You have gotten through the arduous application process with a strong resume and cover letter, but you still have a lot of work to do as you begin preparing for upcoming interviews. While your resume provided some solid background information to employers, they will now want to know more about your personality, work ethic and goals. Most employers will begin the interview with some basic questions on your general skills and experiences, and you will likely encounter questions on your long-term goals and ability to collaborate with others. However, they will also spend significant time asking you questions that are specific to the PR lobbyist position, and answering them well can help you potentially get the position.
We have compiled a number of specific PR lobbyist interview questions and appropriate answers to help you anticipate what might be discussed with a potential employer and help you possibly get the job you want.
5 Common PR Lobbyist Interview Questions & Answers
1. As a PR Lobbyist, you will be asked to negotiate with public and government officials often. Describe some skills that have helped you prepare for this.
As a volunteer on a campaign for a recent mayoral candidate, I had the opportunity to work both with the candidate and other government officials. During the campaign, many of us worked on calling other officials and discussing potential alliances or support. Additionally, we worked with the public in negotiating the client’s platform and the desires of the public. I was able to convince a number of individuals to support the candidate.
2. In this position, you will also be frequently dealing with the media. Explain a time when you were able to adequately respond to a request for information from the media.
As a volunteer on the same campaign, we often received calls and requests from the media, and we were expected to respond to these calls. One local television station that was critical of the candidate’s support for a new football stadium called, and I answered. At first the reporter was somewhat aggressive on the candidate’s stance and accused him of unjustly using taxpayer money to fund the project in his plan. However, in response, I clearly identified the discrepancies in the reporter’s claims and shared the details of the plan. I was able to diffuse the situation while staying true to the candidate’s goals.
3. Part of the position is anticipating both individual and public response. When have you been able to mitigate a problem because you anticipated a reaction?
Communication is one of the most important parts of accomplishing a goal, and understanding where someone is coming from is an important aspect of that communication. According to the rogerian structure of argument, individuals must feel heard to be persuaded, and I used this approach in my volunteer position. I was tasked with presenting the football stadium plan to a group of environmental activists who are strongly against the project. Instead of just describing the plan, I first anticipated their concerns and outlined their argument. I then worked on addressing those concerns. This prevented potential conflict and even persuaded some of the attendees.
4. PR Lobbyists need to be persistent and motivated. When have you used persistence to accomplish a goal?
Many individuals and groups are very stuck in their ways, so persistence is key in this profession. Additionally, as a political campaign volunteer I was tasked with calling potential supporters in order to gain additional votes. Initially, many people would be hostile and rude on the phone, but I would persistently maintain a calm and steady voice and work on asking them questions about what they wanted from a candidate. If I was able to keep an individual on the phone, she or he could often be convinced. I also did not give up after being hung up on and would frequently regularly redial unsuccessful numbers.
5. As a PR lobbyist, you will often be placed in high stress situations with potential conflict. How well do you handle both stress and conflict?
On the campaign trail, I certainly experienced my share on conflict and potential resulting stress. However, I quickly learned that the best way to get through it is by maintaining a clear and calm head. You need to understand where other people are coming from. If they feel heard, you can easily diffuse a situation. I also think that it is important to know when to take a deep breath and move forward or acknowledge that it is time to leave.