Interview questions for Copy Editor

We analyzed 250 interview reviews for Copy Editor from various job sites, social network groups and forums.

Here are the most frequent job interview questions asked by HR managers during initial phone or onsite interviews. This list does not include technical or factual questions.

10 frequent non-technical questions for Copy Editor:

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
What is your greatest weakness?
Why did you leave your last job?
Tell me about yourself
What was the biggest mistake you made in your most recent job? How did you handle it?
What experience do you have in this field?
How would you describe yourself?
Why and how did you choose your career?
Who has inspired you in your life, and why?
What is your ideal work environment?

According to our research, hiring managers looking to fill Copy Editor role ask soft skills interview questions 55% more frequently than for other roles.

Copy Editor interview question statistics

1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?top question

How to answer

This question belongs to a family of behavioral, or even more precisely, reflective questions.

The interviewer wants to learn two things about you by asking this question.

  • They want to know what you think about the job you are applying for. Remember, they are interviewing you for the job that's open right now. Are you a good fit and will you do a good job for them?
  • Just as important, they want to get an idea of your ambitions and goals for yourself and if your goals align with their needs, especially going into the future.

In this way the employer should see how you see yourself today, and whether you are ambitious and strive to grow as a professional, and whether you like to learn and develop your skills.

  1. About Yourself

    What challenges do you like overcoming? Where are you starting from and where might you be going?

    For example, let's say the position you are applying for is junior accountant. It includes a wide range of tasks such as basic bookkeeping, financial analysis, and reporting. If accounting is your chosen field, then you would most likely want to move in the direction of obtaining your CPA so that you might step up to more responsibility as an accounting manager or senior auditor within the next 5 years. Your responses should make sense in how you see yourself growing in your professional career.

    However, at this point, if you are happy just where you are and want to further your current skills, that is also fine as long as there is a growth path for you that can be imagined and described.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company to learn what career opportunities may be available in the department you are applying to, and what the trends are in the company in general.

    • Is the business expanding, are they opening new locations, or starting new projects?
    • Or are they heavily automating and cutting staff?

    Let’s say you are applying for a UX designer position for a brand-new product.

    In the future, if the product becomes a success - which is what the company hopes for - the company will hire more designers and you may become a lead designer, or you may become a product manager.

    On a side note: If you train your mind to be open to opportunities you will be amazed at how much this world has to offer to you!

  3. About The Fit

    And, of course, try to see where the perfect fit lies between your own potential and aspirations, and the company’s trends and hopes.

    However, beware of the risk of showing too much excitement for future opportunities compared to your attitude towards the current position.

    As we said earlier, you must show interest and enthusiasm for the position you are applying for. If the interviewer senses that you are more enthusiastic about future growth than about the current position, they may conclude that you are not the right person for the job at hand.

Pro Tip

This question gives you a good opportunity to showcase your Key Selling Points (e.g. “As I am very good at delegating tasks, I can easily see myself leading a team of software testers in the future…”), and end your statement by asking about current initiatives and goals at the company.

In thinking about the possibilities that may lie ahead, you also might want to consider taking a personality test (I recommend 16Personalities which is based on the Myers-Briggs test), research the internet on what career paths are possible with your skills and current job.

It is generally NOT a good idea to say something like:

“Oh, I cannot imagine what happens to me tomorrow, let alone in 5 years”.

This will show you as a person who is unimaginative and not forward-thinking enough to grow with and be a good fit for the company.

2. What is your greatest weakness?

How to answer

This question ranks as the most challenging for many people. Fortunately, Mr. Simon is here to help!

Interviewers are not out to trick or trap you! They ask this question to gauge your level of self-awareness, your honesty and openness, and your capability for self-improvement.

  1. About Yourself

    No one is perfect and your interviewer doesn't expect you to be perfect either.

    While it is good to be honest and open, it will not help you to put yourself down.

    What's important is to find a weakness that you have overcome. How you turned what might be considered a negative into a positive.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company (website, social media, etc) to learn about the company culture.

    What personal and professional qualities do they value?

  3. About The Fit

    This is the time to clearly state a true weakness that you have overcome.

    Be as specific as possible and stay away from vague cliches like “I work too hard.” It would be difficult for anyone to try and explain how they overcame a weakness like that

    Mr. Simon emphasizes the Present-Past-Present method of responding to behavioral questions. When you are asked about your greatest weakness, you should be able to successfully use this approach as well. Here is an example of how someone might answer this question.

    Present - "I have always had a fear of public speaking, and believe this may have held me back in my career, especially when having to make presentations to management."

    Past - "Last year I learned about Toastmasters International and decided to join this group to help me gain confidence in myself and improve my ability to present to others in just about any situation."

    Present - "By overcoming this weakness I believe that it has made me a much stronger candidate for this position, someone you can count on to make presentations to management, conduct training and communicate at a high level."

    It's important to show how well you've overcome a weakness by motivating yourself and learning a new skill to grow professionally.

Pro Tip

Use this question to sell yourself!

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Which of the following would be the best answer:

ASometimes I just work too hard

BI have trouble saying “no” when a colleague asks for help and I have my own work to finish

CI am a perfectionist

DI cannot think of a single thing

3. Why did you leave your last job?

How to answer

This question may be a little touchy for some people, but it's a question asked by interviewers, to find out why you left, in order to better understand how you may or may not make a good fit with their company.

Remember, never speak ill of your old company (this will not go over well).

  1. About Yourself

    There are a number of reasons why people leave or plan to leave their jobs. One very important recent factor has been the impact on jobs and job security due to Covid-19 and all of the issues raised by remote vs. on-site work.

    Regardless of the causes, there are three possible reasons that you left your last job or are planning to leave your current job:

    • You are looking for a career change
    • You are unhappy with your current employment
    • You were let go.

    Whatever the reason, it's best to always speak in a positive light.

  2. About The Company

    Based on your research about the company and the position you are interviewing for, what do you like most about the company? What excites you about the work as it is outlined in the job description?

  3. About The Fit

    Let's take a closer look at how you might respond to each of the three reasons for leaving your last job.

    1. You were let go

    You should simply state the facts (e.g. the company was downsizing, your position was eliminated, your department was offshored, etc.). Focus on the positive. You might want to share your accomplishments at your previous employment by relating a pertinent STAR story if you feel that would be relevant.

    2. You are looking for career advancement or a career change

    In your response you should be upfront, honest and as enthusiastic as you can be about the position. Consider using the Present-Past-Present method when giving this answer. Start with the Present by describing a career goal that is important to you. For instance you are a data analyst applying for a data management position and you are ready for this move. Then go back to the Past to indicate that at your previous job, there were little or no promotional opportunities in your field. Then come back to the Present and say that you are ready to take on the manager role and know that you will do an outstanding job for the company.

    3. You are unhappy with your current employment

    Sometimes a job just isn't going to take you to the next step in your career.

    Keep two things in mind when answering this question, 1) never "bad mouth" your current employer and 2) focus on the postive when speaking about the job and your reason for wanting to leave.

    The following is an example of how this question might be answered. This individual was looking to move up to a project manager position and did not feel that her current employer was the right place to achieve her goal. You might find her answer helpful in crafting your own response.

    "I really like my job as assistant project manager and love working with all of my coworkers on the team. However, the way the department is set up there is no real path to promotion. There are currently 3 project managers and they are all relatively new in their jobs. As far as I can see, they are all doing a good job and opportunties for promotion may not be opening up in the foreseeable future."

    Her comments were positive and her reasoning was clear and consise. Always try to keep your reasons positive and try not to create an impression that you were unhappy with the way you were treated.

Pro Tip

Whatever the reason you are looking for a new opportunity, make sure you are able to show how you are the perfect fit for the job for which you are interviewing!

Now that you have read some of our recommendations, you may wonder: “Ok, so what’s next? I seem to understand these concepts quite well and they kind of make sense to me, but how do I make sure my answers are actually in accordance with these recommendations, and I will stand out as a strong candidate in my upcoming interview?”

Good question. Assuming you are indeed qualified and fit for the position you are interviewing for, the best thing you can do is make sure the interviewer sees this fit.

There are two ways how you can leverage Mr. Simon’s expertise to help you shine your best:

  1. Go ahead and practice with the Mr. Simon app - it is a completely free, fun and helpful experience!
  2. Request a mock interview with a real human career mentor. During the session we will help you identify your Key Selling Points to emphasize in the interview, and to present them in a way that strongly communicates your value to the company. The 1-hour session costs USD 79.99 and is supplemented by 2 weeks of support via email, free of additional charge.

To request the session, shoot us an email to coaching@mrsimon.ai and attach your resume and job description to expedite the process.

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I searched interview prep via Google and found Mr. Simon. I sent an e-mail requesting help. Natalie was prompt in response. The session was one of the best things to have happened during my job search and interview preparation.
Natalie helped me feel calm and confident. She helped me break down the job description and relate it to my experience. After working with Natalie, I received 2 job offers in the same day.

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4. Tell me about yourself

How to answer

Most job candidates expect this to be one of the first interview questions and probably think of it as an “icebreaker” to get the interview started. It is much more than that! It is your opportunity to show the interviewer your relevance for the job. You want the employer to know that you are qualified to do the job, you are interested in doing the job and capable of getting it done.

  1. About Yourself

    What is your current occupation? Define yourself professionally in one statement.

    Pick 3 key skills that make you great at your work (your Key Selling Points). How have you applied these skills?

    Try to give some numbers to support your statement.

  2. About The Company

    Your first step is to Research the company to find out as much as you can about what they do and their approach to their business and their employees.

    Based on what you know about the company and the job description, why are you interested in the position you are applying for?

  3. About The Fit


    Now is the right time to show the fit between your skills and the company's requirements. Your answer works best if you emphasize your relevance. How do you do this? You will have already researched the company, studied the job description to identify their needs and possible pain points and prepared the relevant Star Stories that show how you addressed similar issues in the past. Your next step is to develop your Present-Past-Present approach.

    Start with the Present. Focus on the skills and experience from your most recent positions. What has enabled you to get the job done successfully and how this relates to what the employer is looking to accomplish.

    Next go back to the Past. Here is where your Star story comes in. Explain how you were able to use your skills and experience to accomplish a task that relates to an area of concern for the employer.

    Finally come back to the Present – summarizing the lessons you learned and how they shaped your response and approach today.

    Remember, the whole conversation is about the present, not the past. Just one sentence can summarize why your approach works, and its applicability and relevance to this position.

Pro Tip

You can also end with a question like:

“Do you know what the current needs in the company/department are, where my skills and experience can help?”

That can help you learn more about the company and the job, turn the “interrogation” into a conversation and will allow you to relax some tension.

Read our blog post to learn more about how to answer this question.

Take a quiz

Take a quick quiz and check if you’re ready to answer this question at your next job interview:

Pick the best answer:

AMy name is Andrew Franklin, I am 28 years old, and I am looking for a job that pays well.

BHello, my name is Natalie Price. I have two children and I love playing billiards and travelling. I am 33 years old.

CHi Mr. Simon, my name is Stanley Clark and I am a certified Project Management professional known for completing projects on time and on budget. I am passionate about building agile work culture and delivering results.

DHi Mr. Simon, my name is Dorothy Hanson. I have previously worked as an accountant in retail, but currently I am trying to transition into the field of healthcare.

5. What was the biggest mistake you made in your most recent job? How did you handle it?

How to answer

It’s important to know how to answer a job interview question about mistakes. They ask questions like this to learn how you handle challenges. They also want to determine your weaknesses, and decide if you have what it takes to do the job well.

It’s a chance for the interviewer to see that you can learn from your mistakes and use the experience to get better.

  1. About Yourself

    Do your best to tell a positive story about how the mistake was made, how you dealt with it and what learned from it.

    We all make mistakes from time-to-time.

    Answering some of the following questions will help you understand your own view of dealing with mistakes and their consequences. For instance:

    • How do you use a mistake to improve your abilities?
    • Are you self-aware enough to acknowledge failure and weakness?
    • Do you take smart risks?
    • How do you view success, failure, and risk in general?
    • Do you take responsibility for past mistakes instead of putting the blame on others?
    • If the situation repeats, what would you do differently? What would you do again?
  2. About The Company

    Before the interview, look over the job listing, research the company. Try to think of a mistake you have made in the past that is not too closely related to the requirements of the job you are interviewing for.

    What kind of challenges might you face if you get the job here?

  3. About The Fit

    It’s your opportunity to emphasize the skills or qualities you gained from your past negative experience that are important for the job you’re interviewing for now.

    Put a positive spin on your response by defining the “mistake” as a “learning experience” that led to your increased competency in the workplace.

    Talk about a specific example of a time you made a mistake. Briefly explain what the mistake was; quickly switch over to what you learned, or how you improved, after making that mistake.

    You might also explain the steps you took to make sure that mistake never happened again. Say that something you may have struggled with in the past has actually now became one of your strengths.

    Pick a story that ends with a compelling example of a lesson learned. Tell your story using the STAR method.

Pro Tip

Make absolutely sure that the interviewer understands that you learned from the experience.

Never blame others for what you did (however, if you were part of a team failure, you could relate this experience, just be sure to own up to your part in it).

Always be accountable for what you could have done differently in the failure.

Demonstrate that you’ve had the maturity to benefit from previous “lessons learned” and you can move on with increased wisdom and competency.

6. What experience do you have in this field?

How to answer

This question may help you convince the interviewer how smoothly you would fit into the position to which you are applying. It's your chance to WOW them! Be sure to focus on the experience that is relevant to the company and position.

  1. About Yourself

    Start with defining your Key Selling Points you want to emphasize for this position.

    • What job experiences brought you to those points?
    • What were the job titles and the most relevant responsibilities?
  2. About The Company

    Do your research of the company and the requirements for the position.

    • What is the company looking for in terms of experiences and qualifications?
    • What problems are they trying to solve with this position?

    Most importantly, make sure you are able to highlight and speak about at least 3-5 of your key experiences that match up with the requirements listed in the job description.

  3. About The Fit

    Using the Present-Past-Present method is a perfect way to answer this question.

    Starting with the Present, speak about your experience as it relates to one of the key requirements in the job description. You might say "I noted that the job description requires experience in employee training and this is an area in which I have a great deal of knowledge and skill."

    Then go back to the Past to describe how you improved overall training of staff from 82% to over 97% within your first year on the job. Senior leadership took note of this accomplishment for which you received a company commendation.

    Finally, come back to the Present to describe how you will help ensure that the company maintains the highest possible compliance with all employee training requirements.

    Nowadays, every hiring manager wants results, so think in terms of specific achievements and try to structure your example accordingly.

Pro Tip

When telling your story, remember to talk about your STARs!
S - What was the Situation?
T - What was your Task?
A - What Action did you take?
R - Talk about the Results.

7. How would you describe yourself?

How to answer

This question is like the Tell me about yourself question usually asked at the beginning of an interview, but there are some subtle differences. It belongs to the family of reflective questions where the interviewer is assessing your cognitive abilities, as opposed to the more factual and matter-of-fact “Tell Me About Yourself” question.

  1. About Yourself

    Think of how your bosses and peers would describe you.

    Throughout your professional experience, you have probably heard them giving you some labels – try to remember the exact words they used.

    If you have received LinkedIn recommendations from someone, read those and think why people wrote them and what work situations prompted those descriptions. Remember the context of those situations and frame them as stories.

    Make a list of keywords, or short key phrases, that can describe you. Your Key Selling Points should definitely appear on this list, but try to also use some adjectives here, to add a positive emotional touch.

  2. About The Company

    Research the company's values, standards and policies. Make a list of keywords or short key phrases.

  3. About The Fit

    Which of your keywords correspond best with those of the company? Highlight 3-4 matches. Now try to imagine being a peer or a boss of yours and compile statements about yourself, in the 3rd person, mentioning these keywords. Remember to use adjectives, and don’t be afraid to mention real references from real people.

    For example, if you are applying for a position that requires good people skills, and your boss at your previous job called you a “conflict resolution guru,” don’t be shy to mention this reference, and provide a brief context that caused your boss’s praise. Use the STAR method to craft your story.

    Don’t limit yourself with just one keyword. If you are concise and don’t ramble with your answer, your interviewer will probably want to hear more than one. Just be observant and watch the interviewer’s reaction. You want to keep them interested.

Pro Tip

If you haven’t yet received any LinkedIn recommendations, try to obtain them. Also, offer to write your own recommendations for them - both received and given recommendations will be visible in your profile and will tell the interviewer exactly what you want to be known about your values, your attitude towards work and relationships.

8. Why and how did you choose your career?

How to answer

By asking this question, the interviewer tries to understand what led you to choose your career path and hopefully to find out how enthusiastic you are about the work you do and how well you will fit into the job that you are applying for.

The answer will show whether your desire to work “here” and if it is a determined part of your overall career plan or it is just a stop along the way to other things.

  1. About Yourself

    • What characteristics and skills do you have?
    • What makes you good at what you do?
    • What attracted you to your career path?
    • What strengths do you possess that make you the best candidate for the job?
  2. About The Company

    Do your research and learn as much as possible about the organization and the career path you might forge there.

    Match up any of your skills and experiences that relate to the requirements of the job. How can you apply them to your new position, as well as the future?

  3. About The Fit

    Don’t just explain how you originally found this career.

    Show you’re still glad to be doing it, that will put the hiring manager’s mind at ease that you’re motivated to do the work, and that you’ll be a big success if they hire you.

    Your answers should provide the basis for a discussion about your passion for the work you do, your qualifications, and your skill set.

    Make a list of factors that led you to this choice.

    At the interview, tell only about those that characterize you and the situation in a positive light.

    It may have been a successful internship with a similar function, which confirmed your desire to work in this field.

    It could be a successful example of your parents, relatives or friends, which is indicative to you. You might have been motivated by your own academic success in this field which led you to enter it.

Pro Tip

Say that your chosen career best reflects your interests and you see it as continuing to be the most promising one for you.

Here’s a simple formula for answering this question:

First, address the origin of your motivation by tying it to your personal history. Then, explain what keeps you energized about the work on a daily basis that led you to where you are today. Finally connect your story and motivation to this job, the one you are interviewing for.

9. Who has inspired you in your life, and why?

How to answer

By prompting you to answer this question, the employer wants to understand your character, your value system, and your personality and how these qualities were influenced by someone you look up to and admire.

Many people may have inspired you, but it is probably best to focus on one that has been the most important to you personally. It might be confusing to the interviewer if you tried to name several influencers given the amount of time you have to properly answer this question.

It would be helpful (but not a deal-breaker) if the personal values you speak about have relevance to the job you are applying for.

  1. About Yourself

    The answer to this question is completely at your discretion.

    • Who encouraged you to become who you are today?
    • What qualities do they have that you admire most?
    • What are the common values between you and this person that you can use strategically in your career and life?
    • How did they help you to do proper introspection that influenced your life?

    Maybe it’s your parents, someone else from your family, a teacher or a mentor, a researcher, or a writer you admire. Maybe it’s a public figure that inspires you. Whoever this inspiring person is, remember that the interviewer is looking for a heartfelt response.

  2. About The Company

    Read the job description carefully and research the company to learn as much as you can about the company’s culture.

    What qualities does the company value in their employees? See if you are able to match their values to those of the person that inspired you.

    You should not only identify the person who inspires you but, if possible, also tell why and how their influence may have relevance to the company you are interviewing with.

    Be extra cautious while naming anyone that might be controversial (for example a politician or a celebrity) as your inspirer. The interviewer might have preconceived thoughts or ideas about certain people that you might be unaware of. This might lead them to judge you unfarily about your choice.

  3. About The Fit

    Be prepared to give examples of how the words, actions or teachings of your inspirer have helped to motivate you in achieving your goals.

    As always, prepare an answer which highlights qualities that would be highly valuable in the position you are seeking.

    Most employers look for characteristics such as adaptability, good interpersonal communication, leadership, creativity, innovativeness, honesty and dedication. Ask yourself, what ‘specific’ attributes have you learned from your motivator? Mention how learning such attributes helped you in your career.

    You should provide a specific example that shows the above-mentioned attribute of the inspirer.

Pro Tip

Remember that inspiration comes not only from others, but from yourself too.

Let the interviewer know that you are a self-confident person, who listens to yourself and is inspired by the challenges faced every day, both in your life and your career.

10. What is your ideal work environment?

How to answer

Happy and motivated employees are great at work when compared to employees who are uncomfortable with the organization’s work culture. This means that work culture plays an important role in the performance of the employees.

Interviewers ask this question to understand your potential in the workplace and your personality; they want to uncover whether you’re the sort of individual who can excel in the type of environment they offer.

  1. About Yourself

    To describe your ideal work environment, you need to make the answer fit both your professional and personal preferences.

    • What inspires and motivates you?
    • What kind of work environment helps you to be at your best?
    • What talents can you reveal when you are comfortable?
    • What aspects of your character can increase your professional opportunities?
    • Are you flexible enough to adjust to different environments without any issues if needed?
  2. About The Company

    Your answer should reflect the working environment of the business you’re interviewing with, so it’s important that you research the company thoroughly.

    Head over to their website and read their mission statement and other hints at their culture.

    Look on LinkedIn for any contacts you may have that know about the company (or even better, that actually work or worked there) and reach out to them for insights. Read feedbacks on websites like Glassdoor.

    • What goals does the company have?
    • Does it have formal or informal structures?
    • What does it value in its employees?
  3. About The Fit

    Work environment not only means the culture of the company but also refers to the physical place where you will be working.

    In addition to considering the type of company you will be working for, you should also think about things such as the size of the office, the size of your future team, and what you see around you, when you are in for the interview.

    Make sure that your vision aligns with the company’s existing cultural and physical environment.

    Regardless of the size of the company, you should be able to tell the interviewer why that company fits what you are looking for.

    If you are applying to a larger company, you might want to emphasize that job security is important to you.

    If your prospective job is with a smaller company - state that knowing everyone’s name allows you to feel connected.

    To convince them that you’re the ideal candidate you should focus on your aspirations for future and professional growth.

    Also, mention your teamwork skills. Say that it should be the place where you can work with different people to produce the best results possible.

    Ensure the interviewer that you are someone who knows exactly what you want.

Pro Tip

If you want to leave a lasting impression of yourself, don’t build your answer just with the company, its website information and its manner of operations.

Try to be unique and stay away from clichés.

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This page has been updated on August 14, 2020.

You can practice answering this question, as well as over 160 other common job interview questions for Copy Editor by engaging in a mock interview with Mr. Simon. As an artificial being, his undeniable benefits include:

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