Common Job Interview Questions for Writers and Editors

Deadlines, clients and personal reading choices make this list

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If you're a writer or editor looking for work, ace your job interview by prepping with this list of common questions posed to individuals in your profession. Taking the initiative before an interview will likely make you appear more cool, calm and collected when you face your potential new employer. Your composure and knowledge alike can give you an edge over the competition.

Personal Preferences

To better understand you and your relationship to the written word, your interviewer will likely ask you about your personal interests and preferences.

For instance, what books/magazines/newspapers do you enjoy reading? Be prepared to state why as well.

The interview may also ask if you read any blogs on writing and editing. Which ones? What do you like about these?

In the same vein, your prospective employer may also ask you if you have a favorite style guide and why. Keep in mind, however, that many publications have a designated style guide. Newspapers commonly choose the Associated Press' style guide, so your preference isn't likely to sway your employer to choose an altogether different guide. On the other hand, some news organizations use a style guide as a base and tweak the recommendations to meet their needs.

Interpersonal Skills and Conflict

Conflict is part of any job, so expect your interviewer to ask you how you handle tension and stressful situations. You might be asked how you would handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make.

You might also be questioned about how you would handle a freelance writer who handed in subpar work.

Your interviewer will likely want to know how you handle the stress of deadlines. She might ask you to give an example of a time when you had to edit or write a piece under a strict deadline. How did you ensure that you met the deadline?

The employer will also want to know how you prioritize assignments. For example, if you have a 300-page document that's a rush job and you must edit it by the end of the day, how would you approach the task?

Alternatively, you might be asked to imagine you're faced with two projects with the same deadline. One client is easygoing while the other constantly calls to ask when it will be done. Which project do you make your top priority?

Computer Software Programs and Content Management Systems

In the 21st century, working as a writer or editor isn't just about putting words on a page. Employers want to know your experience with computer software programs and content management systems as well. You might be asked what your familiarity is with InDesign and Quark and if you are familiar with any other page layout software.

And don't be surprised if the interviewer asks you about your experience with Web publishing.

More Job Interview Questions

In addition to job specific interview questions for writing and editing, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history and education as well as your strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals and plans. Consult a list of the most common interview questions and examples of answers to prep for these sorts of questions.