Great communication skills are key to workplace success for almost any position, but particularly for any type of communications job. In your interview, you can expect to field questions about the intricacies of your ability to communicate. Prepare with these 10 essential communications interview questions.
Table of Contents:
- Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.
- What skills do you have that have prepared you for work in the communications field?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Tell me about a time of conflict and how you resolved it.
- What efforts will you put forth to ensure you’ll excel in your new communications role?
- Have you ever worked with the media or written press releases?
- How do you work effectively within a budget?
- How do you stay organized?
- Why should we select you for this position?
- What social media channels are you familiar with?
Your interviewer is interested in getting to know you and how you define success. Your answer to this behavioral interview question should celebrate a major personal or professional accomplishment. Ideally, the accomplishment you describe will be related to the communications field:
“I volunteer with a small non-profit organization as a fundraising coordinator. It’s a very important role and something that I am proud of because the money I help raise allows the organization to help new immigrants find jobs. In October we had a fundraising drive, and I spent most of my weekends and evenings calling donors. I was able to exceed the fundraising goal by $10,000 which I considered a great accomplishment.”
Your interviewer is asking this question to make sure you have an understanding of the skills that are necessary to succeed in the role. Your answer should include a mix of hard skills and soft skills.
Here’s a sample answer:
“Through my work experience and education, I have developed strong communication skills, and I’m able to clearly convey points to different audiences. I’m also a good listener which aids in my ability to intimately understand a situation and prepare an appropriate response. I believe that my strong organizational skills will also be an asset in this role.”
Your new employer is going to spend a lot of time and money getting you up to speed. They definitely don’t want to hear that you want a diverse career with many different companies. Your answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years” should include a natural career progression from the position that you’re being interviewed for to more senior roles.
Try something along these lines:
“I would like to start out in a junior communications position and master the skills necessary to move on to a more senior position. I realize that my success will also depend on having a strong understanding of the company’s business and structure. I would love to progress into more senior roles with the company when the time is right.”
Your interviewer is looking for verification that you can keep a cool head under pressure. Approach the question with the STAR method and focus on the resolution, not the negative part of the conflict like this:
“Managing conflict is about empathy and understanding the other person’s perspective. Listening to what the other person says and reading their body language is key. I try to understand the situation from the other person’s point of view, come up with possible resolutions, and consult with them as to what will meet their needs.”
Do you have an ongoing motivation and commitment to learning? Your interviewer wants to hear that you take an active role in keeping your professional knowledge and skills up-to-date:
“Learning is an ongoing process that I plan to continue throughout my career. I take an active role in keeping my skills sharp by reading industry articles as well as attending communications workshops and events.”
Your interviewer wants to know if you have some basic professional experience to bring to the position. If you don’t, it’s okay. But make sure to highlight other media relations or writing skills that you bring to the table:
“I worked as a communications volunteer for a small non-profit and was tasked with drafting a press release for an upcoming fundraiser. I had never done that before, but working my way through it helped me to understand the process and improve my writing skills to be concise yet informative.”
Your answer to this question should address that you understand budgets and get creative to deliver value when faced with financial constraints. Here’s how to show off your budgetary prowess:
“In my previous volunteer role, the organization had almost no money for volunteer recruitment. I had to get really creative to produce an active pipeline of volunteers with no communications budget. I managed to recruit over 50 volunteers just through networking and by joining some influential social media groups.”
Communications professionals often field requests from many different departments and need to juggle a large number of projects at one time. Your interviewer wants to know that you have good organization skills so that when it gets busy, you’ll be able to manage the work:
“I’m good at using my time efficiently and being organized. I love using software tools like Trello that can help me stay on task and prioritize.”
Communications roles can be very competitive. Your interview is your chance to sell yourself. Be sure to mention any special skills you have that would be valuable to the role.
Set yourself apart from the pack with an answer like this:
“I have great written and verbal communication skills, but I also have a great eye for design. I’ve also trained myself on the Adobe Creative Suite which I think is a huge asset in a communications position.”
As a communications professional, you’ll be expected to know all the major social media platforms. If there are other, smaller platforms you have experience with, don’t forget to highlight those as well.
These are just 10 of the many communications interview questions you may be asked during your face-to-face meeting. When preparing, make sure you focus on general topics as well as industry-specific topics. Familiarizing yourself with common industry practices and skills is an excellent way to stand out during your interview.