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Event Planner Interview
Questions

25 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Question 1 of 25

Tell me about your experience working with an event planning committee?

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Event Planner Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Tell me about your experience working with an event planning committee?

      Committees can be challenging. You may have experienced this early in your career or when volunteering with a non-profit or managing corporate events at work. Give an example of an event you put together with your team. This example focuses on budgeting and planning and working on an inexperienced team. You have the choice to be a leader or to follow along and get frustrated. Showing that you are willing to step up and take responsibility to lead your team shows initiative.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I worked on a gala for a new non-profit organization as the event organizer. It was challenging because the board members wanted to be involved but didn't have a very realistic budget in mind, seeking donations for most aspects of the event, which can take more time. I made a point to be clear in communication with the team and the vendors and follow a timeline to make sure everything was accomplished by the deadline of the event. It's important to plan and structure the event based around a realistic budget from the very beginning. I was the only person on the team with experience, so I delegated the smaller responsibilities among the team and checked in to make sure everyone knew what they needed to do."

  2. 2.

    Describe your specific skills and experience related to Event Planning.

      Consider the skills needed in order to accomplish the responsibilities for this position. Some may be new to you and some may be areas where you have experience. You want to discuss skills that could easily transfer to prove you are qualified for the job. All events need to be executed by the anticipated deadline, so talk about your time management skills. Whether you are a consultant or working with a team, you will need to be able to interact with others. Discuss how you relate with others, delegate tasks, and work as a team.

      Pro Tip: For each responsibility listed in the job description, list the skills required to accomplish that task. Draw from your experience, referring back to your resume if you need a reminder of how you have accomplished similar tasks.

  3. 3.

    What would you do if the DJ is late and not responding to calls or emails?

      This role is responsible for many different moving parts. Life happens and people can be flakey. How will you handle these types of situations? How have you dealt with them in the past?

      Ryan's Answer

      "I always have a backup plan and this has definitely happened before. If the DJ wasn't there on time, I would already be sorting through people to call. Building good relationships with your vendors will assist with these types of issues. When you have a relationship built on mutual respect, you find out quickly who you can rely on. I typically let my DJ's know in advance that I have an event coming up and I sometimes even call my backup the night before just in case."

      Anonymous Answer

      "Depending on the event I like to always have a backup playlist. I'd pump up the background playlist and offer to take requests from any of our attendees while we fill for the missing DJ."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Good answer! It's clear that you are well-prepared and on the ball for instances like this one.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  4. 4.

    What approaches do you use in communicating with different people, customers, staff, co-workers, management? How do you know you are communicating effectively?

      Effective communication shows active listening and understanding between both parties. If you use email or text to communicate during office hours, you know you are being effective if your message is clear and your tone comes across the way you intended. Your relationships are one indicator of your effectiveness. Being able to maintain positive relationships at work promote a team environment. The only way for teams to function well is through effective communication. Give an example that gives insight into your work relationships and shows your understanding of what effective communication looks like in the workplace.

      Ryan's Answer

      "When I delegate responsibilities on my team, I ask my staff if they have the bandwidth to handle the task. I invite them into a discussion to make sure they are clear on expectations and also to let them know I am here to help if they need it. We have a tight group and I set the tone for everyone to feel supported through my language, listening, and then giving them an opportunity to give me feedback."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I find that I frequently communicate via Slack or instant messaging platforms. However, I'm never afraid to pick up the phone or take someone out to coffee if communication isn't coming off clearly. I like to ensure that my managers, peers, and stakeholders feel comfortable when coming to me."

      Rachelle's Answer

      These platforms are all beneficial for ensuring that the right information is communicated to the right people. Mentioning Slack is a good choice, especially if you know that the hiring company uses this tool as well. The interviewer should also appreciate that you're open to in-person conversation and direct phone calls to ensure clarity and understanding.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  5. 5.

    If you were hired, when could you start?

      Show that you respect your employer enough to give them time to fill your position. The interviewer will interpret this as the way you would treat the new job. If you are so excited and say you could start tomorrow, that could come across as impulsive, and likely that you don't even care about your current job. Show enthusiasm while being conscientious and respectful towards your current employer.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I can start in two weeks. I have some projects I need to wrap up but I am really interested in this opportunity, so if I needed to be more flexible I can talk with my employer."

      Anonymous Answer

      "My company is in the middle of a Sales Conference, and I'm currently committed to multiple events and breakout sessions. I want to give enough notice without leaving my current employer in support so I would be comfortably able to start as soon as late January or early February."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Excellent answer! You are very clear on your plans, and any hiring company should appreciate that you are thoughtful in the timing around your exit. Your approach shows professionalism and integrity.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  6. 6.

    Tell me about one bad experience you've had, preferably something catastrophic, how did you handle it? Was the event still a success?

      Event Planners can only plan so much. There are always outside factors that are unpredictable, even for the most well-planned events. Give an example of something that could have destroyed a great event and explain what you did to resolve it, and how you learned from that mistake. Being able to show that you understand things can go wrong and you anticipate having to deal with them is a great quality to share. Show how you are proactive in your example, even if it is something you couldn't have predicted.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I put together a wedding and my client requested candles all along the front of the room for her ceremony. The candles began to melt and one fell over and caught the table linen on fire. I had two other assistants working with me and we were standing on all sides of the room to monitor everything. As soon as the candle fell over, my assistant grabbed two bottles of water and ran over to put it out. I anticipated that the candles could be an issue, so we had buckets of bottled water on both edges of the stage and we were ready for anything."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I was managing a week-long event in Utah. I spoke with the Facilities manager shortly before flying out and identified the layout and supplies we would need for our venue. She informed me that everything would be set up the Friday before my flight. I arrived on Sunday, the day before the event, to prep what I could in advance to find that a number of tables were missing. We had no chairs and no power strips. When reaching out to our Facilities Manager, I would get a voicemail and no response. I left a voicemail and set up the supplies I could get in advance. When returning the next morning, we were still missing these items. I called the Facilities Manager one more time and was able to get ahold of her; it turned out she was in the mountains with no cellphone reception that weekend and her support team did not follow through on our request. As she planned on driving to our site, I worked fast and identified security who could open up a closet that would have chairs and sped to make arrangements. As some attendees slowly arrived, I informed them that we were still setting up and invited them to enjoy breakfast at an open table or downstairs. Eventually, we could get the layout and supplies we needed, and I debriefed with the Facilities manager to identify the shortcomings and additional alternative contacts if needed. After this, the event went smoothly, and the Facilities manager and I were better able to collaborate on future events."

      Rachelle's Answer

      It's a good thing you were so adamant about finding solutions in this situation. A less driven person may have been tempted to curl into a ball in the corner :) You tell this story very well - it's engaging and will allow the interviewer to picture you in action in the workplace! The fact that you performed some troubleshooting to ensure the situation didn't happen again is a great touch to your story example.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  7. 7.

    What was the most difficult event you promoted? What made it difficult?

      When you can anticipate the difficulties before they occur, you will be able to prepare and have the tools you need if any sort of situation arises. Some of the preparation involves having the right people on your team and some will involve having a backup plan or person to call. Show your confidence in dealing with challenges.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Organizing an event to promote local restaurants recently was the most difficult because there were so many different people that needed to be coordinated and managed. Anticipating miscommunications and last-minute hiccups allowed me to prevent those issues from arising. Sometimes they are unavoidable, and in those cases, you must have a backup plan. Everything worked out seamlessly because I was calm and prepared."

      Anonymous Answer

      "The most difficult event I promoted was a reception for our new Sales New Hire onboarding program. This was difficult to promote because the event itself was created with three days of notice, and attendance was limited to new hires, managers, and directors. If I were to re-do this, I would have given more notice to participants so that they could prioritize their attendance. I'd also open up attendance to all roles so that new hires could network with employees across the board."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Three days is certainly not a lot of time to pull an event together! Despite the challenges, were you able to pull off the event? Your suggestions for improvement are smart - good job!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  8. 8.

    How would you describe your work style?

      Interviewers will want to learn more about you, and the methods you use to get your work done day in and day out. There really is no right or wrong answer here, simply a personal preference from the interviewer. They will want to be sure you are a fit for their organization and your personal work style can be accommodating inside their agency. Some areas of focus you can discuss are; organization, time management, team interaction, and your personal process of handling daily tasks and projects.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am intentional about how I plan my work week and with how I spend my time at work. I usually spend my Sunday evenings and mornings structuring my week and confirming deadlines, meetings and luncheons. I also prioritize my time with the team. Our meetings are pretty structured, following an agenda and using time efficiently. I like to have fun with the team at work as well, but I typically keep my work hours focused on work so that I can have fun at happy hours after work."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I would describe my work style as efficient and collaborative. I celebrate my wins by creating a "done" list and categorize my pending items based on priority. This way, I can always speak to what I'm working on and identify any upcoming roadblocks."

      Rachelle's Answer

      I love the idea of a 'done' list! It's so rewarding to see progress vs only focusing on what needs to be accomplished. It seems you are very well organized and on top of your tasks. Great answer.

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  9. 9.

    What are important characteristics for an effective event coordinator?

      Think about the main responsibilities for the role and consider the characteristics that correspond. Scheduling, coordinating and planning all require attention to detail. They also require focus and preparation. When dealing with clients, you need to be a good listener and communicator. Staying calm in stressful situations is another key characteristic. In planning and executing events, you need to be flexible and composed. Depending on the emphasis for this role, working in corporate events or working with individual clients, consider the above qualities, focusing on about 5 different ones, discussing them in terms of how they relate to the role you are interviewing for.

  10. 10.

    What was the most successful event you've planned in the past?

      Before answering this question, think about your definition of success. For some, they may share an event that went smoothly without any issues that were carefully planned and executed. For others, it may be overcoming problems that arise and without affecting the satisfaction of your client or the guests. Give an example that displays your top qualities as an event planner, and show your passion and ability to manage events from start to finish.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have worked on a wedding of 200 people at a city park. Some of the challenges had to do with setting up electricity and power while staying within the constraints of the city for sound and lighting. My client had a very particular vision for the asthetic and design of lights and decor, with specific fixtures picked out. I communicated with my client about the constraints due to the location, and suggested a few variations that would help us to stay within the contract with the city while staying true to the vision. This event ended up being the most visually beautiful event I have put together, through careful planning and collaborating with the vision of my client. I was most pleased because of the quality and my client was extremely happy with the results."

  11. 11.

    If you had to describe yourself as detail-oriented or big-picture oriented, which would you choose? Why?

      The above example shows how you are aware of your strength and how you also value the area where you are weaker. They go together. Not everyone can do both. By sharing a thoughtful explanation, you show self awareness and your ability to articulate and reflect.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am more of a detail-oriented person, because I good at noticing and keeping track of the small details that make up an event. I have also learned how to be more strategic about how and when a task is completed. When I have a variety of tasks that need to be accomplished, I look at how they fit together for an event or program. This helps me to prioritize and delegate."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I would easily describe myself as a detail-oriented person. I'm always paying attention to pieces that people might not notice that attribute to an event's success, such as the temperature of the room or creating a brochure of local activities for travelling attendees. It's very easy for me to step back and see how an event is successful, but the details are, in my opinion, what makes the experience more impactful."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Temperature is a perfect example of looking out for the small details. It's evident that you care about each event, and you approach your planning by thinking of an attendee's 360 needs and desires. Well done!

      Was this answer helpful? Yes or No
  12. 12.

    Give an example of a time when you felt the greatest sense of accomplishment in your job?

      This answer shows that you are collaborative and find satisfaction in helping others. Whatever your motivations may be, choose an example that shows what you value and how that makes you feel accomplished.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I feel most accomplished when I am able to create an event that pleases the guests and makes an impact. I put together a concert for an event that benefitted a non-profit and raised over $10,000. Each of the vendors and the organization and I all worked so well together to make it happen. It felt so good to be able to not just have a fun event but to have something to show for it."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I hosted a virtual magic show shortly after office closures. The magician we worked with was super funny and professional, finding ways to engage with the audience and call for volunteers. This event was a big win because it wasn't just another meeting where people were blankly staring at their screen. We received over 700 attendees (500 being the number to describe a great event in San Jose) and supporting comments such as "I wish we could do this every Friday" and "This was the first time I laughed out loud in a really long time. Thank you." I introduced value to my attendees, and I felt their excitement throughout the event."

      Rachelle's Answer

      A fantastic example of being innovative at work and enjoying what you do! It's great that you mentioned some measurable accomplishments, such as 500 attendees as a success benchmark and the reviews that you received after the event. Great response.

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  13. 13.

    What brings out the most excitement for you in event planning?

      Discuss an element of the job that excites you. It could be making others happy or experiencing the finished product when everything comes together. The interviewer wants to know you are excited about the role.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I love to see everything come together. The anticipation of the event is exciting because you start to see all of your efforts materialize. It takes many different people to work together to create an event. I love being in charge of orchestrating the event."

      Anonymous Answer

      "What brings the most excitement to me is the opportunity to create an impact. No matter how short or long the event, we as event planners introduce value to attendees and create experiences that they take away with them. I love getting to plan an event that not only employees are excited about but that their friends and families wish they could have attended as well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      Your enthusiasm is shining through in this response. It's apparent that you enjoy what you do and take pride in the way you approach events. Positive vibes all around :) At the end of your response, you may want to consider expressing your interests in this future opportunity. For instance, what do you look forward to the most, as it directly relates to the hiring company events and needs?

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  14. 14.

    Tell me about a work situation that required a creative solution.

      Give a concrete example and break down the details that show you were able to understand the situation and able to apply a solution. It doesn't necessarily have to be an event. You could share about difficulties among co-workers or being presented with a new challenge from a client.

      Ryan's Answer

      "The budget for our work Christmas party was very small. I looked at all of the different pieces involved, including venue, food, music, and decorations, considering our staff size and their requests. Next, I looked within my network of connections that could give us discounts or sometimes even things for free. I was able to get the catering done for half price because of my friend who works at Whole Foods, and stayed within the budget overall because I used connections and did cross-promotion for other companies and individuals."

      Anonymous Answer

      "I created a recording studio in a conference room for an event at my past internship. This event was training, and in the past, we had a camera set in the room to record the instructor. This wasn't a great approach because the audio and visuals were poor, and as a result, not many people would watch these recordings. To improve the quality, I worked with the Director of Video Production and arranged a schedule to have instructors record their presentation hours after presenting live. As a result, we had presentations with crisp audio, and they were easier to consume. I don't remember the exact numbers, but viewership increased, and more people were keen to use these videos as a resource versus previously."

      Rachelle's Answer

      This is a well-organized response - it's clear that you are using the STAR framework to tell your stories...great to see! Your ability to think outside the box to solve problems and your history of gaining buy-in from others are all very strong.

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  15. 15.

    How do you multitask when you plan or manage multiple events?

      Discussing your planning process and how you divide your time and attention. If possible, use real experiences to detail how you plan multiple events at once. Stay humble in your answer, which will show a level of confidence you have in yourself to the interviewer that multitasking is just any other ordinary day in the life of an event planner.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I create a timeline for each of my projects, setting deadlines for different tasks that need to be completed as the event approaches. I am cautious not to take on multiple events that take place on the same weekend unless I can share some of the responsibilities with an assistant. Many events require the same types of vendors, so on a day when I need to schedule catering for a wedding, I'll schedule the catering for the corporate event that day as well. I like to plan each facet of an event strategically to make life easier on me, my clients, and my team."

      Anonymous Answer

      "The first rule is I wear comfortable shoes. I also like to create three different timelines for my events: pre-production, day of the event(s), and post-production. As the timeline progresses, I identify what can be done immediately and what actions might be pertinent to the success of the task."

      Rachelle's Answer

      You are very organized - good for you! And yes, comfortable shoes would be a must-have. The idea of having three timelines shows that you are smart and prepared - ready to tackle the moment and what lies ahead.

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  16. 16.

    What was the most challenging event you've planned in the past?

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  17. 17.

    What are some strategies you use for managing and prioritizing work for yourself when there is too much work and too few staff members to complete the tasks at hand?

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  18. 18.

    How good are your listening skills? How do you know?

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  19. 19.

    Describe your experience with designing and developing advertising graphics and publications used to market programs and services.

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  20. 20.

    Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult client. How did you manage that relationship?

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  21. 21.

    We've read your resume and seen where you went to college and your work experience, but could you walk us through this period and tell us how you made the decisions you did regarding your education and work?

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  22. 22.

    Tell me about a time when you were working within a tight budget for an event. What was the outcome?

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  23. 23.

    Tell me about a mistake that you made on the job. What did you learn from it?

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  24. 24.

    Explain a time when you disagreed with your boss. How did you handle this situation?

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  25. 25.

    What value will you add to our team?

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