Seven interview questions for George Osborne

So the Evening Standard has a new editor. As we in the headhunting profession know well, no media organisation would approach such a critical appointment without a full and rigorous competency-based interview process.

Here are seven key questions we would require a prospective editor to answer in interview. We can only assume from his appointment that George Osborne aced them all.

1. This is a moment of unprecedented change for the media sector, in terms of both readership habits and the commercial models required to support them. Could you give us an example of a time when you have led a fully-integrated multi-channel content strategy, incorporating print, digital, mobile and others? What did you do and what was the outcome?

2. Nearly all editors at some point encounter a situation in which a story arises that sheds a negative light on a major advertiser, commercial partner or other supporter. Can you tell us about such an occasion? What do you do to ensure the editorial integrity of your publication when it comes into conflict with commercial concerns?

3. Talk us through a time when you have had to lead a large-scale editorial function through a period of change? Additionally, could you perhaps tell us about the most difficult time you’ve had to run an editorial team through?

4. Could you tell me about a particular exclusive, or a piece of investigative journalism, that you or your team have broken that you are especially proud of? How did you get that story and develop it?

5. At a time when readers have greater access to news than ever before, what would you do to ensure that the Evening Standard is viewed as a trusted and impartial news source?

6. London is a large global city with a massively diverse population. Can you talk us through a time when you have used customer insight, audience data and analytics to ensure that your publication is truly addressing the needs of a particular audience?

… and finally….

7. Could you briefly run us through why you left your last job?


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Martin Tripp Associates is a London-based executive search consultancy. While we are best-known for our work in the TMT (technology, media, and telecoms) space, we have also worked with some of the world’s biggest brands on challenging senior positions. Feel free to contact us to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog.