15 Rhetorical Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position where Rhetorical skills will be used.

Rhetorical questions are those that don’t require an answer because the answer is already implied or assumed. For example, a question like “Are you sure you want to do that?” is rhetorical, because the speaker is assuming that the answer is “no.”

Rhetorical questions can be useful in interviews, because they can help you gauge whether or not a candidate has the skills or qualities you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interviewing a candidate for a customer service job, you might ask a rhetorical question like “What would you do if a customer was unhappy with their purchase?”

The key to using rhetorical questions effectively in an interview is to make sure that they’re actually relevant to the position you’re hiring for. If a question isn’t going to help you assess a candidate’s suitability for the job, then there’s no point in asking it. With that in mind, here are some examples of rhetorical questions that could be useful in different types of interviews.

1. What is rhetoric?

This question tests your knowledge of rhetoric and how you apply it to your work. You can define rhetoric, explain its importance in communication and describe the steps involved in rhetorical analysis.

Example: “Rhetoric is a form of communication that uses language to persuade an audience. It’s important for public relations professionals because we use it to create messages that resonate with our target audiences. There are three main steps to rhetorical analysis:

Identify the purpose of the message. Determine who the intended audience is. Analyze the elements of the message, including diction, tone, structure and organization.”

2. Can you explain what the rhetorical triangle is?

This is a common question that interviewers ask to test your rhetorical skills. The rhetorical triangle is a concept in rhetoric that describes three elements of effective communication: logos, ethos and pathos. You can answer this question by defining each element of the rhetorical triangle and explaining how you use it in your own work.

Example: “The rhetorical triangle is a concept that defines three elements of effective communication: logos, ethos and pathos. Logos refers to the logical appeal of a message, ethos refers to the credibility of the speaker and pathos refers to the emotional appeal of a message. I use the rhetorical triangle when crafting my messages because it helps me ensure that I am using all aspects of communication effectively.”

3. What are some common methods of proof used in rhetoric?

Proof is a common rhetorical concept that can be used in many different ways. The interviewer may ask this question to see how you apply proof to your arguments and support your claims. In your answer, explain the three main types of proof and give an example of each type.

Example: “There are three main types of proof—logical, emotional and circumstantial. Logical proof uses facts or statistics to show why something is true. For instance, if I were trying to prove that it’s important for students to get enough sleep every night, I might use logical proof by citing studies that show the negative effects of not getting enough sleep on learning and memory. Emotional proof appeals to the audience’s emotions to convince them of something. If I wanted to persuade my friend to go out with me tonight, I could use emotional proof by telling her about all the fun we would have together.”

4. Who was Aristotle and why is he important to rhetoric?

This question tests your knowledge of rhetorical history. It also shows the interviewer that you can apply what you’ve learned to real-world situations.

Example: “Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who lived from 384 BC to 322 BC. He is considered one of the most important thinkers in Western philosophy, and he’s known for his contributions to rhetoric. Aristotle believed that rhetoric should be used to persuade people to act virtuously. He developed three types of appeals—ethos, logos and pathos—that are still used today.”

5. How do you think we can improve our ability to persuade others?

This question can give you the opportunity to show your knowledge of rhetorical skills and how they apply in a professional setting. You can answer this question by giving examples of how you’ve used rhetorical skills to persuade others in the past, or you can explain what you think is most important when using these skills.

Example: “I believe that one of the best ways we can improve our ability to persuade others is through active listening. When I’m speaking with someone who has opposing views, I try my best to listen to their arguments and respond thoughtfully. This helps me understand where they’re coming from and shows them that I respect their opinions.”

6. Is it possible to use rhetoric for negative purposes? If yes, then how?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of rhetoric and how it can be used for both positive and negative purposes. You should answer this question by explaining that while you can use rhetoric for negative purposes, it’s not the best approach because it will likely lead to more conflict than resolution.

Example: “Yes, it is possible to use rhetoric for negative purposes. However, I would never recommend doing so because it could lead to further conflict rather than resolution. Instead, I prefer using rhetorical skills in a positive manner to help people understand each other better and find common ground.”

7. What does a rhetorician study?

This question is a basic test of your knowledge about the field. It also tests how well you can explain what rhetorical skills are and why they’re important to know. Your answer should include a definition of rhetoric, an explanation of its importance and examples of rhetorical skills.

Example: “Rhetoric is the study of effective communication. A rhetorician studies how people communicate with each other in order to understand how language affects our thoughts and feelings. Rhetorical skills are techniques that help us use language more effectively. For example, one rhetorical skill is parallelism, which is when we repeat words or phrases in different ways to emphasize a point.”

8. Can you give me an example of how logos is used in rhetoric?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of rhetorical skills and how they can be used in everyday life. When answering this question, it’s important to provide an example that shows logos in action.

Example: “Logos is the use of logic or reasoning to persuade someone. In my last job as a marketing manager, I had to create a campaign for a new product launch. My team and I decided on using logos because we wanted to appeal to our target audience by showing them why our product was better than our competitors’. We created a list of reasons why our product was superior and included those points in all of our advertisements.”

9. Can you give me an example of how ethos is used in rhetoric?

Ethos is one of the three rhetorical skills, along with pathos and logos. Ethos refers to a speaker’s credibility or trustworthiness. It can be used in many ways, such as through personal anecdotes or by showing that you have knowledge about a subject.

Example: “Ethos is an important part of rhetoric because it allows us to establish our credibility. In my last job, I had to give a speech at a conference on how technology has changed business communication. I wanted to show that I was knowledgeable about this topic so I researched the history of business communication and found some interesting facts that I could use during my presentation.”

10. Can you give me an example of how pathos is used in rhetoric?

Pathos is one of the three rhetorical appeals, or ways to persuade an audience. The other two are ethos and logos. Pathos refers to emotions that can be used in a speech to convince listeners to take action. When answering this question, it’s important to show your understanding of how pathos works and give examples of when you’ve used it effectively.

Example: “Pathos is the appeal to emotion. In my last job as a public speaker, I gave a speech about the importance of voting. During my speech, I talked about some of the issues our country was facing and how they could be solved by voting for certain candidates. This appealed to the emotions of the crowd, which helped them understand why voting was so important.”

11. Can you explain what kairos means?

Kairos is a rhetorical term that refers to the right time for an argument. This question can help interviewers assess your knowledge of rhetoric and how you apply it in your work. In your answer, try to explain what kairos means and give examples of when you’ve used this concept in your own arguments.

Example: “Kairos is a Greek word that translates to ‘the right moment.’ It’s important to use kairos in persuasive writing because it helps writers understand when their audience is most receptive to their message. For example, I once wrote an article about the importance of funding public education. My goal was to convince state legislators to increase funding for schools. I timed my publication so that it would be released just before the legislature started its budgeting process. The timing helped me reach my target audience at a time when they were more likely to read my piece.”

12. How can you use rhetoric effectively in writing?

This question can help the interviewer assess your rhetorical skills and how you apply them to writing. Use examples from past experiences where you used rhetoric in your writing, such as using parallelism or personification.

Example: “In my last position, I wrote a lot of marketing content for our company’s website. In one instance, I was tasked with creating an article that would convince customers to buy our product instead of our competitors’. To do this, I researched other articles about our industry and found several commonalities among competitor websites. Then, I incorporated these elements into my own article to show consumers why they should choose our brand over others.”

13. What are some ways to be more persuasive during a conversation?

This question can help the interviewer understand your rhetorical skills and how you apply them to a professional setting. You can answer this question by providing examples of how you use persuasive language in your everyday life, such as when speaking with friends or family members.

Example: “I find that being more persuasive during a conversation is all about using strong rhetoric. For example, I recently had an argument with my brother over politics. He was very adamant about his views on one political party while I supported another. Instead of getting frustrated, I used some rhetorical strategies to convince him why our political parties were better than his. I explained the benefits of each party’s policies and how they could benefit the country. After a few minutes, he agreed with me.”

14. Why should I care about rhetoric?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you understand the importance of rhetorical skills and how they can help you succeed in your career. When answering this question, it’s important to emphasize why rhetoric is useful for communication and how it can benefit your future employer.

Example: “Rhetoric is an essential skill because it helps us communicate more effectively with others. In my previous role as a marketing manager, I used rhetorical skills to create effective content for our company’s social media accounts. This helped me develop strategies that increased brand awareness and sales.”

15. What’s your favorite quote on rhetoric?

This question is a great way to see how much you know about rhetoric and what your favorite quotes are. You can use this opportunity to show the interviewer that you have an extensive knowledge of rhetorical history, as well as which quotes resonate with you personally.

Example: “My favorite quote on rhetoric comes from Aristotle himself. ‘Rhetoric is the ability, in each case, to make whatever you say seem true and reasonable.’ I think this quote is so important because it shows just how powerful rhetoric can be when used correctly. It’s also one of the reasons why I’m pursuing a career in public speaking.”


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