Even Manager belongs to popular job titles, and you will always compete with other people for the position.

What is more, education doesn’t really matter for this role, and most applicants won’t have relevant working experience. In such scenarios, the interview answers, and personal preferences of the interviews, decide who will get the job at the end.

Will it be you?

Hiring managers will ask you mostly situational and behavioral questions, trying to understand your attitude to various situations and problems event managers and planners are confronted with in their daily job.

* Please note that since the desired skills set for event planners and managers overlap, interview questions will also be similar. Continue reading regardless of which of the two roles you will interview for.

But they will also observe your communication skills and demeanor, trying to figure out whether you can handle all the meetings and phone calls (which are often far from pleasant) that form a daily bread of an event manager.

Now I will analyze the questions you may get, and show you how to answer them.  Let’s start!

 

Why do you want to work as an event manager or planner?

Focus on the value you can bring to your employer and clients. That means–your skills that make from you an excellent candidate for the job (communication and negotiation skills, planning and budgeting skills, stress resistance), your connections in the industry, experience with similar jobs (if you have any), etc.

You should speak with enthusiasm, and show them that you enjoy doing what event managers typically do. You can also point out specific duties that belong to this job–it is indeed a unique position, and say that from all job offers you read, this one caught your eye…

Two men talk in a job interview in a nice office

How do you imagine a typical day in work of an Event Manager or Event Planner?

Say that you expect to be extremely busy, but at the same time you prefer to stay organized. You can say that you expect to spend most of your days on the call or in the meetings, arranging things with vendors, partners, clients, employees, and everyone else involved in the organization of an event.

Spending time in the events, and managing things on the go, is also an important part of this job, similarly to the administrative work (budgeting, invoicing, etc). You should convince the interviewers that you have a realistic idea of the job and your responsibilities, and do not expect an easy ride.

 

Do you have any relevant working experience?

The truth is that no other job can prepare you completely for the position in event management. At the same time, however, given the complexity of the job, everything you did has at least somehow helped you to get ready for this role. You just have to find this connection.

Have you done anything in sales, or customer service? You’ll use these skills as an event manager while talking to vendors, clients, suppliers and other bodies. Have you ever worked as a financial analyst, accountant, or even an administrative clerk? Again, you will use the skills you learned in these positions, while budgeting and invoicing.

Show the interviewers that you understand the connection, and feel confident about your ability to handle the job.

 

What criteria would you consider when choosing a venue for an event?

There are many things you can, and should consider. First and foremost the size of the venue, and whether it can accommodate both attendees, and performers. Technical requirements comes hand in hand with it–a concert of a rock star requires different venue than a catering festival.

Second criteria are costs associated with renting the place, but also with transport of necessary equipment and people. It is important to mention this criteria, since a good event manager always tries to save money of their employer, and get the best possible deal for them.

Then we have many other, secondary factors, such as the mood/ambience of the place, the popularity in the target group, the quality of staff on site, location, accessibility, and parking space, additional services, etc.

Job seeker uses his hands to emphasize his words in a job interview

Do you have any experience with price negotiation? How would you negotiate the best price with suppliers and clients?

This is a tricky question. You can say that you plan to build excellent relationship with your clients and suppliers, and aim for long term partnerships, which allow you to get better deals. Saying this, you also indicate that you are in for a long run, and won’t leave your employer as soon as you feel ready to start your own business.

You can also say that you plan to do an in-detail research and spy on competition, to understand the price range and room for negotiation, in any given segment of the market.

 

Imagine that you should plan and organize a business conference for executives from banking industry, approximately one hundred people. What steps would you take?

A very difficult question, but perhaps the best one they can ask you in this interview. Your answer reveals your way of thinking and whether you know what it takes to plan and manage the event, from scratch to success.

In my opinion and experience, the key is to come up with a systematic answer. You should present a clear system of steps, and there should be some logic in your ideas.

You can say something like this:

I would start with imagining the conference, and what would happen there, from morning to evening. I would visualize the experience from the position of the executives, why they came there, what they expected. For sure there would be some lectures, networking, and excellent catering. I would also discuss this with a client, to ensure that my image of a successful conference correlates with their ideas, and the goals they try to achieve while organizing the conference.

Once I have this image in my mind, I can understand what sort of venue do we need, how many employees, what kind of services, and everything. This should help me with budgeting the event, and come up with a final price for the client. Once we agreed on budget, and who’s responsible for marketing of the event, I’ll start organizing everything necessary, either in cooperation with my existing connections-vendors and suppliers, or looking for new one.

I’d make a plan and schedule, and assign tasks to my colleagues or to myself, and then work everyday according to the schedule, ensuring that everything is at place and we progress according to the plan. Of course some problems may arise–organizational, legal, problems with a supplier or anything else, and I’ll address them as they come.

On the day of the event I’d be on site, and on the call, overseeing the entire operation and ensuring that everything works as it should, and everyone handles their job at the venue. Once the event is over I’d collect feedback from everyone involved in the conference, and create a report accordingly, both internal one and for a for a client…

Older manager leads an interview with a female job applicant

Other questions you may get in your interview in event planning and management

  • How do you manage stress on the day of the event?
  • Imagine that a lighting system failed during an event, and everyone stayed in the dark. What would you do?
  • Describe a conflict you had with someone (client, colleague in your last job, etc), and how did you handle it.
  • Describe a time when you struggled to build a relationship with someone important. How did you eventually overcome that?
  • Describe a situation when you were under pressure in work.
  • Describe a situation when you had to motivate someone in work (your colleague, your subordinate).
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other candidates for this job?

 

Summary

It is sometimes tricky to say what exactly will happen in your event manager interview, since it goes about a specific position, and the hiring managers (or owners of the business) may have no experience with leading similar interviews in the past.

But you can expect mostly situational and behavioral questions, and also a role play (just like the one I described in question no. 6).

Hiring an event manager or planner is often hit and miss–for the employer.

It’s tough to say how candidates will fare in the actual job, since it presents a lot of challenges and can be extremely stressful. Such things can hardly be emulated in an interview.

You, as a job candidate, should simply try your best, show motivation and enthusiasm, and prepare for the questions from this article. In most cases it will be enough, and they will hire you. Whether you will enjoy the actual job, however, and keep it for longer than a few months, is another question altogether…

May also interest you:

  • Leadership interview questions – An essential skill for every good manager, your leadership skills will be tested in an interview for virtually any managerial job. Are you ready to demonstrate them in an interview
  • Sales interview questions – To recruit a good salesman is an art, not a science. And it is always a risk. Job seekers find themselves in a better positions than the employers do… Learn what matters in this atypical interview.
  • Salary negotiation tips – Basic rules you should remember when negotiating a salary in your interview.
Matthew Chulaw

Matthew Chulaw

Matthew has been working in international recruitment since 2008. He helps job seekers from all walks of life to pursue their career goals, and to prepare for their interviews. He is the founder of InterviewPenguin.com website.
Matthew Chulaw

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