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Journalist interview questions and answers

This Journalist interview profile brings together a snapshot of what to look for in candidates with a balanced sample of suitable interview questions.

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Journalist Interview Questions

When interviewing journalist or reporter candidates, use their portfolio of published articles and newscasts to start a purposeful conversation. By the time you have reached the interview phase, you should only be seeing candidates with polished work samples that are relevant to your company’s audience.

Then, use these interviews to verify the hard and soft skills that you require. If you’re a digital-first outlet, for example, it might be helpful for candidates to have some familiarity with a CRM, publishing tools like WordPress, or social media. If they will be working closely in a cross-functional team, ask about their role in creating a complex project with a similar team setup. If they will be required to come up with their own story ideas most of the time, ask about their experience with uncovering and pitching their own stories.

Finally, top marks go to candidates who have applied because they clearly see a strong fit for themselves within your organization and can back that up with knowledge of your audience and the kind of work you typically produce.

Role-specific questions

  • What do you like to read on your own time?
  • Describe a time you found and pitched your own story.
  • Share some examples of your best work.
  • What was your role in putting together [this work sample]?
  • How do you cope with the stress of tight deadlines?
  • How do you ensure accuracy in your work?
  • What publishing software have you used before?
  • How often do you use social media? Which sites do you use the most?
  • How would you rate your ability to use technology for storytelling? What are your strengths and weaknesses in this area?
  • Describe a time you worked with a multidisciplinary team to tell a story.
  • What do you know about our publication? What could we do better?
  • Who would you consider to be our competitors?
  • How familiar are you with our staff writers? Whose work do you follow and why?
  • What current stories that are relevant to our publication?

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