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Discovery Communications Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

What are the most important components to a successful live production?

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Discovery Communications Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What are the most important components to a successful live production?

      Live productions can get anyone's blood flowing, and heart racing, as there is very little room for error. The interviewer would like to know that you understand everything that goes into a successful live show; whether it be for cable news, live streaming, a live podcast, or even a television show with a live audience. Discuss what you know about the keys to a successful live show.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that the key to a successful live production is to know your audience, know your topic, and know your limitations. It's when a production tries to deliver too much, too fast, things fall apart. It's vital that before beginning, you have an idea of who you are targeting with your content, and sticking to that viewer profile all the way through. Do not stray, and face the fall of delivering a confusing or off-brand message."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Planning every detail is one of the most important components to a successful live production. Also, I believe that last minute changes can railroad a lot of things, so it's important to avoid those as well. There is little room for error so, having a solid plan in place, is everything!"

  2. 2.

    What experience do you have working on live broadcasts for public entertainment?

      Today, live broadcasts can include the news, shows for entertainment, live streaming for apps like IGTV and Parascope, or even podcasts. Walk the interviewer through your experience working on real-time broadcasts. Discuss some of the challenges that come with live broadcasting, and how you can readily overcome these challenges because of your knowledge and expertise.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have twelve years of experience working on live broadcasts, beginning with my local cable news network, and then into a global news operation. I have seen many changes occur over the years with the introduction of live streaming, and the challenges that come with it including audience targeting, audience building, and the ever-increasing need for engaging content. I am confident that my broad range of experiences will be beneficial to the team at Discovery."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I recently graduated with my degree in Broadcasting and had the opportunity to complete my internship with Cable News XYZ. During this 12 week internship, I learned a great deal about writing fundamentals for live media, talent management, and the basics of field reporting. Being so hands on, I was able to learn a fair amount regarding the challenges that live broadcasts face, and how to overcome them."

  3. 3.

    At Discovery you will be handling multiple projects at a time. When have you nearly missed a production timeline due to disorganization?

      Production deadlines are incredibly important. One missed deadline can throw a thousand deliverables out of balance, costing a studio or production company countless dollars. Talk to the interviewer about a time when you nearly missed a production deadline. Discuss how you caught the potential disaster, and pivoted to make sure that you met the deadline in the end. Be sure to mention what you learned in the process!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I handle dozens of deliverables in a day, making it a challenge to stay on top of it all. I nearly missed an important deadline because I delegated a few tasks to my assistant without checking in regularly. Since this incident, I have set up my work in a cloud-based task management system which my assistant and I share. I set up clear milestones, attached to dates and times; ensuring that we are on the same page all the times."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Tight deadlines are normal in the film industry, and I make a point of delivering early on everything as often as possible. Last month, I had a production deadline that offered half the working time as usual. I took my work home every night for a week to ensure that we met the deadline without the quality of work suffering; however, it just wasn't enough. At the eleventh hour, I called in reinforcements. It is sometimes hard for me to ask for help, but I know to set my ego aside for the good of the project."

  4. 4.

    Tell me about a time when you made a suggestion requesting a change in an organization.

      Change is continually happening in the world of television and media. The interviewer at Discovery would like to know about your level of comfortability with change. In addition to being able to handle change, can you also recognize when change is required and be confident enough to present that to your organization? Talk to the interviewer about a time when you were able to suggest a change in the workplace.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have seen a lot of growth in my current company and there came a time, about two years ago, where we needed to make a stronger division between the sales, administration, and marketing divisions. Many employees were wearing multiple hats, and expectations were becoming convoluted. I made a recommendation for the division of roles and tasks, and it's worked tremendously well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Our company did not have a strong policy when it came to workplace harassment and bullying. I was able to work with the leadership team to create a new program which has been readily welcomed by our staff."

  5. 5.

    How has on-demand video streaming changed the way you consume content?

      The interviewer is curious how often you stream content versus using more traditional broadcasting methods to consume your content. Share how the introduction of on-demand video streaming has changed the way you watch your favorite shows, look for videos, and even how you pay attention to media advertising.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I watch a lot of on-demand video streaming through sources such as Discovery channels online, YouTube, Netflix, and even IGTV. I believe that on-demand video streaming saves me a lot of time as it's now effortless to search for, and find, the videos that I want to watch. I also find that I pay more attention to ads since they are more interesting and relevant than many of the ads seen on television."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "On-demand video streaming certainly simplifies life; however, it puts me on my device more than ever. I like to consume content in smaller bits now, but that also means picking up my phone or tablet more often during the day. I think that streaming reduces the time I spend watching commercials, but the ads that I do see are much more targeted and relevant to me."

  6. 6.

    What methods do you use, to work within a brand's voice consistently?

      When working on content, you will be asked to remain in line with your network's brand, and even perhaps the brand of their advertisers. The interviewer would like to know how you ensure that you maintain a brand's voice, consistently delivering it across multiple platforms or channels. Discuss your best methods for preserving the brand voice, and be sure to express that you understand the importance of this skill.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "One tool that my current employer uses, and I find to be very helpful, is our internal Style Guide. This style guide is a tool for writers, producers, and creatives of all kinds, to refer to when they are unsure if their idea is on-track with the company's brand. Another method that I refer to often is to first storyboard the 'voice' that I want before beginning a project. I can create a clear narrative around the marketing effort very early on in the project."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I fully understand how critical it is to work within a brand's voice consistently throughout a project. One method that I enjoy using is to create a guide that outlines the jargon or colloquialisms that are acceptable to use in the campaign. Somewhat like a style guide, but easier to refer back to. I also feel it's important to make the voice of a brand a company-wide initiative so that co-workers can check in with each other to ensure all work is consistent and the best it can be."

  7. 7.

    Walk me through your experience working alongside other network departments including Marketing, Ad Sales, Press, Research, Digital, and Social.

      Discovery is all about collaboration, and the hiring authority wants to know that you are, too! Think about a project or two where you worked closely with co-workers from other departments. Talk to the interviewer about the types of people you worked alongside (job titles, seniority, etc.) and then point out what you learned. Be sure to reference the fact that collaboration is something that you enjoy.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my current role I work with the department heads and other senior management in the Digital and Social Networking department. I also work alongside many content writers, who often vary, depending on the style or nature of the work. For the most part, the projects are for digital video campaigns for social media platforms. I believe that cross-departmental collaboration, when done right, is what can set a company apart from its competition. When all creative minds work together as one, incredible things can happen!"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As a recent graduate, the bulk of my cross-collaboration is with other students, groups within my university, or one-on-one project partnerships. I enjoy collaboration as it allows people to pass ideas around, working together on one important goal. I look forward to working with the various departments within Discovery and getting to know a few of your teams!"

  8. 8.

    The television industry runs 24/7. How do you feel about an overnight shift, working on weekends, and holidays?

      It may be vital to Discovery that you offer flexibility in your schedule. Since television and media never stop, neither will Discovery and their programming efforts. Discuss your calendar with the interviewer, highlighting any limitations that you may have. Be as flexible as possible, showing that you are a team player.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my current role, I worked many random shifts for eight years. Through my tenure and solid television programming work, I earned a seat in the daytime programming operation. This shift is my preference for any roles moving forward. With that said, I have no issue working overtime or jumping into the odd overnight shift to help out my team."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Being new to my career in news programming, I fully understand that I should take the types of roles offered to me at this time. If Discovery has overnight shifts with some overtime, weekends, and holidays then count me in. I am looking forward to carving out a career with Discovery and have no issue starting where I am needed."

  9. 9.

    Have you ever had to pitch an idea? If so, how was your presentation received?

      If you are new to your career in television, the idea of pitching may make you feel weak in the knees. If you have the experience, you may still feel nervous, but you are calmed by the knowledge that you have nailed the formula of a compelling presentation.

      Wherever you are in your career, the interviewer would like to know if you will enter this role, ready to pitch excellent ideas to Discovery execs or even to internal departments. Be sure to touch on the fact that you are confident, creative, and persuasive by nature.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have pitched ideas numerous times in my career; whether it be for television show ideas, digital marketing methods, or social media campaigns. I believe that part of what makes me so valuable to my employer is my ability to jump into any meeting with confidence and present my ideas with enthusiasm."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am newer to my career; however, I gained a lot of experience in presenting and delivering pitches while attending post-secondary education. What I learned in University is that with some research, robust data, and a dash of creativity, I can pitch anything, as long as I have the right framework in place. I recently completed a course by Oren Klaff on Pitch Mastery which I believe will benefit Discovery greatly when it comes to my future involvement in pitch meetings."

  10. 10.

    How do you think video-on-demand services are affecting the way advertisers view traditional television networks?

      The interviewer would like to see that you have insight when it comes to video streaming, and how it's changing the way companies advertise with traditional television networks. Raymond James, a financial services firm, conducted an extensive survey in 2017 showing that 40% of people asked, said they choose video streaming over traditional television, to avoid commercials. This statistic indicates that video streaming has a massive impact on the advertising industry. Give a thoughtful response, showing to the interviewer that you have a keen interest in what's happening in the world of media, today.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that video-on-demand services are hugely affecting the media advertising industry. People have changed how they consume media, and advertisers have had to adapt. Look at YouTube, and their 15-second ads played before most videos load. Consumers now watch commercials on mobile and social networking sites versus on television between episodes of their favorite sitcom. Advertisers have had to make a significant pivot over the last few years, leaving those unwilling to adapt, in the dust."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that the convenience of video-on-demand has made people impatient when it comes to how they digest advertising. The quick 3 second blurbs we see now, on social networking sites, have created an environment where advertisers have to be incredibly sharp in their messaging. I think this is a great change, ensuring that advertisers spend their dollars wisely, getting the best message out to consumers in as short of time as possible."

  11. 11.

    Do you have any direct experience working with talent?

      A significant part of working on the film side of the business for Discovery may mean working directly with talent, and/or their agents. The interviewer would like to see that you have the ability to maintain professional relationships with everyone you work with, no matter their status. If you have direct experience working with talent, walk the interviewer through your responsibilities on the talent side. If you do not have direct experience working with talent, assure the interviewer that you are capable of maintaining professional work relationships across the board.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In my current role, I recently took on the responsibility of assisting with the management and scheduling of talent on a couple of films. I felt that the experience was very eye-opening and allowed me to expand my knowledge and understanding of the film industry even further. Does this particular role with Discovery have talent-facing opportunities?"

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although working directly with talent would be a responsibility new to me, it is one that I would eagerly take on. Utilizing my communications and customer service experience, I would be an excellent representative of Discovery when working with any talent or their agents."

  12. 12.

    Do you prefer group discussions or one-on-one meetings?

      There is no real right or wrong answer for this question but be sure to back up your preference when you provide it. If possible, avoid firmly leaning one way versus another. It's best if you can show the interviewer that you are capable of either facilitating group discussions, or one-on-one, depending on what is most appropriate for the situation.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that group discussions and one-on-one meetings should be facilitated appropriately, according to the situation at hand. I prefer to have group meetings because they can turn into amazing brain-storm sessions, but I do understand the importance of more intimate conversations as well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In marketing and media, we are all about group discussions. It's important that I have great discussions where my team can brainstorm, make progress on projects, and be creative. I am comfortable having one-on-one discussions when necessary as well."

  13. 13.

    How do you prioritize multiple projects when they all seem equally important?

      Work life at Discovery will be very busy which means that you need to know how to prioritize your heap of tasks. Prioritizing is a skill that requires practice. There are many approaches you can take. Here are some suggestions:

      1) Make a list. By thinking through and writing down each item that needs completion, you can see it on paper.
      2) Mark what is urgent or essential. Take into account deadlines and meetings.
      3) Order each task based on effort and estimated value.
      4) Consider due dates and how long it will take to do each item.

      When answering this question, show the interviewer that you have a system in place that helps you to think through what needs to happen, and when. The better you can prioritize, the more productive you will be, making you an asset to Discovery!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I aim to be as effective and efficient as possible and make sure I can use all minutes of a day for a project. I have a few things going at once most of the time. I am the lead on some, the delegator on others, and the reviewer on another, for instance. This way, by splitting up the work to the appropriate parties, both my team and I can be the most efficient with our time."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I prioritize based on urgency and time required for the project. I have a list of what needs to be done, by when, and how long I estimate that it will take to accomplish. I am great under pressure, but try to make sure that I don't get myself or my team into a sticky situation by not allotting enough time for any particular project."

  14. 14.

    What role do you usually take in team projects?

      The interviewer truly wants to understand the role that you naturally take on, when put into a team-based environment. If you tend to take the lead, you can let the interviewer know, but avoid sounding overbearing. If you usually like to generate new ideas and allow someone else to execute them, share your creative side but express that you prefer for others to take the lead.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In team projects, I tend to take the lead. Not in an overbearing way, but in a mentoring type of way. In my current role, I am one of the most experienced media professionals which means that this title puts me into a natural leadership role, anyways. I choose to embrace that and help my team members learn from my experiences and knowledge."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am newer to my marketing career so, at this point, I will be quite careful with making suggestions in group meetings. I have great ideas that I am more comfortable pitching one-on-one with my boss. The more experience that I gain, the more comfortable I am becoming when it comes to speaking up in team meetings or during team collaborations."

  15. 15.

    What do you know about Discovery?

      The interviewer would like to know how much time you have put into researching Discovery before coming into your interview. It's essential that you take the time to dig deep into the company's history as well as their successes. Just reading their Wikipedia page may not be enough. You should also Google search their company and comb their website, looking for lists of networks, and more.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I know that Discovery holds annual Innovation Awards for your global offices; celebrating creativity, innovation, and ambition. I would love to know more about these awards. Your company is an incredible place to work, and I look forward to joining your dynamic team."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have performed a great deal of research before applying to work here, and before coming to meet with you today. I appreciate all of the innovation awards your company grants its top-performing employees. Also, you produce my favorite shows on The Food Network, OWN, HGTV, and TLC."

  16. 16.

    What accomplishment do you believe was the most difficult for you to achieve?

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  17. 17.

    How do you establish relationships with the creative community in our area?

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  18. 18.

    What do you know about the part that AI and Machine Learning play when it comes to on-demand video streaming?

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  19. 19.

    If you could pitch an idea for a television special today, what would it be?

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  20. 20.

    Have you ever managed or helped with a content budget? If so, what type of budgets are you accustomed to working with?

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  21. 21.

    What is the key to success when creating programs that communicate with the public?

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  22. 22.

    Who is your favorite personality from any of the Discovery channels, and why?

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  23. 23.

    What are your thoughts on illegal streaming and content downloading?

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  24. 24.

    Name for me one effective method for driving audience engagement in the television industry.

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  25. 25.

    Think of a time you had to gather information from multiple sources. How did you determine which data was relevant and reliable?

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  26. 26.

    What has been the best short-form content project you have worked on this year?

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  27. 27.

    Do you have experience sourcing and approving equipment for productions, such as props, lights, and costumes?

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  28. 28.

    Do you have a well-established network of contacts in the television industry? If so, how did you go about building this network?

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  29. 29.

    Describe to me the types of digital media you are most experienced with.

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  30. 30.

    Discovery strives to be first in all we do. How do you stay ahead in the latest television trends?

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