Public Relations Interview Essay Samples

It’s an exciting time to be in public relations with businesses and organizations becoming hyper-aware of how both offline and online reputation can impact the bottom line. With the potential for every customer interaction to be broadcast online, companies are looking for PR professionals who have experience with risk assessment and online reputation management.

Social media has made the traditional news cycle a thing of the past. A savvy PR professional will know how to use social data to be a pre-crisis prevention specialist and also have the skills to handle a crisis both online and off. Candidates should be able to highlight their experience with tracking and listening to the communications of both internal and external audiences, measuring outcomes, and building relationships that lead to bottom line value.

Sample of Possible Interview Questions for Public Relations Professionals:

What is your opinion of the PRSA’s new (2012) definition of public relations?

Have you ever prevented a crisis?

Discuss the following: If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t count.

What steps would you take following the realization that your company has a social media crisis?

How do you get ahead of the news cycle in the digital era?

What communication protocols do you use to assess risk on a regular basis?

The press release is dead. Agree or disagree?  Why?

Talk about a time you identified a preventable risk.

How would you go about spearheading a social media effort within an organization to help with team building?

Discuss the benefits of and differences between using traditional vs. non-traditional media for messaging?

Discuss your experience with working with demanding reporters.

Have you ever guided executive decisions during a communications crisis?

Have you ever conducted a reputational audit for a company? What did it involve?

What things do you consider when creating a PR plan to avoid creating a #PRFail moment?

How do you ensure that your social media goals align with the higher level business objectives of the company?

What is the role and responsibility of the PR person at the pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis phases?

What is your definition of social capital? How can it help a business?

How do you use social data to gauge the level of satisfaction of your target audiences?

Discuss a time you used social data to help create messaging and brand strategy.

How do you know when to sound the alarm of a major communications crisis vs. less severe issue?

Filed Under: interview strategies

This Public Relations Manager interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

Public Relations Manager Interview Questions

Keep in mind that the role of Public Relations Manager differs from company to company. You’ll want to tailor your questions based on whether you’re hiring a PR Manager for an in-house team or for an agency. Your team may have specific needs as well. For example, you may want to hire an industry veteran who has built strong relationships with the media through the years. Or, you may want to hire an ambitious career changer with relevant experience who has a fresh perspective and can develop both your team and key relationships on the job.

This role requires creativity, resourcefulness, and strong communication skills. In addition to the interview, take a close look at your candidates’ portfolios. To evaluate written communication skills, request a writing sample. To evaluate verbal communication skills, have them talk you through the process of creating a recent PR campaign.

The goal is to start purposeful, open-ended conversations with candidates that help you to understand how much practical experience they have in this profession. Your most promising candidates will have done their homework on your company. They’ll be sure to mention campaigns, media outlets, and affiliate networks that are aligned with your brand and strategy. They’ll ask prepared and spontaneous questions about your work, and may even offer suggestions for improvement.

Role-specific questions

  • Which PR firms do you admire and why?
  • Which media outlets do you follow?
  • Talk about the difference between PR and advertising.
  • How do you choose angles for a story pitch?
  • What media placements are you most proud of?
  • Describe some affiliate networks you’ve collaborated with and why you chose them.
  • How do you integrate social media with PR?
  • How does PR support content marketing?
  • How would you present the results of your work?
  • What would you consider to be your most creative or effective campaign?
  • What would you do if a client or manager disagreed with your PR strategy?
  • How would you define thought leadership?
  • Describe a time you had to manage negative media attention.
  • Describe a time your PR communications were misunderstood by your target audience. How did you handle it?
  • How have you worked with a team to handle a PR crisis?
  • Who are the current members of your team? What are their respective roles?
  • Describe a time you trained or mentored a colleague.
  • What do you know about our products/firm? Why do you want to work here?
  • What’s interesting about our current PR work? What would you improve?
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