to do any ____?
  10. When it comes to performance appraisals, what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you think are important for this ____ job?
  11. What do you think it takes to be a really good ____ person?
  12. What excites you about ____?
  13. Assume you do well in this job. Where do you see yourself in ____ in five years’ time?
  14. What parts of ____ don’t you like doing?
  15. Tell me about skills or areas you want to improve upon in your ____ work?
  16. What makes for good writing when doing ____?
  17. What would you say makes you stand out from all the other candidates for ____?
  18. What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important to do ____?
  19. If we gave you this job, what would you prioritise doing in ____ in the first weeks and months ahead?
  20. Why do you think a company should do ____?
  21. Can you give me some examples of what you think is bad about our profile and how ____ could help to improve it?
  22. What do you think should be included in an activity report to management for ____? What do you think they would consider the most important?
  23. Say you had to write a weekly report to your manager about what you did in ____. What would you consider vital to include?
  24. What sort of challenges do you look forward to in ____, and why?
  25. Can you give an example or two of dealing with those challenges successfully?
  26. How do you see ____ working best with other departments in a business?
  27. How do you help protect our reputation and minimise risk to it by doing ____?
  28. What makes a good ____ person?
  29. Can you give some examples of what you’ve done in ____ that helped to protect or even grow your last employer’s reputation?
  30. Can you give me an example of ____ work that you did that you weren’t happy with – and why?
  31. What most attracts you to this ____ position?
  32. You’ve read the job spec for this ____ position. Let’s say there was one thing you’d like to add or delete from the responsibilities. What would it be – and why?
  33. Tell us about a ____ project you did that you would do different now, if you had a chance?
  34. How would you explain “integrated communications” – what does it mean to you?
  35. How do you think ____ can help, when a company is facing a crisis?
  36. Do you think every business should have a ____ policy or set of guidelines?
  37. If we asked you to write ____ guidelines for all of employees, what would you include in them?
  38. If we looked at all of your social media accounts and everything you’d published publicly, would we find anything that would be embarrassing to you or to our company in the future?
  39. What do you look for in a ____ job?
  40. What do you think are the elements that go into making a really good ____ campaign?
  41. Do you think employees outside of the ____ department should be allowed or encouraged to contribute content for ____?
  42. If yes, can you give some examples of how?
  43. Could you prepare a budget for a ____?
  44. What elements go into planning a budget for a ____ campaign?
  45. How do you cope with stress and pressure in ____?
  46. Tell us how you use ____ in your own life, if at all?
  47. Do you believe in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in ____?
  48. Have you used any monitoring tools or applications for doing ____? (If yes, give us your recommendations for them.)
  49. If you do, what do you think should be offered in CPD?
  50. We believe good writing skills are essential for any job in ____. Do you agree or not? Can you explain to us why?
  51. What companies do you admire most in our industry for their ____ work? Can you give us a few examples to explain why?
  52. What do you think the secret of success is when doing ____?
  53. What other companies do you admire for the ____ work that they do?
  54. How do you measure success in a ____ campaign?
  55. Do you think ____ can help us grow our sales? If so, can you give us examples of how?
  56. How do you see your job in ____ evolving over time?
  57. What ____ skills of yours do you feel are most underused right now and that you’d like to do more of in this job?
  58. Tell us about any vocational training you’ve had to improve your skills in ____.
  59. How much do you think ____ is about psychology or empathy? Explain why.
  60. Can you see yourself being a leader of ____?
  61. What do you think it takes to make being a great leader of ____?
  62. Imagine you were told by a senior member of management in our company to do something in ____ that you felt would be harmful to our reputation. What would you say to that manager to convince them not to do it?

Are there are questions you think should be added to make this the perfect checklist for a comms job? We’d love for you to share your thoughts in the Comments below. Thanks!

Author: Robert White of PR Matters.

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