The San Francisco Chronicle Interview Questions

Updated Apr 1, 2014
Updated Apr 1, 2014
4 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Copy Editor Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 days - interviewed at The San Francisco Chronicle.

    Interview Details

    Interviews filled a full workday. I talked with HR reps, the copy desk chief, the executive editor and more. I sat in on the afternoon newsroom meeting where editors determine what will go on the front page. I applied and got no response, but then I met a higher-up at an industry event and that person moved my application forward, so networking is important. As a copy editor, I also had to pass an editing and headline-writing test. Do your homework.

    Interview Questions
    • I suppose the editing/headline test was the most difficult part, especially the portions where I needed to write headlines about a story to fit a particular space. Pay attention to detail!   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I named a high number, the other person named one slightly lower, and we compromised in the middle. I raised my minimum salary given the cost of living in the Bay Area. Don't underestimate that cost!
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Staff Reporter & Writer Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied in-person - interviewed at The San Francisco Chronicle.

    Interview Details

    For a reporter or assignment / desk editor job: he best way to get hired is to write directly to the Department Head (City Editor, Features / Datebook Editor, Deputy Managing Editor for Features).

    For copy-editing job, write to head of copy editors. Sorry, forgot that title.

    Avoid HR.

    Write a kick-ass cover letter, and send resume.

    If you know anyone who works there, have them put in a plug. Like everywhere, it is who you know.

    Getting an interview is more than half the work. For newsroom job on interview day, you will talk to the department head, an assignment editor, a few colleagues, then the Managing Editor and/or Executive Editor. All 1 on 1, no group interview. Most done in a single day....

    Very mellow, surprisingly. Not a grueling interrogation at all. If you've gotten to the interview stage, they want to like you. The job is almost yours -- unless you kick it away.

    I think they called one reference. No written tests (except, I'm sure, for copy editors) -- except maybe a drug test? Can't remember.

    BTW, it's a fast process. It's a Yes or No within days!

    Interview Questions
    • Shockingly, for a bunch of journalists, they ask very few good or hard-ball questions. It's mostly chatter about your experience. Be enthusiastic. Be friendly. Don't try to impress -- comes off arrogant. (Most in newsroom did NOT come from Ivy League or big city newspapers; there's a real inferiority complex // defensiveness there!) Like everywhere else, people hire less on resumes and more on who they like.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Get it ALL up front!!!!!!! You will never see a raise (other than union raise, which is paltry, at best)!

    There's always a teeny bit of play on salary. Maybe $50-$100 from their initial offer. Salaries are really awful., especially for a major newspaper in such an expensive city. Of course, ideal if you have another offer or at least another interview with another newspaper ....

    **Call up the Newspaper Guild BEFORE your interview, and find out what the salary ranges are for the job you're applying for! NOT just the Guild minimum, but what people are actually making!

    **Try to get at least one extra week vacation -- it's easy for them to give up.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  3.  

    Account Executive Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took 1 week - interviewed at The San Francisco Chronicle.

    Interview Details

    Had 1 phone screening, and they decided to bring me in for interviews the following week. There were 3 rounds of interviews. The most important employer was at the end of the interview.

    I liked that all 3 employers had different personalities, which shed some light on their work environment.

    Interview Questions
    • If I hire you for this role tomorrow how would you start off your day? What would you do, or work on first, and how would you plan on getting things done?   Answer Question
    • If you were to start your own business what would it be and how would you get it going?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    They usually send out a job offer almost immediately. Depending which team you work with, there may be some room for negotiation, but if that, very little.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
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  5.  

    Reporter Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took a day - interviewed at The San Francisco Chronicle in May 2009.

    Interview Details

    Pretty dismal. First question my interviewer asked was: What is your current salary? I provided an answer, and he interviewer immediately said they couldn't pay me that much.

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview

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