It took a lot of hard work to get to the interview phase of the application process. Your resume was strong and your cover letter made you stand out from the rest of the pack, but in the public relations world, the interview is where you show the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job.
The first interview gives you a chance to expand on the information in your resume and cover letter, while proving your communication skills and ability to handle yourself under pressure. You are sure to be asked a few of the standard questions: why do you want the job, why do you want to work for the company and what are your strengths and weaknesses. However, it is how you answer the specific public relations interview questions that shows the hiring manager that you are the perfect fit for the position. This list details several common public relations specialist interview questions and answers to help you ace your face-to-face.
6 Public Relations Specialist Interview Questions & Answers
How do you handle representing your clients at industry events?
When I am representing my clients at an industry event, I am the face of the business. I try to be the embodiment of the company’s value and brand image, so I make sure that this is reflected in the way I dress, the way I carry myself and the way I interact with fellow attendees. As a public relations specialist, I find it important to let my personality shine, but I never forget why I’m there: to represent the client.
How do you find relevant sources and contacts?
The key is to understand the market and the key players. Research is one of my strong points, and I make sure to identify any and all relevant media outlets through extensive searches on the internet, social media, trending platforms like Quora and Reddit, and existing contacts. When searching for contacts, I try to approach both the major traditional players such as large news publications as well as leveraging emerging influencers such as bloggers and vloggers.
How would you deal with a PR crisis?
The world loves gossip, so any mistake will be capitalized on by the media and turned into a PR nightmare. The most important thing is to be honest and accept responsibility when necessary, but focus on what the client is doing to correct the situation. The key is to get out in front of the story by addressing the accusations as soon as possible. If there was an error committed, it is important to communicate that steps are being implemented to correct it or prevent similar mistakes in the future.
What skills do you bring to the table to help communicate a client's message?
Communication itself is probably one of my strongest skills. My written and verbal communication abilities allow me to present the client’s message in a way the target audience will be receptive to. I communicate in a manner that is appropriate to the individual client’s message while at the same time appealing to the target market. My creativity and flexibility mean that I can adapt a client’s message to a variety of distribution platforms, both digital and traditional.
Give an example of a successful PR campaign you designed.
I was working for a craft brewing company that was struggling to make a dent in the market. There were new breweries popping up every day, and the market was already saturated by the well-known favorites. I came up with the idea to have a “Name That Beer” contest, leveraging our social media following. The winner got to have his or her name featured alongside the wining label. For instance, the beer would be packaged as “Tracy’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink Pale Ale.” We had over 10,000 submissions, and sales went up 17 percent during the contest and nine percent for that quarter.
Which of our recent campaigns do you find most interesting?
I loved the campaign you did for Costa Rica, “Costa Rican Animals for Overworked Americans.” The concept was such a clever spin on all the save the animals campaigns out there, and it was a great way to get the attention of the US market. It was targeted, addressed a real problem in a humorous way and had the perfect amount of cuteness to make it an instant viral sensation.