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Top tips for Public Affairs Interview on Zoom

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

In today’s digital age, more and more job interviews are taking place online. This can be a great opportunity to show your skills and qualifications to a potential employer, but it can also be a challenge if you’re not prepared.  In this article,  we’ll give you 17 tips on how to have a successful public affairs interview on Zoom.

But first, what is Public Affairs you may ask? Great question!

Public Affairs is the practice of managing the public’s perception of an organisation. It is the process of communicating with stakeholders in order to build relationships and create understanding.

Interviews can be daunting but with a little preparation, you can ace your public affairs interview on Zoom.  Here are our top tips:

  • Get to know the platform. If you’re not familiar with Zoom, take some time to learn the basics before your interview. This will help you feel more comfortable when it’s time to meet with your interviewer.
  • Dress the part. Just because you’re not meeting in person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress for the occasion. Wear something that you would feel comfortable wearing to an in-person interview.
  • Be on time. Make sure you’re logged into the Zoom meeting a few minutes before it is set to begin. This will give you time to make sure your audio and video are working properly.
  • Have a strong internet connection. If possible, connect to a strong Wi-Fi signal before your interview. This will minimise the chances of any connection issues during your meeting.
  • Find a quiet place. Choose a location for your interview that is free from distractions and background noise. This will help you focus on the conversation and be more present during the meeting.
  • Make eye contact. Even though you’re not in the same room as your interviewer, it’s important to make eye contact when you’re speaking. You can do this by looking into the camera on your computer or device.
  • Speak clearly. When you’re speaking, remember to enunciate your words and project your voice. This will help ensure that your interviewer can understand you clearly.
  • Listen carefully. In order to have a successful public affairs interview, you need to be an active listener. Pay attention to what the interviewer is saying and ask clarifying questions if needed.
  • Be prepared to answer common public affairs interview questions. Some questions you may be asked include:

Tell me about your experience working in the public affairs field.

What do you think are the most important skills for a public affairs professional?

Can you give me an example of a time when you had to manage a difficult situation?

  • Have questions prepared. In addition to being prepared to answer common public affairs interview questions, you should also have some questions of your own ready to ask. This will show that you’re truly interested in the position and the organisation. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the company you’re interviewing with. Public affairs interviewers will be looking to see if you have a genuine interest in the role and organisation.
  • Take your time. If you need a moment to think about your answer to an interviewer’s question, that’s perfectly fine. Pause for a moment before responding, and take your time to formulate a well-thought-out answer.
  • Be honest. One of the most important things you can do during an interview is to be honest about your experience and qualifications. If you’re not truthful, it will likely be discovered eventually and could damage your reputation.
  • Be flexible. If the interviewer asks a question that you’re not expecting, try to be flexible in your answer. This will show that you’re able to think on your feet and adapt to changing situations.
  • Be professional. Even though you’re not meeting in person, it’s important to maintain a professional demeanour throughout the interview. This means avoiding jokes and keeping the conversation focused on the public affairs topic at hand.
  • Avoid distractions. When you’re in a public affairs interview, it’s important to give the interviewer your full attention. This means avoiding all distractions, including your phone, computer, and any other devices.
  • Know your audience: Be aware of who you’ll be speaking to during the interview. Public affairs interviewers will often be senior members of staff who are looking for specific knowledge and experience.
  • Follow up after the interview. After the interview, be sure to send a thank-you note to the interviewer. This is a courteous gesture that will show your appreciation for their time.

By following these tips, you can set yourself up for success in your next public affairs interview. These tips are not only applicable to Zoom interviews, but can also be used for in-person meetings. So no matter what type of public affairs interview you’re facing, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to impress your interviewer.

9  Example answers to some common Public Affairs interview questions

In this section, we will be providing nine example answers to some common public affairs interview questions.

  1. What motivated you to pursue public affairs?

There are many reasons why someone might choose to pursue public affairs. For some, it may be a desire to make a difference in the world or to help others. Others may be motivated by the challenge of working on complex issues and finding innovative solutions. Whatever the reason, public affairs offers a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on society.

  1. What do you think are the most important skills for a public affairs professional?

There are many important skills for public affairs professionals, but some of the most essential skills include:

  • Strong communication and writing abilities
  • The ability to think critically and solve problems
  • The ability to research and analyse public policy issues
  • The ability to build relationships and work collaboratively

Make sure to use specific examples of times when you used these skills in your answer.

  1. What do you think sets public affairs apart from other professional disciplines?

Public affairs is a unique field that combines aspects of many different disciplines, including political science, communications, and business. Public affairs professionals are often able to work on a variety of issues and have the opportunity to make a real difference in the world.

  1. What do you think are the biggest challenges public affairs professionals face?

Public affairs professionals often face a number of challenges, including:

  • Dealing with complex and often sensitive issues
  • Working on tight deadlines
  • Managing multiple projects simultaneously
  • Building relationships with key stakeholders
  1. What do you think is the most important thing for public affairs professionals to remember?

The most important thing for public affairs professionals to remember is that they are often the voice of the public. They need to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in order to get their message across.

  1. What do you think is the best thing about public affairs?

There are many great things about public affairs, but one of the best things is the ability to make a real difference in the world. Public affairs professionals have the opportunity to work on a variety of issues and help shape public policy.

  1. What do you think public affairs professionals should keep in mind when dealing with the media?

Public affairs professionals should keep in mind that the media is a powerful tool that can be used to influence public opinion. They need to be able to communicate effectively with the media in order to get their message across.

  1. Have you ever crafted a press release?  If so, can you give us an example?

Yes, I have crafted a press release before. For example, I once wrote a press release for a local event that was taking place. The press release included information about the event, as well as quotes from the organisers.

This is just an example. In your answer, you should try to include a specific example of a time when you wrote a press release or acted as a spokesperson for a group.

  1. Do you have any experience in crisis management?  If so, can you give us an example?

Crisis management is a very important skill for public affairs professionals. In my experience, I have found that it is often necessary to be able to think on your feet and adapt to changing circumstances. For example, I once had to deal with a crisis situation where a client’s product was being recalled. I was able to quickly develop a plan of action and communicate it to the public.

Another example answer showing you the need to think on your feet. This list of questions is not exhaustive, so feel free to think about your own examples and situations that apply to you and are relevant to public affairs.


By following the tips above, you can make sure that your public affairs interviews go off without a hitch – even if they’re conducted over Zoom. Remember to be professional, stay calm, and be prepared to answer any questions that come your way. With a little practice, you’ll be nailing those online interviews in no time!

Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.
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