Public relations is one of the most critical departments in any organization. It shapes the reputation and public perception of a company and therefore calls for qualified employees. You must consequently prepare adequately for an interview in case you are eyeing a PR job.
In this article, we will look at a few interview questions for public relations officers. You will primarily be asked several behavioral and common questions to establish your skills and experience in this field which will warrant you the job.
However, even as you prepare for the interview, keep in mind that first impression matters. Therefore, take note of your grooming, posture, and mannerism when you walk into the interview room, as they can be deal-breakers.
Here are some of the commonly asked questions in public relations officer interviews.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
This is usually an opening question. Opening questions seek to get you talking and create foundations for follow-up questions. The interviewer may also ask such a question to separate the wheat from the chaff. The best approach here is to tell the interviewer what you can offer for the company.
I am passionate about helping my clients and companies of engagement maintain a good reputation and thrive in business. Your company deals in products that I use and believe in. Therefore, I am optimistic that my services and expertise will be better employed here. I would also like to be part of the team that maintains this company’s good name.
2. What Are The Roles of a Public Relations Officer?
This is an easy question that needs no explaining. Convince the interviewer that you know your mandates. You can use the provided job description or list some of your roles in your former workplaces. However, the best approach is to know the type of PR job you are interviewing for and listing relevant roles.
As a public relations officer, my job mainly entails maintaining the reputation of a brand or company via proactive marketing. I will also coordinate how the company reacts to crises and manage campaigns. Other roles include speaking at press conferences, attending promotional events, responding to public inquiries of a bigger scale, and drafting press releases.
3. What Are The Qualities That a Public Relations Officer Need To Be Effective?
Do you know the skills and attributes that you need to be an excellent public relations officer? The best approach to answering such a question is to be specific and mention role-related responses. The shorter your answer, the better.
A public relations officer should be able to prioritize and plan work effectively. He/ she should also be aware of the different media agendas and platforms. As for the right skills, one should have excellent communication, interpersonal, IT, and presentation skills. Other qualities are creativity and the ability to take the initiative.
4. What Is The Main Challenge That You Experienced In Your Former Job? How Did You Manage It?
This question seeks to understand if you are a problem solver. Can you think outside the box to arrive at solutions? Make sure that your answer captures both the challenge and the solution.
The biggest challenge I faced in my former job was one over-criticizing media outlet that attacked my company constantly. They would then request for an interview in the name of giving us a chance to clarify issues. I would respond with wry humor and state facts that refuted their claims. They soon realized that they were fighting a losing game, and the publications stopped.
5. Briefly Describe Your Daily Routine
The interviewer wants to know how your day at work looks like or what you expect in your new workstation. Think about a busy day at work and narrate it to the interviewer.
I can either work from home or report to work, depending on the scheduled activities. However, my day revolves around responding to queries and emails, checking my client’s social media interaction, engaging customers or clients, gathering data and drafting reports, and building professional networks. I also attend meetings, both physically and online; engage with the media, and update information.
6. Briefly Describe Your Experience
The interviewer wants an overview of some of the places you have worked in or the positions you have held. Since a good deal of this information can be found in your resume and CV, kindly desist from long answers.
This is my sixth year in public relations. I have managed to be in close to 1000 campaigns aimed at popularizing products. I have also worked with several social media platforms and even managed my client’s social media handles. I have experience working with both startups and established companies, as indicated in my CV and resume.
7. Mention The Strategies and Mindset Required For This Role
How do you approach this job, and which perspective do public relations officers need in their day-to-day operations? There is no specific answer. However, make sure that you explain how your choice relates to the job.
The best strategy that has seen me work effectively in this field is finding a balance between being objective and promoting the client. This ensures that I am ethical in my job and brings out a good image of my client. As for the right mindset, I have learned that being result-oriented is crucial, given that companies and clients want results, which is a good reputation.
8. Mention a Challenge That You Foresee In This Job
Ensure that you conduct your research and identify areas in the organization that may be problematic. However, make sure that you do not paint yourself as incompetent.
I love your company’s policies and work culture. The fact that I can work from home makes me happy. I cannot, therefore, raise a challenge at the moment. However, I believe that I have the right skills and experiences to tackle any that comes my way.
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In This Job?
Public relations may be stressful, especially in times of crisis. The interviewer, therefore, wants to know what pushes you to overcome such obstacles. The best approach to this question is to avoid mentioning any material benefits.
I am passionate about public relations. I love succeeding in my job by seeing the reputation of my customers intact and solving crises. My motivation, therefore, comes from deep within. My yearning for success motivates me to keep going and get better at this job.
10. Mention a Time That You Failed In This Role and The Lesson You Learnt
This question may test your accountability or ability to learn from your mistakes. However, make sure that you do not ruin your chances of landing the job through the choice of experience you choose to tell the interviewer.
At a company that I worked for, the human resource manager was accused of sexual misconduct with a junior employee. The company insisted that we keep it low and wait for the issue to pass, and I agreed even though I had a different view. However, it blew up and became bigger than we anticipated. We had to work quickly, but the manager ended up getting fired. However, had I insisted on my idea, the issue would have disappeared within no time since the manager could have taken full responsibility and apologized. This experience taught me to have an open mind when dealing with crises and not bow to pressure, especially if I have reservations about an idea.
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11. Why Do You Love Public Relations?
This is a common question in public relation jobs interviews. The interviewer wants to know whether and why you are enthusiastic about this field. The best approach is to provide an honest answer that reveals your passion for this field. You can also connect your passion to the missions of the company.
Public relation allows me to promote the products, mission, and services of companies I hold in high regard. I am a good writer and a creative thinker. Nothing brings me so much joy than using my writing and creativity to drive positive publicity for companies I love. This field, therefore, allows me to express myself while promoting things I love and believe in.
12. What Is Your Preferred Work Environment?
This question seeks to ascertain whether you will fit in the organization. Make sure that you research the organization before appearing for the interview. The best approach would be to describe the organization’s work environment. However, you can also be honest, but do not throw your chances out of the window.
I love a fast-paced environment. I love being on my toes and handling new challenges. I am a good problem solver, and therefore such a stimulating environment makes me happy. I also prefer an environment that appreciates teamwork and pushes employees to get better at what I do. Being at ease with other employees allows me to express myself well and fosters good relationships in the workplace.
13. Part of Your Work Will Involves Responding To The Media and Different Public Inquiries. Which Are Some of The Questions That You May Find Hard To Answer
This is an operational question that seeks to understand how you deal with some aspects of your job. As a public relations officer, you should expect to be in the limelight, especially when your company is taking heat. While answering this question, make sure that you are strategic. Do not mention normal questions that public relations officers have to answer in their job.
My experience and expertise allow me to handle different questions that I face in my line of work. However, I’m not too fond of questions that only focus on the negative things or over criticize the organization. I have learned that the best way of answering such is to use wry humor and hard facts as an accompaniment.
14. Have You Used Social Media To Help Clients? How Do You Find It?
The interviewer seeks to find out your experience in digital public relations. You need to be honest and offer an example that will paint you as an experienced candidate. Make sure that your answer is satisfactory and paints you in good light.
Yes. I believe that social media is one of the best ways of helping startups or new companies increase their reach. I have particularly used Facebook and Twitter to increase my client’s customer base. I was once contracted by a newly launched restaurant to boost their following and reach. I created a Facebook and Twitter account to post professional pictures of their offerings and sell the company to potential customers. We managed to clock 1000 followers for both accounts in less than two months.
15. Why Should We Give You This Job?
This is a common question in many interviews. The interviewer has given you a chance to sell yourself and tell the panel why you feel you are the best pick for this job. You can talk about several things, but most importantly, your qualities and skills are relevant to the job.
I am a good communicator and a creative writer who is passionate about public relations. My primary mission is to help clients have a positive media reception. I have worked with lots of organizations, where my work has always been noticed. I have the right experience for this job, which makes me a good option.
16. What Do You Understand By Public Relations and What Is Your Favorite?
There are different types of jobs in public relations. You can choose to be a social media campaigner/ manager or promote celebrities, among many other jobs. While answering this question, remember to talk about the social media jobs that you are experienced in and establish a connection with the interviewing company.
My understanding of public relations is maintaining a favorable public image of a company, celebrity, or organization. I am therefore experienced in several PR. However, I find the use of social media for public relations enjoyable due to engagement marketing. Social media also helps maintain a close connection with fans or potential customers.
17. How Do You Always Ensure That You Are Objective While Advocating For Your Clients?
This is an operational question that touches on ethics. Even though you are contracted to promote a client, you must ensure that your actions are ethical. Therefore, you should show the interviewer that you can create a balance between remaining objective and advocating for a client. You can also give an experience, if any.
Most of the time, I find myself in situations where I have a different view of things. Whereas my job requires me to have my client’s interest at heart, I always ensure that I do not act outside the needed professional ethics. I have learned how to convince clients not to violate ethical requirements in public relations.
18. What Are Some Of The Public Relations Crises That You Handled In Your Last Role?
The interviewer wants to know your experience with public relations crises and what you would do when faced with the same once more. Therefore, make sure that you give an experience that sheds you in good light. People want results. Thus, convince the interviewer that you are a performer.
I have not dealt with lots of PR crises in my career. However, I clearly remember when the Chief Executive Officer of a company I was working for was accused of harassing an employee after a night of drinking out. The rest of the board wanted to wait until it became a big story before reacting. However, I decided to talk with the CEO, encouraged him to admit and take responsibility. We also agreed that he would apologize to the employee and the entire company and work on monetary compensation if the victim demanded it. The issue never blew up, and within a few days, everybody was over it.
19. What Are Some of The Media Outlets That You Follow and Why?
The interviewer wants to know where your interest is regarding the media. The best way to approach such a question is to offer an answer that aligns with the media the interviewing company loves to use for public relations.
I usually follow local TV stations and newspapers, famous talk radios shows, and different business networks. I also love social media and therefore follow several personalities and bloggers who use and market my compan products.
20. Tell Us About Your Background In Writing
Writing is a crucial skill for public relations officers. This is a qualifying question that seeks to uncover whether you have the necessary requisites for this role. Relate this necessary skill to the job.
I am a passionate writer, having been a poet and a creative writer from a tender age. I know how to incorporate emotions and move my audience in my pieces. I also spend a lot of time recording things happening around me. I have taken part in lots of essay writing competitions and won a handful.
We have covered some of the questions that you should expect in a public relations officer interview. Make sure that you answer them confidently and convince the interviewer that you are the best pick out of all the candidates. Also, do your research and anticipate other possible questions.