How would you find out if someone could repair a car? You would give them a car to repair. How do know if someone can prepare an excellent Italian risotto? You give them rice and other ingredients, and watch them working in the kitchen. And you will have a bite once they are done…
And how can you know if someone excels in writing ad copies, promotional articles, or a blog content? You ask them to write a piece of content, and let the target audience to evaluate it. Either with their words, or with their buying patterns.
It’s not as simple in a copywriter job interview, however. Your former writings (displayed in your portfolio), or works you prepared only for this interview, will play a major role in the hiring process. But even the best works don’t necessarily guarantee that you will succeed in your interview.
In any digital or marketing agency you will work with people. Colleagues, clients, freelancers, legal bodies–you will cooperate with them, report to them, or they will report to you. And you will also work with some technology.
Interviewers will ask you questions to test whether you are ready to handle both–people, and technology. And they will inquire also about your motivation, and your future… Let’s have a look at some of the questions.
Why do you want to work as a copywriter?
Focus on skills and abilities that make from you an excellent candidate for this job. Say that you believe to write content which sells, content which drives reader/visitor to a desired action.
Show them that you understand what it means to write a good copy. You can also refer to the content they typically create, their websites, campaigns, ads, and how they resonate with your style and texts you love to write. Say not only why you want to work as a writer, but also why you want to work for them, and not another digital agency in the city.
Why employment and not freelancing?
World is hungry for content, and a freelancer can get much more money for each piece they write. What is more, employers want to ensure that you won’t leave them after three months, once you gain some experience, have a peak at their client list, and feel ready to work independently.
You can say that you love creating content, but do not want to hassle with sales, client acquisition, accounting, taxes, and all other duties that belong to a career of a freelancer. You simply want to focus on creating content.
Another good answer is saying that working for a digital agency (publishing house, big corporation) allows you to participate on big campaigns with huge coverage, projects that can have some impact on a national or even international scale. You can hardly achieve that as a freelancer…
What piece of writing do you consider your best work so far?
Time to take a portfolio out of your briefcase (or open one on a screen of your laptop), and show them some works.
Now, you should look at the word “best” from the position of an employer, or of your former client. The best piece of work is the one that meets the purpose of its creation. It is not the most beautiful one, or one that got reward in a competition for artists.
A good ad copy is one that sells. A good video is one that attracts shares and talk, and becomes viral (at least when that was a goal of the person who ordered the creation of the particular video).
I hope you got the point. Show the interviewers that you can see work from their perspective, and understand what will be expected from you in your job.
What is your knowledge of SEO? Do you try to optimize your content for search engines?
This is a tricky question. Search engines are becoming smarter every day, and optimizing article with keywords and tags won’t have much impact on the ranking of your article.
As a good copywriter, you should not write for Google. You should write for your target audience. Google will figure things out. If people stay long enough on your website, if they enjoy reading the article, Google will know it, and take it into consideration.
Say that you understand basics of SEO, but always write your content for people who are supposed to read it, and not for the crawlers and spiders and other machines who browse the internet.
Idea for you: Download all questions in a one page long PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:
Can you work with WordPress? Can you work with this or that blogging platform/software program?
You won’t submit your works on paper, and you won’t write with an ink pen (though it would be nice if we could do it sometimes).
Show the interviewers that you are ready to use the modern tools, which make our work efficient and also more ecological. Say how long you’ve been working with this or that platform, and you can even pick two or three reasons why (in your opinion) it is better than other, competing platforms or software packages.
You can also ensure the interviewers that you are a quick learner, and will master any software they use in their company in no time…
Behavioral questions you may get in your copywriter interview
- Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
- Tell us about an obstacle you successfully overcame.
- Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service.
- Tell us about a time when you struggled to meet a tight deadline with your work.
- Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to your boss, colleague, or to a customer. How did you manage to get your message over?
- Tell us about a time when you used persuasion to convince someone.
- Describe a time when you experienced a conflict of your personal and professional interests. How did you get over it?
- Have you even worked on a project that was a failure. Why did it fail?
Special tip: Not sure how to answer the behavioral questions, “tell us about a time when…”, “describe a situation…”, etc? Have a look at our Interview Success Package, where you’ll find up to 10 premium answers to more than 100 interview questions, including 30+ behavioral questions–basically everything a hiring manager can throw at you in an interview for a Copywriter job.
What’s more, these are premium answers, not available to general public. They will help you stand out in an interview and outclass your competitors–something you typically have to do in a competitive interview like this one, if you want to walk away with a new employment contract…
Many people underestimate the difficulty of their interview for a position of a copywriter. They believe that once they can write an excellent copy, they are guaranteed to succeed in this interview.
They forget that employment in a corporation (of any size) is also about relationships, motivation, and teamwork. Do not make the same mistake. Prepare also for the behavioral questions, and ensure that they won’t catch you off guard on a big day. I wish you good luck!
May also interest you:
- How to overcome interview nerves – simple guide on how to get your anxiety under control and finally deliver on the big day.
- Salary negotiation tips – Salaries for copywriters vary greatly from one place to another. Can you negotiate the best possible offer for yourself?