interview advice for marketing and PR jobs in Scotland

Competition for marketing jobs is fierce - with lots of immediately available, highly qualified candidates vying the same positions - any opportunities that do come up require a fantastic interview to be sure of securing the position.

We hope the interview advice below will help you in your preparation. The questions we've highlighted may not come up, but are an excellent indication of what you might be asked. They're all based on marketing & PR orientated interviews which have taken place over the last few months at Randstad Financial & Professional clients:

technical marketing interview questions

And by technical, we really mean technical! Entry-Level candidates can expect to be tested on their copy-writing, grammar or editing skills. If you're interviewing for a PR role, you could be required to mock up a press release. As well as these tests you could also be asked the following (depending on the role you're interviewing for):

  • Give an example of when you have effectively implemented an initiative to improve internal communications across the business?
  • Tell me about an event you recently managed and the challenges/successes that occurred.
  • Discuss how you manage your budgets?
  • What are the challenges involved in setting up a new e-commerce initiative?
  • Give an example of your involvement in the product development process and the tasks undertaken to ensure a successful product launch.
  • Give me an example of when you’ve had to use good communication skills to build relationships across the business, operations and suppliers at all levels of management up to and including board level.
  • Give an example of a situation where you’ve had to process large amounts of information quickly.
  • What are the key factors involved in fully understanding any target audiences.
  • Give an example of when you’ve had to educate the business regarding a brand change/update. How did you do this? How did you deal with any negativity?
  • What should be the main differences within an ad campaign when targeting B2B and B2C audiences?
  • How do you think your skills would be best utilised as part of a small entrepreneurial team?
  • How do you feel that you’ll add benefit to a large, well established marketing team.
  • Give examples of events you have organised, from small events to large conferences.
  • What do you think are the most important factors to consider when in the initial planning stages of any event?
  • Give examples of different CRM tools that you’ve used to implement and record statistics for direct marketing campaigns. Which of these have been the most effective?
  • Give an example of when you’ve had to implement a campaign when you don’t agree with the ideas/process behind it.
  • Give an example of when a project you’ve been involved in has generated negative feedback internally. How did you overcome this?
  • Give an example of how you’ve used your marketing skills to ensure that you client base feels informed and looked after.
  • Give an example of how you provided a service to an internal/external client that was beyond their expectations. How did you know what they expected? How did they respond?

technical PR interview questions

  • Give an example of a piece of PR you’ve produced that has generated new business. Why do you think this is?
  • Give an example of your experience in crisis management. What was the situation and what action did you take?
  • Give an example of when you’ve dealt with a difficult situation with an internal stakeholder.
  • What frustrations have you experienced using external PR agencies and how did you overcome them?
  • Give examples of successful relationships that you have built with editors and journalists. How have you done this and what helps maintain these relationships?
  • What can be the difficulties when generating PR for global offices when you do not have a complete understanding of the culture? How can you overcome this?

managerial/supervisory questions

  • How would you encourage your team into generating ideas that are unusual, different and “outside the box?”
  • How do you maintain a happy working environment for your team, where all members work together effectively?
  • Give an example of when you have had to motivate others within your team?
  • Describe a situation in which you were a leader of a team, and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do?
  • Give me an example of a time when you recognised that a member of your team was performing below the required standard. What did you do?
  • How do you cope with negative feedback to ideas from your colleagues?
  • Describe the last thing you did to improve performance and /or productivity on your team.

competency based marketing interview questions

Finally, whatever role you're going for, communication and personality are key. You'll be assessed on what you can bring to the role both in terms of your skills and attitude, so expect competency based questions along these lines:

adaptability

  • Tell me about a time when you changed your priorities to meet others' expectations.
  • Describe a time when you altered your own behaviour to fit the situation.
  • Tell me about a time when you had to change your point of view or your plans to take into account new information or changing priorities.

client focus

  • Give an example of how you provided service to a client/stakeholder which was beyond their expectations. How did you know what they expected? How did you respond?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client.
  • Give me an example of a decision you have made which benefited the client but not you.

communication

  • Describe a situation you were involved in recently that required you to communicate with people at a senior level
  • Give an example of a difficult or sensitive decision that you have had to communicate to others
  • Tell me about a time when you really had to pay attention to what someone else was saying, in order to understand their message and be able to act upon it.

problem solving and judgement

  • Tell me about a problem you have recently encountered
  • Tell me about the last problem you could not solve.
  • Give me an example of a problem which required particularly careful thought

results orientation

  • Tell me about the last long term goal you set yourself and how you have achieved it
  • Describe something you have done to improve your own performance
  • Give me an example of when recently you have failed to meet target

teamwork

  • Tell me about how you helped the last person to join your team feel part of the team.
  • Describe a situation where you were successful in getting people to work together effectively.
  • Describe a situation in which you were a member (not a leader) of a team, and a conflict arose within the team. What did you do?

impact and influence

  • Describe a time when you changed someone’s mind.
  • Describe a situation in which you needed to change a decision which had already been made.

innovation

  • Tell me about the most mundane part of your job.  What have you done to make it more interesting or challenging?
  • Tell me about a recent problem in which old solutions wouldn't work.  How did you solve the problem?

leadership

  • Tell me about a time when you had to take the lead role in a group so that it achieved its objective.
  • Describe a situation where you had to lead by example
  • Describe a situation where you inspired others to meet a common goal.

relationship building

  • Give me an example of a client that you have developed an effective win/win relationship with.  How did you go about building the relationship?
  • Tell me about a time when you relied on another person to help you with a work-related task or problem.
  • Give me an example of a time when you deliberately attempted to build rapport with a co-worker or customer.

self-motivation

  • Describe the last time you were under pressure.  What did you do to keep the level of stress manageable?
  • Describe the last time you had to pick yourself up from a disappointment.
  • Tell me about how you managed your day the last time your manager was not around to help, advise, give out work or provide discipline.

strategic thinking

  • Describe how you have changed the way you normally work in response to changes in your industry.
  • Describe a time you created a strategy to achieve a longer term business objective.
  • Describe a time when you had to think strategically in order to make a difficult decision.

initiative

  • Describe when you have had to make a decision by yourself about how something should be done.
  • Give me an example of the last time you were given a piece of work you didn’t know how to do.

attention to detail

  • Tell me about a piece of work you have done where you had to ensure the outcome was perfect.  How did you approach this piece of work?
  • Describe the last time you were given back a piece of work to do again because it contained errors.
  • Give me an example of a time where you had to balance getting the job done well and getting it done quickly.
  • How did you balance these two factors?

conflict management

  • Tell me about a time when you voiced a concern or disagreement to a co-worker
  • Tell me about a time where someone has been unhappy with you or how you work. 

planning and organisation

  • When you were planning your day to fit in this interview, how did you decide which task got top priority?
  • Describe a time when your schedule was suddenly interrupted.
  • When was the last time that you had to take on extra work at short notice?
  • When was the last time that you had to work to a particularly tight deadline?

closing questions in a marketing interview

Typically, as an interview draws to a close, you'll usually be asked questions about the company and your thoughts on the position in question. The more you know about the company, the greater your interest and enthusiasm for working there will seem.

It's therefore vital that you research the company and are aware of their products, services, reputation, business principles, mission statement, competitors, culture and history. 

questions could include:

  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you think about our brand?
  • What do you know about us?
  • What was our company’s share price yesterday?
  • Tell me about our business, products and services.
  • What countries do we operate in?
  • How many divisions do we have?
  • Who is our competition?
  • What differentiates us from our competitors?
  • How do we differ to your last company? 
  • Do you know of any new deals that we’ve recently worked on/closed?
  • In what way do you think you’ll be able to make a contribution to this company?


As the interview draws to a close, you may also be given the opportunity to ask your potential employer a question.  If you feel the interviewer may still have a concern about your suitability for the position, you might want to address this by asking "Do you have any reservations about my suitability for this position?" and then addressing those concerns calmly and with examples.

Good Luck!