How to Answer 10 Common PR Interview Questions (Examples)

Channel your inner Olivia Pope.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

PR Interview Questions

If you’re looking for public relations jobs, you’ll need to demonstrate a lot of different skills, due to the complexity of the public relations and advertising industry.

These skills are largely assessed at the interview stage, which can be a competitive process owing to the popularity of PR. Therefore, candidates need to prepare for their interviews thoroughly to get the best chance of landing their next dream role.

This article takes you through 10 common public relations interview questions, including what they aim to assess, information on how to confidently answer them, and sample answers for each one.

1. “What are the main differences between public relations and advertising?”

This is a question that might come up early in the interview to assess your fundamental knowledge of the PR industry. It aims to assess your technical ability as well as your personal thoughts on PR.

To answer this question effectively, ensure you understand the differences between PR and advertising, as well as thinking about your personal approach to effective PR.


I believe both advertising and PR have commonality in that they promote an organization, but in my opinion, there are key differences. These can be summarized as control, in that advertising retains high control and PR disseminates it.

Advertising is about paid promotion, product placement and control over creative messaging, whereas PR is about building and maintaining positive relationships, relying on endorsements, shaping perceptions and providing relevant content to the media to create engaging narratives.

2. “What are the values you live by as a PR professional?”

This question is asked by recruiters to assess your organizational fit. With PR agencies being so heavily steeped in creative approaches and the clicking of personalities, cultural fit and alignment to organizational values is critical.

To answer this question, research the company you’re applying for, and assess if your values align with it and how you can demonstrate a fit.


I am a firm believer in accountability, integrity and transparency in PR. It drives credibility in our important role in building relationships and telling stories.

I ensure that I act ethically and honestly in all interactions, and that my work is held to the highest standards of integrity. I ensure I demonstrate the highest accountability, taking responsibility for my actions. I am transparent in ensuring all my information is presented accurately and without hidden motives.

3. “What would you do to improve our organization’s PR strategy?”

This can be a tough question to answer, as it requires you to critique the organization you are applying for. It requires you to demonstrate good PR knowledge and an understanding of the organization you’re applying to, and how you put your PR skills to work.

You’ll need to think on your feet and research the organization, as well as utilize PR troubleshooting skills in order to answer this question.


First and foremost, I would undertake a comprehensive PR audit to evaluate the current PR approach and be clear on the most effective areas for development. In my research of Company ABC, I have noticed that the current digital PR approach could benefit from emerging trends in online content creation. I would, therefore, leverage your social media channels, website and online publications to further engage our audience.

4. “Tell me about how you have measured the results of a PR campaign?”

The purpose of this question is to assess your analytical ability and data management. It’s also an example of a behavioral or, “STAR”, question, where the best answers will include the Situation, the Task, the Action and the Result.

Stick to these principles when you answer, and prepare an example that stands you out from the crowd.


In a previous role, I was tasked with increasing web traffic and brand awareness. I began by establishing clear KPIs that aligned with this goal. As the campaign progressed, I used a variety of tools to measure website traffic, clicks, online engagement and media monitoring software to analyze media mentions and the style of coverage.

After the campaign ended, I sat with my team and manager to analyze these metrics in more detail to assess any improvements needed going forward.

5. “Give me an example of how you have successfully developed a relationship with a new client?”

This is another STAR question, and is designed to assess your client management and communication skills, networking ability and rapport with others. Think of an example that will showcase your ability in all these areas, and ensure its result is memorable and positive.


We took on a new client, and before my initial meeting with them, I undertook extensive research on their company and target audience before arranging the meeting with a highly personalized email.

During our meeting, I actively listened to what they wanted and prepared a detailed print campaign proposal that I had prepared in advance. As our work continued, I ensured I maintained transparency and consistent communication, listening to feedback and creating dialogue as the project worked towards its successful completion. The client is still retained with us and has asked me to be their account holder.

6. “Tell me about a time when you have navigated a major PR crisis?”

This STAR interview question requires you to share your experience working through a situation that had the potential to be very serious. It’s used to assess your crisis management skills and ability to handle tricky situations.

In PR, responding to crises is make or break. Ensure you pick an example that has impact and has a positive outcome.


Once, when I was at Company XYZ, one of our products developed a safety concern. I spoke with all internal stakeholders to understand the severity of the issue and how many customers had been impacted. I then used this information to develop a crisis communication plan, including key messages, timelines, spokespersons and communications channels.

Thanks to the smooth execution of this plan, we were able to contain the damage and retain trust with our customers.

7. “Tell me about a time where you handled a challenging reporter?”

Handling difficult people, and handling the press, are two of the biggest skills in PR, and this question aims to assess them both at once.

When answering this behavioral question, think of a memorable situation and guide the interviewers through it, from what happened to what you did, and close with a positive outcome.


I once encountered a reporter who had an aggressive style and was seemingly determined to create a negative story about my company’s operations. I ensured I spoke to the reporter to understand their angle and concerns, and provided all the information I could.

When I sensed this was not going to be enough for them, I offered to provide other sources of information that I had carefully vetted beforehand. I remained respectful and collaborative at all times, and this approach paid off, as the final article was balanced and appropriate.

8. “How would you respond if a client disagreed with your proposed PR strategy?”

This question can be a tricky one, as it’s used to assess how you handle pushback or somebody telling you they need different ideas or another direction. Whereas the question doesn’t ask for an example, you might wish to draw upon your experience when you answer it.


It’s critical to prioritize open communication, collaboration and understanding in such a situation. If a client disagreed with my proposed strategy, I would firstly actively listen to their concerns and then engage in constructive dialogue to discuss solutions.

Throughout this, I would be sure to demonstrate empathy and reasoning, and seek to provide context in case there were misunderstandings. Ultimately, my goal is to seek collaboration and find a solution that meets their expectations while leveraging my own PR capabilities.

9. “Tell me about an innovative PR solution you came up with for a client.”

This STAR question assesses your creativity and innovation skills. Thinking up big and bold new ideas for PR campaigns is a must for any PR professional, so ensure you choose an example from your experience that showcases this as clearly as possible.


I had a client who was looking to launch a new technology product. I suggested to them an idea to capitalize on the immersive experiences trend. Here, I engaged with web designers to put together some interactive online experiences that showcased the client’s new product, supported with an interactive media campaign including teaser videos. I partnered with bloggers to create buzz and hype for this campaign.

The highly successful product launch exceeded the client’s expectations and drove significant coverage across multiple media outlets.

10. “Tell me about an incident on social media that you dealt with — what did you do?”

More and more elements of PR are moving to digital campaigns, and being able to navigate the complexities of various social media platforms is essential. This STAR question assesses both your social media awareness and your problem-solving skills.


Once, a disgruntled customer posted some negative comments on many of our social media channels. When I discovered this, I ensured that I assessed the situation to understand their concerns and history with our company, before formatting a careful and comprehensive reply to them, crafted with empathy and professionalism.

I followed up with the department involved to ensure they were rectifying the customer’s concerns. I also monitored social media to respond to any associated comments from other users. I used the situation to analyze what can be done better in the future to minimize any gaps in our social media response process.

Final thoughts

Hopefully, these PR interview questions and answers will give you a few pointers to help you prepare for your interview and to think of great examples that showcase your abilities as a PR professional.

Nevertheless, PR interviews can be challenging. This is mainly because of the variety of different questions you might be asked, due to the interviewer’s need to assess the various skills you will need to work in the public relations industry.

When preparing for your interview, consider using ChatGPT interview prompts to give you an extra edge, and remember that the process will be extensive and likely comprise a variety of “fit” questions and other more complex ones that seek examples of your skills and experiences.

What other questions have come up in your own PR job interview? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally published on July 9, 2015.