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Washington Post 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 is the most significant achievement you have on the horizon?

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Washington Post Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What is the most significant achievement you have on the horizon?

      When you show that you have goals and achievements on the horizon, you are letting the interviewer know that you put thought into your career and what you bring to your employer. Employees who do not have goals set just beyond their reach are typically disengaged and unmotivated. This achievement does not need to be complicated. It can be as simple as finishing a beautiful Powerpoint presentation, finishing work-related coursework, or reaching a sales target.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have some great accomplishments on the horizon including the launch of my biggest ever content marketing strategy later this month. This account is the biggest that I have worked with, and it's a fascinating campaign. With that said, I look forward to joining the Washington Post and working on significant projects like this more often."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "This year I have been working towards my Bachelor's in Advertising while also working full time. This effort has been challenging and rewarding all at the same time. My graduation date is this May, so that is the most significant achievement on the horizon."

  2. 2.

    Where do you believe the newspaper industry will be in 5 years? Support your response.

      The interviewer wants to know that you believe in the longevity of the Washington Post and the future of the newspaper. Of course, since you are interviewing for a newspaper publication, you want to keep your response positive. Be sure to support your opinion with the research you have done on the newspaper publishing industry.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I was recently reading an article on trends and facts in the newspaper industry, from a journalism publication which had some powerful ideas on the future of the newspaper industry. Even though the purchase of physical newspapers has declined over the past 15 years, the number of visitors coming to a newspapers' website had increased exponentially. I believe that alternative print publications will exist for many years to come; however, many newspapers will begin to rely more heavily on their digital subscriber base who still go to them for reliable, consistent, and trustworthy content."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that newspaper subscribers are also going to ask for digital subscription options, allowing them to pivot between the two mediums. Although sales of traditional print newspapers have decreased over the years, discerning readers will still turn to these traditional methods for reliable news. This engagement may just be more digital and online, as time goes on."

  3. 3.

    Name for me some of the topics we cover in the Washington Post. Which do you read most often?

      The interviewer wants to be sure that you have done your homework on their publication. Most major publications offer coverage of multiple topics geared toward a broad audience range. Discuss which Washington Post topics you are most interested in and why. Be sure to support your interests.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "From what I understand, the Washington Post covers a variety of topics including politics, art and entertainment, world news, tech, employment, sports, education, lifestyle, and many more. My primary interests are in politics, sports, and world news. I like to be informed and well-rounded on multiple subjects."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The tech and national security articles released by the Washington Post are hands down the one I read the most. As an avid current events enthusiast, I appreciate the effort that goes into your unique articles."

  4. 4.

    The newspaper industry has many tight deadlines. How do you manage your time, ensuring that your deadlines are met?

      The interviewer would like to know what you do to ensure that your deadlines are met and that you are consistently on time with projects and other expectations. Discuss how you stay organized, getting into the small details of how you plan your day or the tools you use to track your work and progress. You can mention a time when you were close to missing a deadline, including the actions that you took to ensure you delivered on time.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "With five years' experience in the publishing and newspaper industry, I fully understand that my day can change on a dime. I remain on top of my deadlines by being prepared for a plan B at all times. Also, I track my progress and tasks through an app called Trello. This type of application works well for communicating with my team, ensuring we all work hard to meet expectations."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I learned during my time in university that deadlines are met most easily when there is organization and when tasks are properly mapped out from the start. I learned the hard way, having to cram in a few assignments because I was not well prepared. Now, when I begin a project, I create a timeline with an estimate on how long each task will take. From there, I divide my time."

  5. 5.

    Walk me through your editing experience. How would you rate your editing skills from 1-10?

      Even if your primary role with the Washington Post is not officially as an editor, the interviewer will want to see that you have a solid basis when it comes to language, context, tone, grammar, spelling, and more. Emphasize your solid command of the language, and your ability to pay attention to the small details. Discuss the types of editing jobs you have taken on in the past.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have helped to edit documents large, and small, including whitepapers, web copy, and sales contracts. I am confident in my language, spelling, and grammar skills. It's rare that a mistake will get past me, as I pay strong attention to the small details."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although I have not formally edited a document of significance, I do always make a habit of double checking my emails and other internal or external communication. I have used editing programs such as Grammarly in the past, for assignments and papers while attending university."

  6. 6.

    Rate your research skills from 1-10. Do you enjoy conducting research?

      In the media and publishing industry, research and reliable sources are everything. Assure the interviewer that you are capable of conducting robust and dependable research. Draw on your positive references when answering this question.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "One of the reasons why I would love to work for the Washington Post is because of your solid reputation for reputable sources and research. In my previous positions, I have always earned recognition for my great research skills. When you call my references, they will attest to this as well. There is always room for improvement, so for that reason, I would rate myself as an 8.5 out of 10 for research capabilities."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "When it comes to research capabilities, I am most definitely a 10/10. An eleven even, if that is allowed! I love researching a large range of products and am very data and analytically minded."

  7. 7.

    If you could pitch me one idea for an article or column, what would it be?

      The hiring authority wants to get to know you. One great way to do this is to ask about your interests. Generally speaking, you would want to pitch something you are knowledgeable in and passionate about. There is no right or wrong answer to a question like this; however, the interviewer will want to see that you are insightful and have enthusiasm for an exciting topic. If you choose an item that is related to the Washington Post, that's great but certainly not a requirement for this to be a successful answer.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I read a lot of history books and find so much of it fascinating. In particular, ancestry and genealogy. If I could pitch you one idea for an article, it would be a how-to for people who were starting on discovering their family lineage."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As a new graduate, I have a keen interest in productivity hacks for new university students. In my first year, I struggled with organization and time-management. By the end of my second year, I had mastered the art of juggling many priorities. This topic is in high demand, and I would pitch it as a series of articles, deep-dives, and even infographics. This idea could fit well into your online lifestyle column."

  8. 8.

    Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to.

      Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness - all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years; however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister, who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her, and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is imperative to take care of the needs of the family."

  9. 9.

    The media industry is all about communication. At Washington Post, strong communication is at the forefront of what we do. How would you describe your communication skills? Rate your communication skills from 1-10.

      In any media related position, you must be a clear and concise communicator. Talk to the interviewer about your communication style and how you feel it will work with the communication standards set by the Washington Post.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I would rate my communication skills as a 9 out of 10 because they are exceptional; yet, there is always room for improvement. I would describe my communication style as thorough, upbeat, yet concise. I firmly believe that my communication skills will meet the standards you have set at Washington Post."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I will rate myself an 8.5 because I consider myself a strong communicator. It is the foundation of all success in business. I am always striving to be a better communicator, so I leave the rest of the scale as an aspirational measure."

  10. 10.

    What do you know about the nature of print advertising?

      The interviewer would like to know your current knowledge level when it comes to print advertising. Most newspapers rely heavily on the revenue that comes from advertising, so it's essential that you bring an understanding of how this style of advertising operates.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The whole 'print is dead' argument that some people make, when they argue against investing in print advertising is one hurdle that I love to overcome when it comes to print advertising. By nature, a newspaper is more targeted to a specific audience, grabbing their attention for longer, ensuring that readers pay better attention to a printed ad than one they come across online. I believe there is strength in targeted print ads with great imagery and smart copy."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I know that print advertising is heavily trusted by well-established companies looking to advertise to a highly specific audience. Print advertising, when executed correctly, can have an incredibly effective impact and strong ROI."

  11. 11.

    Name for me one skill mentioned in our job posting, that you do not possess. How will you gain that skill?

      The interviewer is asking for you to highlight your weaknesses. There are many ways to ask 'what is your greatest weakness'; however, the interviewers at Washington Post will always have a more thought-provoking way of asking this question. Before your interview, comb through the job posting and pick out a skill where you have room for improvement. Then, discuss what you could do to strengthen that particular skill.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have an intermediate level of experience with ad creation, but would love to say that I am an expert. When I saw this requirement on your job posting, I knew that I met that basic requirement, but I want to do better than basic. For that reason, I have enrolled in an online course called 'Compelling Ads' I am excited to strengthen my skills in this area."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I noticed that you're seeking out five years of sales experience in the print and publication industry. My sales experience is in selling SaaS and other digital products; however, my sales training will still complement the needs of the Washington Post as everything is subscription based, just as it was in my previous role."

  12. 12.

    How do you transition between the creative and analytical sides of publishing?

      Wearing multiple hats is the name of the game when it comes to publishing. One moment you could be discussing the analytics of a past article where the next you could be giving your opinion on the layout of a new online article. It's essential that you show the interviewer your ability to be flexible on the job by pivoting tasks regularly. If possible, give an example of a time when you were able to flip between creative and analytical.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that I transition quite well between the creative and analytical. Generally speaking, I am more of a creative minded individual; however, my experience in business has allowed me to see the data and analytics behind a successful publication. So, in addition to my creative approach, I also ask myself or my team how our decisions will impact the company's bottom line. If hired, I will deliver a nice balance between analytical thinking and creative mindedness."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My educational background is in business with a focus on accounting and financial management. This coursework means that I am naturally inclined to look at data such as numbers, results, spend, account activity, and ROI. With that said, I spend my spare time in creative writing, dabbling in design, and other activities that relax and entertain me. I believe that I will pivot well between the creative and analytical sides of publishing because of this variety in knowledge and interests."

  13. 13.

    How do you go about fact checking, and researching sources?

      In publishing, no matter which genre or medium you're involved in, it's essential that you check for facts before hitting that proverbial publish button. Now, more than ever, a company can receive significant backlash from posting or publishing anything misleading or untrue. Discuss the steps that you take to verify facts and sources for all content.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "At this point in my publishing career it's much easier for me to weed out an unreliable source versus a reputable one. When I first began my career; however, I trusted that many sources were credible, not accounting for the fact that there is so much fake news out there. Now, I triple check against our library of content and online. Before any piece of content goes out, I will send it to our professional editor for a final once-over."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I will dig deeper into any sources, quotes, statistics, and do my best to find where they originated. If I cannot find the original source, I simply will not use the source."

  14. 14.

    How do you stay up-to-date on current events, sports, and general news topics? Which news sources do you follow?

      Of course, the interviewer wants to hear that you follow the Washington Post as your news source! However, you need to be truthful, or your lack of knowledge regarding their publication will be apparent. This expected level of candidate engagement is why it's essential to do as much research as possible before your interview. Mention your top two or three news resources, mentioning why they are your go-to sources.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I like to diversify where my news is coming from, ensuring that I have a balanced view of the topics at hand. My go-to resources include the Washington Post for finance and global news, Fox for sports, and BBC for political news pieces."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I stay up to date through watching traditional broadcasts, reading Twitter, utilizing Google alerts, and joining in on conversations on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. I also subscribe to a few online news resources such as Medium and Forbes. Of course, the Washington Post is on my list of favored resources for global news."

  15. 15.

    How do you react when you are dissatisfied with the quality or the outcome of your work?

      The interviewer would like to know how you respond to failure in the workplace. There will always be a time when you are not happy with your work, but your reaction is what will determine whether or not you recover from the disappointment. Show that you have the maturity to be able to respond to dissatisfaction productively.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The last time I was dissatisfied with my work, I asked my boss if there was time for me to re-do the components with which I was not happy. The deadline was tight, but I did not believe that it should affect the quality of what I delivered. She agreed, and gave me the time to revisit the aspects that I felt were not up to my usual standard."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In marketing and media, there is often room to play around with our work and bounce back from mistakes. I allow myself to make mistakes, tweak my work, and play around with different designs, for instance. A creative mind is always seeking improvements."

  16. 16.

    How often do you take work home with you?

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  17. 17.

    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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  18. 18.

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

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  19. 19.

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

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  20. 20.

    If Washington Post hired you today, what would you accomplish first?

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  21. 21.

    How do you think that online media has changed traditional print and broadcast media approaches in the past 10 years?

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  22. 22.

    In your opinion, what is the most influential form of media today?

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  23. 23.

    What drew you to apply at the Washington Post?

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  24. 24.

    With which publishing categories are you most familiar? How will this knowledge help you in this position with Washington Post?

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  25. 25.

    How would you increase newspaper subscriptions in an online-centric world?

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  26. 26.

    What expertise do you bring in digital KPIs and analytics?

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  27. 27.

    What is the key to success for a publisher in this digital era?

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  28. 28.

    Who is your favorite Washington Post columnist, and why?

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  29. 29.

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

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  30. 30.

    How is social media changing the way people consume news, today? What can Washington Post do to remain relevant?

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