17 Speech Writer Interview Questions and Answers

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

The words you use in everyday conversation are different than the ones you’d use to give a speech. And the words you use to write a speech are different than the ones you’d use to write an article or essay. That’s because speech writing is its own distinct form of writing, with its own set of rules and conventions.

If you’re hoping to become a speechwriter, you’ll need to be able to not only write well, but also write quickly and under pressure. You’ll also need to be able to take complex topics and distill them into key points that can be easily understood by a lay audience.

If you’re looking for a job as a speechwriter, you can expect to be asked a range of questions about your writing experience, your ability to work under pressure, and your understanding of the speechwriting process. We’ve compiled a list of sample questions and answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Are you familiar with the AP Style Guide?

The AP Style Guide is a style guide for journalists that outlines the proper way to write news stories. It’s also used by speech writers, so an interviewer may ask this question to see if you’re familiar with it and can use it properly in your work. If you are, share some of the ways you’ve applied its guidelines to your speech writing.

Example: “I am very familiar with the AP Style Guide. In fact, I have been using it since my first job as a speech writer because it helps me ensure that I’m following proper grammar and spelling rules when I write speeches. For example, I learned from the AP Style Guide that there are different rules for capitalizing words depending on whether they’re being used as nouns or adjectives. This helped me avoid making mistakes like mixing up ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ in my speeches.”

What are the most important qualities for a successful speech writer?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your writing style and how you approach a speech. They want to know what skills you have that will help you succeed in their company. In your answer, explain which qualities are most important to you and why they’re beneficial. You can also share an example of when you used one of these qualities in the past.

Example: “The most important quality for a successful speech writer is attention to detail. When I write speeches, I make sure to proofread every sentence multiple times before giving it to my client. This helps ensure there aren’t any mistakes or typos in the speech. It’s also important to be organized and efficient with your time. I always outline my speeches ahead of time so I know exactly what points I’m going to cover.”

How do you keep your writing fresh and relevant?

Speech writing is a unique skill that requires you to be creative and have an understanding of current events. Employers ask this question to make sure you can write speeches that are interesting for their audience. In your answer, explain how you stay up-to-date on current events and what strategies you use to ensure your speech remains relevant.

Example: “I subscribe to several news sources and read them daily. I also watch the evening news every night so I know what’s going on in the world. When I’m working with my clients, I always try to include information about recent developments. This helps me create speeches that are more interesting and engaging for the audience.”

What is your process for researching a topic?

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your research methods and how you apply them to speech writing. Your answer should include a step-by-step process for researching a topic, including the resources you use and how you organize your findings.

Example: “I begin my research by reading through any background information that I can find on the topic. If there is already a speech or presentation written on the subject, I read it thoroughly to understand the key points of the speaker’s argument. Next, I conduct online searches using keywords related to the topic to find additional sources of information. I also look at the citations in these articles to find other relevant sources. Finally, I compile all of my notes into an organized binder so that I can easily refer back to them when writing.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deliver bad news and how you handled it.

Employers ask this question to see how you handle difficult situations. They want to know that you can be honest and compassionate when delivering bad news, even if it’s not your fault. In your answer, try to show that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and that you have the ability to deliver negative information in a positive way.

Example: “When I was working as an event planner, I had to tell my client that we would need to cancel their wedding because of a hurricane. The bride started crying, but I assured her that we would find another date for the wedding. We ended up rescheduling the wedding for two weeks later, which allowed them to get everything they wanted.”

If you could give your past self one piece of advice about being a speech writer, what would it be?

This question is your opportunity to show the interviewer that you have grown as a speech writer and learned from past experiences. Use this question to highlight how your skills, knowledge or attitude has changed since you started in the field.

Example: “If I could give my past self advice about being a speech writer, I would tell myself to be more confident in my writing style. When I first started out, I was afraid of making mistakes and worried about what others thought of me. Now, I know that everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to learn from them. If I had known that earlier, I might have been able to develop my confidence sooner.”

What would you do if you were given a tight deadline and your client was unavailable to meet with you?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you handle stressful situations and whether you have a plan for overcoming challenges. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to meet the deadline and ensure that you stay in communication with your client throughout the process.

Example: “If I was given a tight deadline and my client wasn’t available to meet with me, I would first try to find out as much information about their speech from them before the deadline so I could start writing it on my own. If they were still unavailable when I needed to submit the speech, I would ask if there is anyone else who could provide additional details or feedback on the speech. If not, I would write the speech as best I could and then send it to my client for review once they are available.”

How well do you handle criticism?

As a speech writer, you may receive feedback from your client. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle constructive criticism and use it to improve your writing skills. In your answer, share an example of how you reacted to negative feedback in the past. Explain that you used the feedback to learn new strategies for improving your work.

Example: “I understand that receiving feedback is part of my job as a speech writer. When I get feedback on my speeches, I take time to carefully read through the comments and suggestions. Then, I think about what changes I could make to improve the content. If I’m unsure about how to implement some of the suggestions, I reach out to my supervisor or another colleague for help.”

Do you prefer to work alone or with a team?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you might fit into their company culture. If your potential employer has a collaborative team, it’s important to show that you’re willing to work with others and enjoy collaboration. When answering this question, try to emphasize your ability to collaborate with others and support a team.

Example: “I prefer working alone because I find it easier to focus on my writing when there aren’t distractions. However, I also understand that speechwriting is a collaborative process. I’m always open to feedback from other writers or even the client if they have suggestions for improving my work. I’ve found that by being receptive to feedback, I can create better speeches.”

When you’re in the middle of a project, how do you stay motivated?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your work ethic and how you stay productive. Your answer should show that you are motivated by challenges, enjoy working independently and have good time-management skills.

Example: “I find that I am most motivated when I’m in the middle of a project because I love seeing my ideas come to life on paper. However, if I ever feel unmotivated or overwhelmed, I take a break from writing and do something else for a while. This helps me clear my head and gives me new energy to tackle the speech again.”

We want to increase our use of social media. What strategies would you use to promote our speeches on social media?

Social media is a great way to promote speeches and increase the reach of your content. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience using social media for marketing purposes. In your answer, share two or three strategies that you would use to help their organization’s social media presence.

Example: “I think it’s important to create engaging content on social media. I would write posts with catchy headlines and include images and videos to make them more visually appealing. Another strategy I would use is creating hashtags for each speech so people can find our content easily. I also believe in reposting other people’s content because it helps build our brand awareness.”

Describe your writing process when you’re under pressure to finish a project.

The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your time management skills and how you handle pressure. Your answer should include a description of the steps you take when writing a speech, including any tools or resources you use to stay organized.

Example: “I always start by researching my topic thoroughly so I can understand it well enough to write an outline. Then, I create an outline for the speech that includes all of the main points I want to cover. After that, I begin writing the speech itself, making sure to cite any sources I used during my research. Finally, I proofread the speech one last time before submitting it to my client.”

What makes you the best candidate for this speech writing 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 you have that relate to speech writing. Think about what makes you unique compared to other candidates.

Example: “I am passionate about public speaking and communication. I’ve been giving speeches since high school, so I know how important it is to write effective speeches for my clients. In addition to having experience in speech writing, I also have a degree in communications. This means I understand the importance of clear and concise language when writing speeches.”

Which speech writers do you admire and why?

This question can help an interviewer learn more about your speech writing experience and how you developed as a writer. You can answer this question by naming several writers you admire, explaining why they are inspiring to you and what you have learned from them.

Example: “I admire the speeches of President Barack Obama because he was able to deliver powerful messages that inspired people across the country. I also admire the speeches of former First Lady Michelle Obama because she always spoke with such passion and emotion. Her speeches were so moving and helped me understand how important it is to connect with my audience through my words.”

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when working with clients?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you will work with their team and clients. Your answer should show that you value your client’s opinions, ideas and time. You can also mention a specific way you helped a client in the past.

Example: “I think it is important to always listen to my clients’ opinions and ideas. I have found that they are experts on their topics and know what information they want to share. I try to take detailed notes during our meetings so I can remember all of their preferences when writing their speeches. In the past, I worked with a client who was an expert in dog training. He told me he wanted his speech to be funny but informative. I wrote jokes into his speech while still making sure the audience learned something.”

How often do you update your skills and knowledge as a speech writer?

Employers want to know that you’re committed to your career and are always looking for ways to improve. They may ask this question to see if you have any formal education in speech writing or public speaking, but they also want to know how you stay up-to-date on current events and trends. In your answer, explain what steps you take to keep learning about the industry and improving your skills as a writer.

Example: “I am currently enrolled in an online course through the National Association of Professional Speakers. I find it helpful to attend conferences and networking events where I can meet other professionals in my field. I also subscribe to several newsletters from leading speech writers and public speakers. These resources help me learn more about the latest technology and techniques.”

There is a disconnect between what your client wants to say and how they actually communicate. How would you handle this situation?

This question is a great way to determine how well you can adapt your writing style to fit the needs of your client. It also shows that the interviewer wants to know if you have experience working with clients who may not be as eloquent in their speech or writing skills.

Example: “I’ve had this situation come up many times throughout my career, and I find it’s best to meet with the client one-on-one to discuss what they want to say and then write out the speech for them. This allows me to make sure that the message is clear and concise while still being able to convey the emotion behind the words.”


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