How to ask good questions (for a magazine interview)

Magazine Editor Interview Questions
  • How do you manage your daily tasks? …
  • How do your editing skills improve the quality of content being published? …
  • What suggestions do you offer to writers who make many mistakes? …
  • What methods do you use to comply with industry regulations?

17 Questions with SEVENTEEN | W Magazine

Asking good questions is hard. In most interviews I’ve done and read, I tend to hear a lot of the same questions. It seems that people either don’t research their guest before interviewing them, or they do light research and repeat what we all know in an effort to prove they did light research.

Both approaches result in a boring experience for the person being interviewed and a boring read for the audience. It’s why (among other reasons), even though someone asking to interview you is a great honor, many people who are often interviewed come to dread it.

I’m no pro at interviewing people, but between my NTMY podcast and the ongoing interview series we do on this blog, I’ve learned what separates forgettable interviews from memorable ones.

Research the hell out of your guest

We spend a couple hours (at least) researching our guests, their work, industry, history, culture, clients, Tweets, etc. before we interview them. We find and read all the interviews they’ve already done. We read what Wikipedia has to say. We read whatever they’ve written themselves. We do everything short of stalking them at their local grocery store.

When beginning to write your questions, write down every question you have about your guest. As you research, eliminate the questions you find answers to. Get as much information as you can and then think about what you still want to know. This is what helps you ask great questions. It also helps you avoid questions they’ve already been asked. Eliminating those questions is your goal because 1. Your audience can or has already read about it elsewhere 2. Your guest has already said all they can say about it (unless of course, the story has developed since those interviews).

With almost every interview I’ve done, I’m asked a question I could easily answer by linking to another interview or article I wrote. I can see why this happens – people know you have an opinion on that subject so they want you to speak about it on their platform, whether or not you’ve already said it before. But even if you do want to discuss a topic someone often speaks about, try to find a fresh angle. Your guest and audience will thank you for it.

magazine interview questions

1. How do you manage your daily tasks?

2. What suggestions do you offer to writers who make many mistakes?

3. How do your editing skills improve the quality of content being published?

4. What methods do you use to comply with industry regulations?

5. How would you ensure that content is relevant to a target audience?

6. Which style guides do you prefer and why?

7. What topics would you want to cover in the next three months and why?

8. How would you give constructive feedback to a writer?

9. Can you explain your fact-checking process?

10. How do you plan and prioritize your work?

11. How would you suggest content improvements to senior managers or well-known authors?

12. How do you determine if a piece of writing is good?

13. Have you ever received negative feedback on a piece of writing that you have signed off? What was your response?

14. What has been your favorite project? Which was most challenging? Why?

15. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as a copywriter? How did you resolve the problem?

16. What do you like about our current content? How would you improve it?

17. What are the failures that you most cherish? 18. What are the qualities that you like least, and most, about your parents?

19. Are you smart, or do you work hard?

20. How do you develop yourself outside of the work environment?

21. What are you most curious about in life? 22. What kind of magazines do you like to read?

23. Do you think people like to read magazines?

24. What is the future of the magazine world in the coming time?

25. What are the benefits of reading magazines? 26. What inspires you?

27. What are your strengths as a Magazine layout?

28. What are the best qualities of your writing style?

29. Why do you want to work for our publication?

30. What topics would you like to cover at our publication?

31. How would you improve our publication?

32. Do you see yourself still working with us in five years?

33. How often do you use social media? Do you use it for identifying new stories?

34. What publications do you read in your personal time?

35. What are some of your strengths and weaknesses in using technology for storytelling?

36. Who do you think our competitors are?

37. How have you managed the stress of tight deadlines?

38. How much experience do you have with content management systems?

39. Can you describe a time you pitched a unique story?

40. What tools do you use to stay organized?

41. Have you ever stretched the truth in your stories?

42. How have you prioritized multiple deadlines in the past?

43. What have you done to increase readership in previous publications?

44. What types of people do you have difficulty working with?

45. What precautions do you take to ensure your collected information is accurate?

46. Can you list at least three stories our publication would be interested in at this moment?

47. Are you familiar with our staff members? Are there any you would prefer to work with?

48. Do you have any particular methods of staying informed with accurate information?

49. Considering all the major stories from last year, which would you have liked to cover?

50. What content would you most prefer to write about?

51. Can you list three concepts or elements you implement into every story?

52. Are there any famous journalists that inspire you? Why are they inspirational to you?

53. If you could improve your writing, what would you change?

54. What was your worst-performing story? What did you learn from it?

55. Would you be hesitant to ask uncomfortable questions?

56. What skills do you employ when interviewing individuals for stories?

57. Would you take on a story that could tarnish someone’s reputation?

58. Tell me about a time you received some tough feedback or feedback you didn’t agree with.

59. What happened and what did you learn from getting this feedback?

60. What is your [writing, editing, design, etc.] process?

61. Tell me about your (writing, editing, design, etc.) experience.

62. Tell me about a time you had to give tough feedback or have a tough conversation.

63. What is the project you’re most proud of completing?

64. What interests you about this position?

65. What are your greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses?

Behind the success of any magazine, the interviews and features published in it play a crucial role. It is imperative to carefully research your interviewees and make an attempt to understand their interests and requirements. If you have an opportunity to interview a magazine editor, then these are the kind of questions you can ask:

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