Prepare for your Managing Editor interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to work with others and ensure that the publication meets its deadlines. Use examples from past experiences where you worked well with a team, collaborated on projects and met deadlines together.
Answer Example: “Absolutely. I’ve been working as a managing editor for the past five years, and during that time I’ve learned how important it is to work with others to ensure that written material is published on time. In my previous role, I worked with a team of three other editors who helped me edit articles, write headlines and create social media content for the website. We all had different strengths, so we used those to help each other out. For example, one of my colleagues was great at writing headlines, so I would ask for her help when I needed to create one.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities they’re looking for in a managing editor. Use your answer to highlight some of your most important qualities as a manager, such as communication skills, organization skills and problem-solving abilities.
Answer Example: “I think one of the most important qualities of a good managing editor is the ability to communicate effectively with others. As a managing editor, I would be working with writers, photographers and other editors on projects, so I need to be able to communicate my ideas to them in a way that’s easy to understand. I also think it’s important to have strong organizational skills when you’re a managing editor. I like to keep detailed notes on each project I’m working on so I can remember all of the details.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you might handle conflicts with other editors. Use examples from previous experiences where you worked with others to come to a consensus about how to approach a story or edit it.
Answer Example: “In my last role as managing editor, I had two other editors who had different opinions about how to edit a particular story. One editor thought we should focus more on the facts of the story and less on the opinions of the sources. The other editor believed we should include more of the source’s opinions because they were so interesting. After discussing our options, we decided to split the story into two separate pieces—one focusing on the facts and another focusing on the opinions.”
The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how you plan and manage the work of your team. Use examples from previous experiences where you helped your team members complete their tasks on time, while ensuring that all of their work met the highest editorial standards.
Answer Example: “I start by creating a calendar that shows what needs to be done when. I then break down each task into smaller pieces so that my team members can easily complete them. For example, when I was managing a team of five editors, I created a monthly editorial calendar that outlined all of the articles we needed to publish each week. We then used the editorial workflow software to assign each article to a specific editor based on their expertise.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you make decisions and whether you are able to make them independently. Use examples from your past experience that show you can make wise decisions, such as choosing to publish controversial content or cutting back on costs to ensure the success of a publication.
Answer Example: “In my last role as managing editor of a magazine, we had a deadline approaching for our next issue. One of our writers submitted their article late, which meant we had to either cut it from the issue or extend our deadline. I decided to extend the deadline so we could include the article in the next issue. This decision helped us maintain our reputation for producing high-quality content on time.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation. Use your answer to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to work with others.
Answer Example: “I would first try to talk to the staff member about their behavior. If they were aware that what they were doing was wrong, I would expect them to stop immediately. If they refused to stop stealing content, I would terminate their employment. I believe that plagiarism is unacceptable, and I would not allow someone on my team who was willing to commit such an offense.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation. In your answer, try to show that you are willing to take action when necessary and support your writers.
Answer Example: “If I noticed a pattern of negative feedback from readers about a particular writer, I would first have a conversation with the writer to find out why this was happening. If the writer was unaware of the issue, I would help them understand what they were doing wrong and give them tips on how to improve. If the writer knew about the issue but wasn’t able to fix it, I would talk with them about whether they should continue writing for our publication.”
Managing editors often have to work under tight deadlines, so employers ask this question to make sure you can handle stress and still get the job done. Use your answer to show that you are organized, motivated and capable of working under pressure.
Answer Example: “I am a very organized person, so I always make sure to plan ahead when working on a tight deadline. This helps me stay focused on the task at hand and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do. In addition, I find that breaking down large projects into smaller tasks can help me stay motivated when working under pressure. Finally, I try to take breaks every so often to give myself some time to relax and recharge.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with a specific content management system. If you have experience using a particular CMS, share what you like about it and how it has helped you with your work as a managing editor.
Answer Example: “I’ve worked with several different content management systems in my previous roles as a managing editor. I find that WordPress is one of the easiest CMSs to use because it’s so user-friendly. It also has many plugins available that make it easy to add new features to the website or blog. For example, I recently used a plugin to add an author bio section to all of our articles. This allowed us to add more information about our writers and increase engagement.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your ability to use outside sources responsibly. Use examples from past experiences where you used outside sources effectively and ethically to help you answer this question.
Answer Example: “I believe it’s always important to use outside sources when writing an article, especially if it’s a news piece or an opinion piece. I always make sure to include a source list at the end of an article so readers can look up any information they find interesting or questionable. This helps me stay honest and transparent as a writer while also giving my readers the ability to do their own research.”
Social media is an important part of any news organization’s marketing strategy. The interviewer wants to know that you have experience using social media to promote content and increase engagement with readers. In your answer, explain how you would use different strategies to help increase the organization’s social media presence.
Answer Example: “I would start by creating a plan for which social media platforms we should be using and why. I would then create a schedule for posting content on each platform so that we’re reaching out to our audience at the right times. For example, if we’re posting news articles, I would try to do so during peak hours when our target audience is online. I would also make sure to respond to any comments or questions within 24 hours.”