PR Mock (Zoom) Interview Questions
Although you can never be 100% certain (unless you ask your potential employer ahead of time) of the interview questions your employer might ask you, I have found it very helpful to create and practice mock interviews before the real-deal. I find this not only helps calm me, but also helps to make me feel more prepared and comfortable which lends me to feeling more confident for when the time comes. Personally speaking, when I’m in an interview, I often feel as if every movement and syllable I make are slowly, but surely being dissected. I find this to be one of the most unpleasant feelings! To ensure a similar feeling of anxiety doesn’t happen to you, below I have shared some examples of questions I’ve been asked during my PR interviews. Some of these questions will be more obvious than others, but bear with me here! Surprisingly, sometimes it’s the obvious questions that trip people up the most (slowly raises hand here)!
1. What attracts you to the field of PR?
This seems like an obvious question that would be fairly easy to answer, right? Wrong. Every time I’ve been asked this question, I always begin with, “It’s always been a passion of mine because….” I’ve found it can be extremely difficult to answer why something is your passion aside from the obvious “because I like and enjoy it.” Whatever you do, don’t ramble on and on about why PR is your passion. Make sure to answer this question passionately, yet succinctly. My best advice is to list out possible answers as to why PR is your passion and why it’s important to you. Then I would recommend narrowing and combining your answers down until they can be read in three sentences.
2. Tell me what you think are some of the best tactics and suggestions for pitching to the media.
This is a hard question to answer if you haven’t ever had a job in PR before. If this is the case, think about what type of pitching strategies would be most successful and effective. Conversely, discuss pitching strategies that you think would be a complete miss. This showcases the fact that even if you are unaware of the “right” and/or specific pitching strategies that prove to be successful, that at least you are aware of tactics and strategies that won’t work. This is important as it signals to your potential employer that you won’t be making certain mistakes since you can generally identify “right” from “wrong” or successful versus unsuccessful pitching strategies.
3. Why do you want to work for X (Us) company specifically?
Research the company before you interview with them! I cannot stress this enough! This not only allows you to learn more about the company and its values, but it also will help you to feel more prepared and confident during your interview. Knowing general information about the company you’re interviewing with will help you feel more confident in answering employer’s questions when you have a basic understanding of what it is they do and the types of clients they service and represent. To sum up, you need to be prepared to explain what the company does and why you are excited about a potential job opportunity with them. Employers want to know that you understand who they are, their values and what they do. This shows them right off the bat what an incredibly valuable asset and addition to the company you would be.
4. What action strategies would you recommend implementing to get our clients more publicity?
Research, research and yes,... more research! Please research the types of clients X (your) company represents BEFOREHAND!! Be prepared to explain your work methods and tactics for getting their clients more publicity. A great example of this could be you discussing how you’ve won previous companies, new clients and/or highly publicized their current clients. If you haven’t worked with a PR firm before, explain tactics and methods that you think would win them new clients.
5. How do you establish and maintain trust with your clients?
I guarantee that if this question isn’t asked in your interview, that it will be asked several times throughout the lifespan of your PR career. Honesty is the single most important value of your job. It is the basis or the bottomline of your profession! Your client is putting their utmost trust and responsibility in your hands. In order for them to do this, they need to know that they can trust and confide in you. Be prepared to describe ways that you have or would build and maintain trust throughout your professional relationships.
6. What Social Media advice would you give your clients regarding their Social Media Presence?
As we continue living in the wake of Covid, social media continues to be one of the primary ways, if not the only way, that businesses are and are continuing to advertise, promote and market themselves and their clients. I guarantee you that you will be asked social media questions either related to your social media ethics and/or your general social media use and knowledge.
The topic of social media is complex. It can be both our greatest and our most negative asset. It’s too easy for social media posts to go wrong. Drafting a step-by-step plan detailing what your clients should do to mitigate social media problems such as negative press, shows your potential employer that you have the general knowledge or “know how” of how to put out a (social media) fire when one occurs.
7. How would you handle a PR Crisis?
Let’s face it. Like any other job, things can go wrong. However, in the field of PR, when things go wrong they go horrendously! Most PR professionals will face one if not several PR crisis situations throughout their careers. Let’s say you’re faced with one. What and how would you respond?
The easiest method of handling a social media crisis is to prevent it from happening in the first place! How do you go about doing this? What social media advice would you give to your clients?
If you haven’t already experienced a PR social media meltdown, be prepared to encounter several. If I’m being completely honest here, this should now be considered listed under the “primary duties” section of a PR’s job description. If you don’t have a proven history or record of how you’ve previously put out social media fires, your best bet is to describe solutions you would recommend or put into place in order to avoid an online crisis. If you really want to impress your future potential PR employer, create a detailed PR social media crisis emergency plan… I kid you not!! Providing your employer with a detailed PR crisis emergency response plan demonstrates that you have one of the most valued skills a PR professional can have- the ability to navigate and solve a crisis calmly.