Communications interview questions (with example answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Great communication is the key to any successful job interview. Sharing your relevant skills, describing a wealth of experience and highlighting a passion for the job in natural conversation usually charms potential employers. It's even more important to showcase these qualities when you're hoping to secure a role in the communications industry. In this article, we review how to impress a potential employer in a communications interview and provide sample answers to a few of the most common interview questions.

What to expect from communications interview questions

Employers usually tailor communications interview questions to the specific position you're pursuing. Though the communications industry brings together a host of people and organisations whose specialism is to share messages and connect people, the strategies and expectations vary between roles. It also depends if you are applying at the entry level or as a corporate director. Communications careers might include crafting campaigns, copywriting, running events, managing social media output or handling public relations (PR).

Interview questions can cover a wide range of topics. Communications interviews are unique because sometimes, interviewers care as much about how you answer the question as it is about the content of your answer. It's important to remember that all communications careers thrive on building relationships, managing problems effectively and coming up with fresh ideas. Interviewers use these meetings to establish if candidates can do those three things by looking for evidence, confidence and self-awareness in the answers.

Related: How to improve your communication skills

What does a communications interview include?

Most communications interviews follow a 'question and answer' or Q&A session format, but there are other parts of the interview process you might consider in your preparation. Depending on the role, they may ask you to complete a brief written exercise. This usually mimics a task you would complete as part of the advertised job, with interviewers assessing how quickly you might take to the role and the technical skills the assessment demands.

It's important to remember that your answers to questions aren't the only way that a potential employer can evaluate you. How you communicate non-verbally, how well you listen and how you present yourself from the very first moment also has a significant impact on the result.

Related: A guide on how to ace an interview (with tips and examples)

Common interview questions

Whatever role you're applying for, there are some questions that come up frequently. These can have a broad focus and allow interviewers to get to know you not just as a professional and potential colleague, but as a person, too. Keep the job description in mind when answering any of these and stay positive with your answers:

  • Tell me about yourself

  • Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • Where do your weaknesses lie?

  • Why do you want to work here?

  • How do you prioritise your workload?

  • How do you respond to stress in the workplace?

  • Why are you the right candidate for the role?

  • Why are you leaving your current job?

  • What has been your greatest achievement?

  • Do you have any questions about the role?

Related: Interview question: 'What is your greatest achievement?'

9 essential interview questions

Questions that focus on relevant skills and experience are the primary focus of communications interviews. These question your understanding of the sector, the organisation and your role within it. Answer them honestly, while referring to the job advert specifics to show how your skills apply directly to the role. Here are questions to consider:

1. What does it mean to be an effective communicator?

This question is very common in communications interviews, as it focuses on the most vital skills in the industry. Effective communication combines both verbal and non-verbal cues, so remember to highlight both. Then think more widely about the qualities of excellent communicators, not just their skills.

Answer: 'Effective communication begins with effective listening. From there, conveying your message with clear, concise language and non-verbal cues enables broad understanding. To me, it's important to show empathy as a communicator too, as this is the key to understanding people, and so learning how to best communicate with them as individuals'.

2. How would you successfully manage multiple clients at once?

This is an excellent opportunity to highlight your own experience. Discuss how you currently manage multiple clients and what methods you would bring with you into this role. You might mention managing expectations realistically, any project management tools you employ and ways you stay organised.

Answer: 'I typically utilise digital calendars and reminders to stay up to date about the different clients and their due dates. I once managed four different clients by arranging their projects from the amount of work each needed to the least amount of work. Although factors may vary and change the due date, I was able to effectively keep tasks on time'.

3. Can you describe how you use social media for corporate communications?

Be specific and provide examples where you can. Social media is an enormous topic, and it's very beneficial to the understanding of the basics. To stand out, show the depth of your knowledge.

Answer: 'In my current role, I'm responsible for the use of social media in internal communications. There I work on a well-planned social schedule based on monthly themes, posting content via Buffer. In corporate communications, it's important to keep some level of formality, tailoring posts to both the platform and desired audience. Ultimately, my aim is to make our people fans of the brand in the same way our customers are'.

4. Are you familiar with our PR efforts? What would you change?

It can seem counterintuitive to criticise the company or even the department you're hoping to become part of, but questions like this are common and are incredibly valuable for employers. Here, they're asking whether you've done your research and made a critical assessment of their output. Give some positive feedback on where you've noticed successes. Then provide one or two minor changes you would make and how you predict they would positively affect the business.

Answer: 'Yes, I'm familiar with your efforts and believe the new campaign's direction can help to increase your consumer number by 10%, which can be a significant increase from last year. Although, I feel it's not targeting all possible consumers and may need to broaden its scope by including other demographics'.

5. How do you effectively collaborate with others?

Showcase skills like active listening, organisation and verbal communication here. Centre yourself in your answer, detailing any techniques you have implemented to work more collaboratively and how they have paid off.

Answer: 'Working on a group project in my current role, I've learnt several techniques which have helped me to collaborate effectively with members of my team. First, outlining goals is vital, as it means we can all work towards the same outcome. Making time for one-to-one conversations and scheduling group discussions has also proved invaluable. Creating this structure has allowed for creativity and positive collaboration and they're definitely ideas I'd bring into this role'.

6. What social channels are you familiar with?

Questions like this can be deceptive. Though it seems simple, employers are asking for more than a list here. Explain not only which social channels you're familiar with, but what level of experience you have with each and how you have pushed yourself to learn more. Consider telling your interviewer about ways you're growing your particular channel at the moment.

Answer: 'I'm currently using a combination of the top social media channels to create a streamlined awareness and to monitor my following. I've maintained my channels for the past five years and now amass half a million followers'.

7. What would your primary focus be during your first week of work?

Your first week usually involves simply getting to know the business, but your answer can focus on more than this alone. Consider the practical steps you might take to get to know your colleagues or different departments. Use this opportunity to show your passion, ambition and drive.

Answer: 'In my first week, I'll focus on building strong relationships within my immediate team and getting to know departments across the business. I'll schedule one-to-one meetings with department heads where possible, learning about processes and collaboration across the organisation so I can start strongly'.

8. What would you do if a colleague failed to communicate something important?

Situational questions like this ask you to talk through your thinking, explaining how you would react and what skills you would employ to overcome problems. Prioritise remaining calm in challenging situations, communicating well and working with your colleagues to achieve a good outcome. You can even discuss how you might avoid such a situation.

Answer: 'I would verify the information and set up a plan to effectively solve the issues. As for my colleague, I would ask to set up a brief meeting to discuss the breakdown in communication and to see how we could improve it'.

9. How do you work effectively within a budget?

Handling budgets is an important part of many communications roles and it's something that requires trust from your employer. Provide reassurance by stressing accuracy and experience with budgets. If you have limited professional experience, draw on experience with your own finances or qualifications supporting your numerical prowess.

Answer: 'I typically use budgeting tools to help mitigate overspending. I also familiarise myself with each billing component'.

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