No job interview is easy, but interviews for creative positions like copywriting offer additional challenges—especially when it comes to the interview questions. In today’s post, we’ll go over a few of them, and talk about how to answer them well. Read on…
Today’s question comes from Liz A., who asks, “I have an interview for a copywriting position coming up and I want the position so badly! Do you have any tips for how I can prep or any ideas for what they’ll ask me?”
Obviously, interviews are bound to vary from company to company and interviewer to interviewer. But there are some questions and topics you should be prepared to discuss.
And note that I say “prepared,” because these are questions you’ll want to think about beforehand.
Also, the answers to these questions are important insights into your understanding of copywriting, your working style, and your skills. Even if you don’t get asked these exact questions, you should find a way to work the answers into your conversation.
Here are a few of the toughest questions interviewers will ask:
What’s your writing like? How would you describe it?
This one is especially tough because it’s a trick question. As a copywriter, it’s never your voice that matters; it’s your client’s voice that does.
If you get asked a question like this, just explain that you write in the company’s brand voice. If they already have one, you’ll do the research to master that voice. If they don’t yet have one, you’ll do the work to help them establish one that makes sense for the brand and will resonate with the target audience(s).
Which piece in your portfolio is your favorite?
If this question comes up (and it very often does), it’s tempting to simply pick your favorite. After all, that’s what they asked for, right?
But just showing them your favorite piece, especially if it’s a piece in a style or medium that’s irrelevant to their company doesn’t benefit you in any way. Instead of just pulling out your favorite piece, say something along the lines of, “I’d like to show you my favorite overall piece, and my favorite piece that’s most relevant to this position.”
Be prepared, too, to explain what makes each piece a favorite—and don’t give a throwaway answer. “It was fun to write it!” doesn’t benefit you either. Tell them about something you learned while writing it, or a challenge you overcame to put that copy together.
Do you have a favorite copywriter? Who is it?
Quick: Name a copywriter. (Besides you or me.) It’s probably pretty likely that you can’t. I’d have a hard time, too! And that’s the way it should be—the copywriter shouldn’t be the rock star; the copy should be.
To answer this question, you can simply say, “I don’t have a favorite copywriter, but I have a favorite piece of copy right now” and let them know what your favorite ad/marketing piece is, and why.
Have you looked at our website? What piece of ours do you like best?
Okay, so the answer to the first part of this question had better be a resounding “yes.” Don’t even dream of going to an interview until you’ve totally immersed yourself in their website, their social channels, and their general public presence.
As for the second part, you need to come to the interview prepared to discuss the work in the company’s portfolio just as much as yours. (You can usually find this in an “Our Work” section on their website.) Evaluate everything carefully and decide which pieces you think would have been most effective and would resonate most with the intended target audience.
Being able to thoughtfully and insightfully discuss their work as well as yours offers a keen view into how you think about copy, as well as how you write it. It’s good for them to know—so it’s good for you to share.
Your turn! Are there any especially tough questions you’ve gotten in a copywriting interview? What were they? Let us know in the comments below!