Nail Your Editing Interview: Expert Tips for Fielding Top Questions and Showcasing Your Skills

This interview profile for an editor gives you an idea of what to look for in candidates and a range of good interview questions.

Former Community Manager at Workable specialized in employee experience, talent brands and our event series, Workable Ideas.

If you have an interview coming up for an editing role, proper preparation will be key to landing the job. Editors play a crucial part in shaping engaging content and upholding a publication’s standards. Hiring managers will want to assess your skills in storytelling, collaboration, project management, and more.

This comprehensive guide explores the most common editing interview questions you’re likely to encounter. Read on for insights into crafting winning responses, along with examples and tips for making yourself stand out as the ideal candidate. With the right approach, you can highlight your talents and seamlessly transition into your dream editing job.

What Types of Content Inspire You?

This fundamental question reveals your literary tastes and influences. When discussing what you read:

  • Name authors, publications, genres, topics, and writing styles that you find stimulating. Be as specific as possible.

  • Explain what draws you to those works – strong narratives, beautiful language, nuanced characters, timely themes, etc

  • Share how those preferences shape your own editorial vision and approach. For example, a love of long-form profiles may lead you to favor in-depth human interest pieces.

  • If any inspiring non-written media comes to mind like podcasts or visual mediums, feel free to mention those as well.

How Has Your Background Prepared You for This Role?

Use this opportunity to connect your experience to the position’s requirements:

  • Highlight both hard skills (editing, writing, publishing platforms) and soft skills (leadership, collaboration) gained in past jobs.

  • Share examples of specific accomplishments that make you qualified, like launching new verticals or improving social media engagement.

  • For junior roles discuss transferable skills from schoolwork internships, or volunteer work. Focus on your potential.

  • Convey why this next career step excites you and how your trajectory has led you here organically.

How Do You Stay Motivated on Repetitive Editing Tasks?

Editing inevitably involves meticulous work like proofreading. This question tests your stamina. To stand out:

  • Emphasize understanding the value of accuracy in every small task that builds to the finished product.

  • Share tips and tricks you use to stay focused like taking breaks, creating checklists, or setting mini-deadlines.

  • If you find certain mundane tasks rewarding, explain why – some enjoy polishing prose or adding visual details.

  • Convey passion for the overarching creative process and final result, which makes each step worthwhile.

What Social Platforms Increase Content Reach?

Editors need a keen grasp of digital media. When discussing platforms:

  • Name specific platforms that align well with the publication’s content types and target demographics.

  • Offer insights into how each platform’s features can effectively extend reach based on your experience.

  • Share any successes you’ve had in driving social engagement and conversions for published pieces. Provide metrics.

  • Demonstrate knowledge of emerging platforms and willingness to continually educate yourself as the digital landscape evolves.

How Would You Foster Strong Writer Relationships?

Editing requires close collaboration with writers. To demonstrate people skills:

  • Emphasize respect, transparency, and bilateral communication when giving feedback. Discuss your constructive approach.

  • Share tactics for mentorship like providing resources, being available for questions, and celebrating successes.

  • Convey that you seek writers’ input to understand their goals and creative vision for each piece.

  • Provide examples of building camaraderie and a supportive team culture in past roles.

Can You Describe Your Editing Process From Start To Finish?

Hiring managers want to understand your workflow. When describing your process:

  • Explain how you begin with the writer’s draft and develop a plan for strengthening the piece.

  • Walk through the stages of your edits from big picture down to line edits – transitions, structure, citations, grammar, etc.

  • Share how you collaborate with writers throughout, obtaining their feedback and working as partners.

  • Discuss how you ensure edits align with house style, editorial guidelines, and target audience needs.

  • Convey your focus on upholding standards while maintaining the writer’s original intent and voice.

How Do You Prioritize When Multiple Projects Compete for Your Time?

Editors juggle shifting priorities. Discuss how you:

  • Gather details on all projects and deadlines to identify which need immediate attention. Ask clarifying questions.

  • Determine if resources can be shared across projects for efficiency.

  • Realign due dates if feasible based on business needs and downstream impacts.

  • Communicate timeline changes promptly with stakeholders when delays are unavoidable.

  • Remain calm under pressure and focused on delivering quality despite last-minute curveballs.

How Do You Ensure Content Is Accurate and Ethical?

For this question, highlight your commitment to:

  • Thoroughly vetting sources, statistics, quotes, and facts presented in each piece.

  • Pushing writers to provide ample supporting evidence for all claims.

  • Using original images that adhere to copyright and fair use standards.

  • Overseeing a legal review for potentially sensitive content.

  • Addressing complaints of errors or ethical issues through transparent action like corrections.

What Feedback Do You Have On Our Publication?

Come prepared with constructive insights tailored to the role:

  • Compliment what the publication does well, citing specific stories or sections you admire.

  • Respectfully suggest areas for improvement you could help drive in the editorial role like boosting social referrals or introducing new content formats.

  • Avoid overly broad critiques. Focus on observations that reflect close familiarity with their work.

  • Ask about short and long-term goals you could partner on, like a rebrand or expanding verticals.

Why Are You Uniquely Suited For This Position?

Conclude by circling back to why you’re the candidate they’ve been searching for.

  • Summarize your most relevant hard and soft skills for the role.

  • Share why the publication specifically excites you and aligns with your editorial passions.

  • Convey your flexibility to adapt to their needs and eagerness to grow personally and professionally.

  • End on a warm, enthusiastic note that leaves no doubt you’re ready to hit the ground running and excel in the position if hired.

By preparing clear, thoughtful responses to popular editing interview questions, you can confidently showcase your abilities. Remember to also spend time practicing aloud and roleplaying answers with a friend. Master the art of the editing interview, and you’ll be ready to ace the real thing.

Additional Editing Interview Questions to Expect

Beyond the most common questions, here is some additional helpful advice on handling other queries that may come up:

What’s Your Experience with Editorial Calendars and Long-Term Planning?

Highlight your ability to balance big-picture planning with day-to-day prioritization. Share examples of effective editorial calendars you’ve created, including key elements like themes, content formats, and tie-ins to seasonal topics or current events. Convey your understanding of how planning supports consistency and maximizes impact over time.

How Do You Track Content Performance? What Metrics Matter Most?

Quantifying success is crucial. Discuss metrics like pageviews, social shares, links, scroll depth, and conversion rates that you analyze to guide strategy. Share examples of how you’ve iterated based on data to continually improve content. Convey expertise with web analytics platforms and commitment to optimizing based on sound data.

Tell Us About a Time You Faced a Serious Editorial Challenge. How Did You Handle It?

Editing hiccups happen. Collect your thoughts and walk through a real example professionally. Explain the situation calmly, being careful not to disparage others. Share thoughtful actions you took to address the issue while limiting fallout. Emphasize lessons you learned about safeguards to prevent similar challenges going forward. Stay solutions-focused.

How Do You Stay On Top of Industry Trends and Best Practices?

Lifelong learning is key in editing. Share resources that help you stay knowledgeable – industry publications, events, social media, podcasts, etc. Give examples of implementing new best practices, like leveraging interactive content formats. Convey passion for your craft and a proactive approach to continuous skills development.

Describe Your Experience With SEO and How It Informs Your Editing.

SEO expertise is a major plus. Discuss optimizing content for visibility by using strategic keywords, formatting elements like meta descriptions, and ensuring strong page structure. Share examples of significantly increasing search performance. Convey eagerness to continue honing your SEO skills.

Ask thoughtful questions yourself to wrap up the interview on a strong note. This shows your engagement and interest in the publication’s mission and needs. With the right blend of preparation, poise under pressure, and genuine enthusiasm, you’ll be ready to wow as the top editing talent they can’t afford to pass up.

What publishing platforms have you used before?

This provides insight into the candidate’s technical proficiency and adaptability to different publishing environments.

“I’ve worked extensively with WordPress and Medium. I’ve also had experience with Joomla and Ghost, allowing me to adapt quickly to different content management systems. ”.

Describe your experience with creating style guides.

Custom style guides can be essential for brands to maintain a unique voice and consistency.

“I developed a custom style guide for XYZ Magazine, focusing on their unique voice, terminology, and audience preferences. It ensured consistency across all content. ”.

Video Editor Interview Questions and Answers


How to prepare for an editing interview?

For editorial roles, as with any creative role, use a portfolio of work samples to jumpstart the conversation. You’ll get the most out of your interviews if you can see how their previous work is aligned with the kind of work you want to produce. Editors are also project managers.

Why should we hire you as an editor?

Hiring managers want to know that you have the skills and expertise to succeed in an editing role. Because of this, they often ask questions about your industry experience and educational background. When they ask these questions, consider which of your previous experiences best demonstrate your ability to do the job.

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