At first glance, the line between marketing and public relation might seem a little blurry.
It generally does for small and mid-sized businesses who think PR is relevant to large enterprises and corporations only.
The good thing is that your clients have crossed that threshold.
It’s time for you to get over the “marketing and PR are the same” mindset and provide your clients with the expertise their business needs.
But, hiring an experienced and communication savvy PR isn’t an easy job. Hiring the right people is one of the biggest problems PR agencies face.
The PR role demands a resourceful and exuberant personality with excellent interpersonal skills.
So, we have come up with a list of expert-suggested public relations interview questions to help you find a PR specialist with the right mix of skills and values for your agency.
Moreover, you can take a look at our list of marketing interview questions to help you hire a formidable talent across your marketing team.
Let’s find you a PR now!
Interesting read: 9 Things You Need To Do To Avoid PR Crisis On Social Media
Common Public Relations Interview Questions to Evaluate Soft Skills
Communication is the keyword in PR life.
In their quest to determine and execute the best brand awareness and reputation management strategies, public relations professionals are required to communicate effectively.
So it becomes crucial that your hired candidate has exceptional communication and interpersonal skills.
How would you know they do? Well, a soft skills assessment interview round is the best way to find out.
Here’s the list of common PR interview questions that will help you assess candidates’ interpersonal and communication skills.
- What inspired you to pursue a career in PR?
- How would you describe your overall experience in the PR industry?
- What are your 3 top core values?
- Tell me, how do you handle rejections?
- What’s your favorite PR strategy, and why?
- What areas would you say you’re better than most in PR?
- How do you invest in yourself?
- What do you like about our agency/company, and what is your understanding of our strengths?
- How do you know you will add value to our product/service?
- What is the difference between a good place to work and a bad one?
- What was the last PR book you read that inspired you, and when was it?
- Which PR influencers/blogs inspire you the most? Why?
- What will you do in your first few months on the job as a PR manager?
- What would you expect to happen if you underperform?
- What would the definition of the “world-class employee” mean to you? Would you say you match this definition?
- What methods do you use to prioritize work?
- In what capacity was your team better with you being a part of it?
- How do you approach juggling multiple shifting priorities?
- What would you do if you could do anything you wanted?
- If you could build a team, what qualities and skills would you look for in candidates?
- Tell me how you build relationships with fellow employees.
- Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker or team member. What happened?
Public Relations Interview Questions to Evaluate Skills and Experience
Not everyone can handle the role of PR. You need to hire someone who has the experience, skills, and resourcefulness to put forward your agency/clients via media outlets to create and maintain a positive public image.
Figure out if your PR candidate has what it takes or not with our list of skills and experience evaluating PR interview questions.
“An important quality is the ability to engage with a global community of leaders, HR Management, Broadcasters, Journalists, and Digital communication platform owners/editors who would be interested in your client’s unique service offering. We look for a PR Manager who will ensure that their cost to the company is justified, otherwise it would seem like a marginal cost we would need to pay out for huge publicity returns.”
Thomas Mirmotahari, Founder and CEO, PerkUp
- How important is the brand in your communication strategy?
- How do you respond to negative PR backlashes due to unforeseen circumstances?
- Give us a sense of credible angles you have come up with in the past for your clients in pitches that were successful, niche, and out of the box?
- How successful are you/what is your turnaround rate with the global community to ensure brands and services are given enough visibility?
- How big a budget have you worked with in the past and how have you fared to convert the budget into real gains for the company?
- What are some of the most innovative marketing solutions you have come up with to date for your clients/previous employers?
“I ask broad questions to gain a better understanding of the applicants and allow them to elaborate on their personalities and work habits. My aim is to understand how much they have gathered from their previous experience. It’s an important value indicator for me to gauge a candidate.”
Adam Crossling, Partner & Marketing manager, Zenzero
- Could you tell us about a digital campaign you were a part of?
- Could you tell us about a print campaign you were a part of?
- Which public relations accomplishment are you most proud of?
- Which abilities did you acquire in your former position that you may apply to this one?
- Do you have prior experience working on radio public relations campaigns?
“First, someone has to be able to write well. If they don’t enjoy it and do it well, the interview is over. Secondly, they have to actually enjoy and use social media–that goes for both consuming and creating. They have to be intuitive to know what their target audience is thinking. They have to be resourceful and have a proven success record.”
Krista Bernasconi, Founder and CEO, MarketSharePR
- Are you able to share links to projects, collateral, handles to accounts you’ve worked on?
- Tell me about your proudest PR campaign. What was it that worked for you?
- How would you improve our organization’s public relations strategy?
- What kind of projects and accounts get your juices flowing?
“A PR agent should have the following qualities, dedication, tenacity, intrapersonal skills, and a willingness to achieve results. ‘NO’ is a word that PR agents hear repeatedly from media outlets and journalists. I want to understand how a candidate handles the rejection situation and turn it into a win.”
Jessica Armstrong, Marketing Associate, TeamUp
- How would you respond to a top-tier media outlet that has rejected your pitch?
- How will you work with the other members of the marketing team (social, content, performance) to support your PR efforts and prioritize what you need to make sure an outlet picks up our stories?
- Tell me about your best achievements as a PR agent.
- What strengths do you think a PR agent must have and tell us about the time when you have shown those qualities?
“Being a PR manager is quintessentially about networking, so you should see if the candidates have a concise strategy to develop contacts, whether it be media, community organizations, or businesses, is essential in getting your/client company’s message out to the public. Furthermore, I primarily focus on fundamental characteristics for the job, such as time management, interpersonal skills, creativity, and the ability to tell an engaging story.”
Adelle Archer, Co-Founder & CEO, Eterneva
- What is your networking strategy?
- Which media outlets do you check every day?
- What do you think makes a great story?
- Can you tell me about the time when you dealt with difficult stakeholders and how did you manage the situation?
“I try to dig deep into their past experiences to get insights into the verticals where they’ve had the most success, the inherent media relationships they’ve fomented, and the niches they are more comfortable to work with. I want to see if there’s a spark of passion for their clients, or if they are just drones who will smile-and-dial and do the bare minimum of what’s expected without any intellectual curiosity about their clients.”
Denise Dorman, Media Relations Director, WhiteBrain Media
- Tell me about your PR career to date–campaigns you’ve created from scratch, highlights, any awards, and the projects you’re most proud of.
- Which industries are you most familiar with or comfortable pitching?
- Tell me how you approach understanding your client and telling their stories?
- Tell me which project management tools, social platforms, and media databases you’re comfortable using.
- Finally, I will tell them I have a female author client with a memoir. On which social platforms would you emphasize publicizing them?
“I ask questions to ascertain the unique work processes and strategies a candidate has demonstrated previously for completing projects. I want to understand how aligned their PR strategies were with corporate goals and financial objectives. Communication and building relationships is the prime task of a PR profile, so I also like to check the ways they handle PR crisis and how they prevent it from happening in the first place.”
David Wurst, CEO, Webcitz
- Describe a social media incident that occurred to you. How did you settle the situation?
- How are public relations and advertising different?
- How do you usually track PR campaign results?
- How do you deal with an aggressive reporter?
- How do you establish rapport with a new client?
- How would you handle a large-scale public relations crisis?
“Your best exciting PR ideas can die a painful death if not propagated through the right medium and to the right audience. During the interview process, you should try to understand if the candidate has shown expertise in knowing the right PR marketing medium for their previous clients.”
Simonas Steponaitis, SEO, Kilo Health
- Which skills did you develop in your previous role that you can apply to this position?
- How might you develop a strategy that functions for both print and digital campaigns?
- Can you describe an experience in which you had to answer a challenging question in an interview? What did you do?
- How do you use social media to serve your clients best?
- Describe a social media issue you experienced. How did you resolve it?
- What’s the difference between public relations and advertising?
Interesting read: 44 Account Manager Interview Questions & Answers to Get That Job
SocialPilot: The Best Way to Promote Clients on Social Media
Social media has opened up the engagement gates for brands unlike any other channel before.
You as a PR agency undertake the responsibility to manage reputation crises and showcase a positive front on social media of your clients.
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