Public Relations Interview Questions

Public Relations Interview Questions and Answers

This section covers commonly asked and expert level Public Relations Interview questions and answers. The types of questions covered are general, behavioral, situational and experience based. You can also find interesting examples and sample answers with each question.

Who are these Public Relations Interview Questions useful for?

General and behavioral questions on PR will be very useful for all PR professionals including new graduates. All the freshers and experienced candidates interviewing for the role of PR executive, PR Manager etc. will be highly benefited by these questions.

1. What is the objective of Public Relations?

Well, there are a lot of people who know the word PR but they often confuse it with advertising. Public relations is about sending out the right messages to the people who matter to you in business to build up and enhance the reputation of your brand.

So, the main objective of Public Relations is – To build and maintain a positive reputation and image for a brand.

The people we are talking about here are: Your partners, investors, employees, stakeholders, customers and general public whose perceptions we need to influence as PR Professionals.

Video : Public Relations Interview Questions and Answers

2. What are the functions of public relations manager?

The functions of a public relations manager are as follows:

i.) Understanding the public opinion and attitudes of the public towards the brand.
ii.) Preparing strategies which use free or earned media to influence them.
iii.) Writing effective speeches and press release.
iv.) Drafting strategies to support brand's campaigns and new move through editorial content.
v.) Executing media events and social public outreach.
vi.) Writing content for the websites.
vii.) Develop a crisis strategy.
viii.) Handling the brand on various social media platforms.
ix.) Informing the employees about the policies and counseling them. Ensuring they understand the organization's responsibility and their responsibility.
x.) Deal with the government and other legislative bodies on behalf of the organization.
xi.) Dealing and handling investor relations.
xii.) Handling public groups and other organizations with regard to social and other policies of the organization.

3. What are the types of public relations?

According to the functions, Public relations department is divided into the following types:

i.) Media Relations.
ii.) Internal Relations.
iii.) Investor Relations.
iv.) Government Relations.
v.) Community Relations.
vi.) Customer Relations.
vii.) Marketing Communications

4. What is the importance of Public Relations?

In today's time, most of the companies are dependent on their public image, which has made public relations very important for many reasons. Some of them are as follows:

i.) A good public relation strategy helps to build a strong brand image.
ii.) Public relation gives messages which build a brand reputation.
iii.) PR strategies build a strong relationship of the brand with the public.
iv.) Public relation strategies are opportunistic. They make a PR stunt where they promote or support a specific cause. The influencers are attracted to these opportunities and share the brand stories to their followers.

5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Public Relations?

Advantages of Public Relations
  • The message coming from a credible trusted third party is more trusted than then advertised content.
  • A good public relations strategy has a much larger reach as it attracts many news outlets, exposing the content to a large audience.
  • A paid promotion costs more which makes public relations a cost effective technique.

Disadvantages of Public Relations
  • The biggest risk of investing in public relations is that there is no direct control unlike in paid media.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of a PR campaign is difficult.
  • A press release is published only if the media outlet feels that it'll attract its target audience which means there are no guaranteed results.

6. Why do you want to make a career in PR?

Public Relations help an organization and it's public to adapt to each other. It is all about building relationships. It is also one of the most stressful jobs so with this question the interviewer is trying to understand what attracted you to choose this career.

To answer this question you can say: "I love to stay connected with people and build meaningful relationships. I focus on building trusted relationships and have a passion to help brand and people grow their reputation. I constantly follow news and make sure I have the facts on the latest stories. Also, I am passionate about writing and I am a good storyteller. I believe these qualities make me a good fit for a career in Public Relations."

7. How would you handle a PR crisis?

Every business faces Public relations crisis at some point which has a negative impact on the company's reputation. At this time the way you respond will either boost your image or damage your brand. Always anticipate a potential crisis scenario and establish internal protocols for handling the crisis situations.

To answer this question you can say: I would take the following steps to handle the crisis:

i.) Have a team authorized to speak publicly on the behalf of the company. Along with this, immediately prepare an internal review process and identify who all need to be notified about the issue, the cause and the actions you are taking. It could be the employees, stake holders, government bodies, depending on the issue.

ii.) Try to understand what is making people angry. Take responsibility and don't cover up the crisis. Do not argue publicly but acknowledge people's concern and respond appropriately through right channels.

iii.) Apologize, be honest, proactive and transparent. Nothing fuels the anger more than lies and dishonesty.  

iv.) Respond quickly on social media platforms. You need to act fast before people lose faith in your brand.  Have a plan and review it.

vi.) Have a social media team on alert and communicate with all stakeholders. Respond to each comment and be transparent about how you are solving the situation.

vii.) Make it clear that the company is defending the interests of the people it serves.

8. What is the difference between PR and Advertising?

PR and Advertising are two different industries which are commonly confused as one. The major differences are as follows:

i.) The company has to pay for the advertisement which makes it costly whereas PR focuses on getting free media coverage.

ii.) Advertising allows you to have creative control over what goes into that ad unlike in PR where there is no control over how the media will present your information.

iii.) An advertisement has a longer life than a press release about a new product, or an event or a story which would be published only once.

iv.) In advertising, your main contacts are your co-workers and your clients but in PR you need to build a relationship with the media.

v.) In advertising, you have your target audience and you will advertise for them but in PR you have to get editors to cover your event or include the information in their article.

vi.) In most of the advertising companies the ad campaign manager or top-level executive meet the clients whereas the public relations are visible to media.

vii.) In advertising, your writing style would motivate the people to buy your product and you would use those relevant words. In public relations, you follow a more formal news format.

9. What is Interactive PR?

The process to use internet to communicate messages with public is known as Interactive PR.

10. What is a Pitch?

A pitch is a short message which is personalized and sent by email and it can also be used for a phone call or as a tweet. The pitch should be formal, polite and interesting as the main purpose is to introduce the media to connect to your brand, product or service and invites them to connect for more information.