Writers are important to companies and their marketing endeavours. They help businesses develop important articles and pieces that help to attract new customers. If you're preparing for an interview for a writing role, it's important to understand some questions that an employer might ask and how to respond to them effectively. In this article, we give you a few different lists of writer interview questions, including questions that explore a writer's background and experience, as well as questions with sample answers to help you prepare.
General writer interview questions
Here are some general questions that an employer might ask about the open writer position:
- What's unique about your writing style?
- What strategies do you use to prioritize tasks?
- Why do you want to work for this company?
- What are the major differences between a blog and an article?
- Why did you choose the writing profession?
- What are your career goals or ambitions?
- How do you feel about feedback or criticism?
- What was the last book you read?
- What's your favourite form of communication?
- What would you say are your strengths as a writer?
Questions about background and experience
Here is a list of questions that help employers understand a writer's background and experience:
- What's your experience with content management systems?
- Have you ever needed to capture a client's voice?
- What are some ways you make your content more credible?
- What writing styles or tones are you most comfortable using?
- Do you prefer working with a team or working by yourself?
- What strategies do you use to proofread your work?
- What are some things you ask a client before starting a project?
- Have you ever used grammar tools or resources?
- How do you stay motivated?
- Have you ever disagreed with a co-worker about how to write something? How did you respond?
Here are some in-depth questions an employer might ask a writer:
- What are the components of good web content?
- What are the best ways to integrate SEO into your content?
- How do you create a content strategy for a client?
- What are some of the best ways to overcome writer's block?
- What are some ways you can track the performance of your content?
- How do you talk about a technical subject without using too many buzz words?
- What is a call to action?
- Why is web content important for SEO?
- How do you pitch writing ideas to clients or managers?
- What is your experience with HTML and other coding languages?
Interview questions with sample answers
Here are some interview questions with sample answers to help you prepare for writer interview questions:
How do you approach researching a target audience?
It's important for writers to know how to reach a target audience so they can more effectively market a company's products or services. Understanding your skills in researching a target audience can help employers understand how your skills and expertise in writing can benefit their company or business. When answering this question, consider focusing on a specific situation where you needed to research a target audience and the strategies you used to ensure you found helpful and insightful information.
Example: "**While working as a freelance writer last year, I had to write a blog for a dentist supply company that highlighted a product they were trying to sell. It was an interesting challenge, because I had never written for dentists before, or anyone in that field. I started by looking through other articles about dentistry products and examined the language that writers used to attract the attention of dentists and dental offices.
Then, I wrote a list of different phrases or topics that writers seemed to use throughout those different pieces. Finally, I wrote the first draft of my article, following a similar tone to the other articles I researched. The client loved the article and hired me for several other projects."
Tell me about a time you disagreed with someone's feedback on your writing.
When working with a team of other writers and editors, it's important to have strong communication skills and be able to resolve any workplace conflicts quickly and professionally. Some employers might use this question to help understand how you communicate your problems to other people and to determine the respect you have for your co-workers. When answering this question, consider using a specific situation and mention how your conflict-resolution strategies benefited the conversation.
Example: "Once, while working for a previous employer, I had an editor ask me to make some changes to a piece because I had used too many idioms. I knew the client didn't have a problem with idioms, and I personally believed it helped to deliver a more casual tone to the audience, so I asked the editor if they had a moment to talk. I went over my beliefs about why idioms were important in the piece, and they gave me their reasoning for wanting them removed. In the end, we compromised, and I removed some idioms, while still maintaining a casual tone."
Has a client ever been unsatisfied with your work? How did you respond?
It's also important for a writer to understand how to communicate efficiently with clients and resolve any issues quickly and efficiently. Employers might ask this question to better understand your interpersonal and problem-solving skills, and how you approach edit requests from clients. When answering this question, it's important to list the specific steps you take when talking with an unsatisfied client and how you find a suitable resolution to the situation.
Example: "While working as a freelancer, I once had a client who continuously sent back an article I wrote, demanding new changes or additions each time. It was challenging because I had other articles I was trying to finish while simultaneously making edits to the same article several times. After my fourth attempt at capturing what they wanted, I asked if they had a moment to talk about my work.
We scheduled a call, and I went over the parameters of the project with them again. I asked further questions about the project and what they expected of me and my work. From our conversation, I learned that there was some miscommunication before the project began, and I now had a more accurate understanding of how to complete their article."
What do you plan to do during the first month of working here?
An employer might ask this question because they're trying to determine your passion and excitement for the role. They also might want to see what you know about the position and your general knowledge and experience of working as a writer. When answering this question, it's beneficial to focus on team building actions and building professional relationships because it can demonstrate your ability to work well with colleagues and managers. It's also helpful to mention any specific tasks or activities that a writer might perform to show your understanding of the role.
Example: "If I'm hired here, I plan on spending my first month gaining a strong understanding of the company's major operations and getting to know my team members. Whenever I start a new role or position, I find that it's important to get to know the people around you because they're often the ones who help answer your questions and walk you through different company processes.
I'll also spend the first month getting to know the clients and understanding the specific tones or styles that I need to use in order to deliver quality content to them. Finally, I'll work to ensure I understand the company's major goals and values so I can learn to embody them with all my client and colleague interactions."
Have you ever found a mistake in one of your pieces after it was published?
It is important for writers to be extremely thorough with their proofreading and editing because it helps them demonstrate a professional demeanour. An employer might ask this question to better understand the writer's proofreading process, but also to learn how they respond to any mistakes they make and the steps they take to fix them. When answering this question, it's important to be honest about any mistakes you make as a writer and the specific actions you take to resolve them because it can show employers you're hard-working and honest.
Example: "Whenever I proofread my articles, I read them out loud to myself to see if the piece is understandable and if there are any spelling or grammar mistakes. Though this method often finds a lot of mistakes, it doesn't always find every mistake. I once wrote an article for my previous employer that was put on the company website.
A few days later, I read through the article again and realized that I had a small grammatical error halfway through. Luckily, my employer had access to this article, and we were able to fix it right away with no issue or setback."