17 Press Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a press assistant, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Working as a press assistant is a great way to start your career in the publishing industry. This entry-level position is responsible for helping the publishing team with a variety of tasks, such as preparing manuscripts for printing, managing inventory, and handling customer service inquiries.

If you’re looking to land a job as a press assistant, you’ll need to be prepared to answer some common interview questions. In this guide, you’ll find tips on how to answer questions about your experience, your knowledge of the publishing industry, and your customer service skills.

Are you comfortable working in a fast-paced environment?

Working as a press assistant can be quite busy, especially when there are multiple deadlines to meet. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and that you have the ability to multitask. In your answer, explain how you handle stress and prioritize tasks.

Example: “I am definitely comfortable working in a fast-paced environment. I thrive under pressure and always manage to get my work done on time. When I worked at my previous job, we had several deadlines every day. I got used to handling many different tasks at once and learned how to prioritize them. I also developed good time management skills.”

What are some of the skills you have that make you a good fit for a press assistant role?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have the skills and abilities needed for this role. You can list some of your soft skills, such as communication, organization or time management skills, along with any hard skills you may have, like computer software knowledge or writing ability.

Example: “I am a highly organized person who has always been able to keep track of many different projects at once. I also have excellent attention to detail, which helps me proofread documents for errors before they are sent out to the public. Finally, I am very comfortable using computers and other office equipment, so I would be able to learn new programs quickly.”

How would you handle working with difficult or demanding people?

Press assistants often work with journalists, editors and other members of the media. These people can be demanding or difficult to work with at times. An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you would handle a challenging situation. In your answer, try to show that you have strong communication and problem-solving skills.

Example: “I think it’s important to always treat others with respect. If someone is being demanding or difficult, I would first make sure they know I am willing to help them in any way possible. Then, I would do my best to meet their needs while also maintaining my own boundaries. If I feel like something is unreasonable, I would explain why I cannot complete the task and offer an alternative solution.”

What is your experience with writing and editing?

Press assistants often need to write and edit articles for publication. Employers ask this question to learn about your writing and editing experience. Use your answer to share what you’ve done in these areas. If you have a background in journalism, include that information.

Example: “I worked as a journalist for my college newspaper. I wrote several stories each week on different topics. I also edited many of the other writers’ pieces before they were published. This helped me develop my proofreading skills and gave me valuable experience with deadlines. I learned how to work quickly while still making sure everything was accurate.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to manage multiple tasks at once.

Press assistants often have to multitask, so employers ask this question to see if you can handle it well. When answering this question, try to describe a time when you had multiple tasks and how you handled them all at once.

Example: “When I was working as a press assistant for the local newspaper, I would usually have three or four assignments going on at once. One day, I had to write an article, proofread another reporter’s work and answer phone calls while also helping my editor with some administrative duties. It was a busy day, but I managed to get everything done by the end of the day.”

If you were given a list of names and phone numbers, what is the best method you would use to identify connections between them?

This question is a test of your ability to use data analysis software and identify connections between people. It also tests your attention to detail, as you will be required to carefully read the names and phone numbers provided to you.

Example: “I would first enter all of the information into a database program like Access or MySQL. Then I would run a query that compares each person’s name with every other person in the list. If there are any matches, I would then check for commonalities between them, such as shared addresses or phone numbers.”

What would you do if you made a mistake while working on a press release?

Press releases are often time-sensitive, so it’s important to avoid mistakes. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to fix your mistake and learn from it. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to correct the error and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Example: “If I made a mistake while working on a press release, I would immediately contact my supervisor or editor to let them know about the issue. Then, I would work with them to figure out the best way to fix the problem. If I was able to fix the mistake before the deadline, I would do that. However, if not, I would write an addendum to be published later.”

How well do you understand the concept of intellectual property?

Press assistants often work with content that is copyrighted or trademarked. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the concept of intellectual property and how it applies to their company. In your answer, explain what intellectual property is and why it’s important. Share a story about a time when you worked with copyright-protected material.

Example: “I have always been interested in the concept of intellectual property. I took an elective course on media law during my undergraduate program, so I learned quite a bit about copyright and trademark laws. During my internship at a publishing house last summer, I was tasked with finding images for a new book release. When searching through stock photo websites, I noticed many of the photos were copyrighted. I had to find alternative sources for those photos.”

Do you have experience using press release distribution services?

Press release distribution services are a common way to get news published in online and print publications. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience using these services and how you used them. In your answer, share which press release distribution service you’ve used before and what you liked about it. Explain that you’re willing to learn new ones as needed.

Example: “I’ve used PR Newswire for my previous job. I like the fact that it’s free to submit press releases there. It also has a lot of reputable media outlets on its network. However, I’m open to learning more about other services too. I know that some companies prefer to use different ones.”

When given a list of tasks to complete, how do you prioritize them?

Press assistants often have a lot of tasks to complete in a day. Employers ask this question to make sure you can prioritize your work and get the most important things done first. In your answer, explain how you would go about prioritizing your tasks. Explain that you will look at each task and decide which one is most urgent or needs to be completed by a certain time.

Example: “I would start with the most urgent task and then move on to the next most urgent. I would also consider any deadlines for when I need to finish each task. If there are multiple urgent tasks, I would do them in order of importance.”

We want to improve our social media presence. Describe one strategy you would use to increase engagement on our company’s social media accounts.

Press assistants often need to create content for social media accounts. An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with social media and how you would use it to benefit their company. In your answer, explain one strategy you used in the past that helped increase engagement on a brand’s social media account.

Example: “I have worked with several brands that had low engagement rates on their social media channels. I always start by looking at what type of content they are posting and if it is relevant to their audience. If not, I work with them to create better content that will resonate with their followers. After creating new content, I then analyze the best times to post to get the most engagement from their followers. This process has helped many brands improve their social media presence.”

Describe your experience with using video editing software.

Video editing software is a common skill for press assistants to have. This question helps employers determine if you have the necessary skills to complete your job duties. Use your answer to highlight any experience you have with video editing software and how it helped you in your previous roles.

Example: “I’ve used several different types of video editing software, including Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. In my last role as a media specialist, I was responsible for creating weekly videos that included highlights from our sports teams. Using these programs allowed me to create professional-quality content while also saving time by allowing me to edit footage on my own.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and abilities.

Example: “I have three years of experience as a press assistant, which has given me valuable insight into what it takes to work in a fast-paced environment. I am also familiar with many different types of software used by journalists, including social media management tools. This knowledge makes me an excellent candidate because I know exactly what is expected of me when working with reporters.”

Which industries do you have experience working in?

Press assistants often work with journalists and other media professionals. Employers ask this question to learn more about your background and experience working in the media industry. Before your interview, make a list of all the industries you’ve worked in. Think about which ones are most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Share two or three experiences that helped you develop skills that will help you succeed as a press assistant.

Example: “I have experience working in both print and online journalism. I also worked at a local radio station where I learned how to write news stories and produce podcasts. These experiences taught me valuable communication and time management skills. They also gave me an understanding of what it’s like to work in a fast-paced environment.”

What do you think is the most important skill for a press assistant to possess?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you possess the skills necessary for this role. You can answer by identifying a skill and explaining how it helps you succeed in your job.

Example: “The most important skill for a press assistant is communication, as we work with many different people from all over the organization. I think it’s essential to be able to clearly communicate information so everyone understands what they need to do. In my last position, I was responsible for communicating deadlines to writers and editors, which helped me develop my ability to speak confidently on the phone and write concisely.”

How often do you think press releases should be published?

This question can help interviewers understand your knowledge of the industry and how you might fit in. Your answer should show that you have a strong understanding of what is expected from press releases, including frequency and content.

Example: “I think it depends on the company’s goals for publishing press releases. For example, if they are looking to get media attention, I would recommend at least one release per month. If they’re just trying to reach their target audience, then once or twice a quarter may be sufficient. In my last role, we published two to three times a week depending on the season.”

There is a mistake in a story a journalist is working on. What is your process for addressing it?

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle mistakes and errors in the workplace. It is important to be honest about your process for addressing these issues, as it can show that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions.

Example: “If I notice a mistake in a story before publication, I will immediately let my journalist know so they can fix it. If I see an error after publication, I will contact the journalist who wrote the piece and ask them if they would like me to correct it or write a correction. If they decide to write a correction, I will work with them to ensure it is published on time.”


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