Interviews can be nerve racking and with many interviews now being conducted remotely it can be more difficult to appear relaxed and be able to get your personality across. Whatever structure your interview takes and whatever level of role you are being interviewed for, the one things that remains unchanged is that preparation is still the key. The more you prepare the better chance of success you have.
There is a huge amount of advice out there to help you nail your interview, but we have put together a reminder of our top 20 tips for a successful interview.
1 BE PREPARED
2 BE PUNTUAL AND IF USING TECHNOLOGY TEST IN ADVANCE
3 SMILE & BE FRIENDLY
4 DON’T PANIC
5 RE-READ YOUR APPLICATION LETTER AND CV
6 BE ENTHUSIASTIC
7 BE CONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITY
8 TAKE TIME TO CONSIDER YOUR ANSWERS
9 DO YOUR RESEARCH ABOUT THE COMPANY AND ROLE
10 DO YOUR RESEARCH ABOUT THE COMPANY’S COMPETITORS
11 PREPARE ANSWERS TO COMMON INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
12 HIGHLIGHT YOUR STRENGTHS AND APPLY THEM TO THE JOB ROLE
13 FRAME ANY WEAKNESSES POSITIVELY
14 PREPARE SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK
15 CLEARLY DEFINE WHY YOU WANT THIS PARTICULAR ROLE
16 KEEP PROFESSIONAL THROUGHOUT THE INTERVIEW
17 DON’T WAFFLE OR GO OFF AT TANGENTS
18 DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETHING
Creating a more diverse workforce should not just be seen as something to improve a company’s reputation or just used as a box ticking exercise, it should be recognised for something that will give you a competitive advantage and therefore ultimately increase success and profits.
Creating a team with different backgrounds and characteristics will enable you to challenge your thoughts and look at things from different perspectives, which in turn increases your creativity.
Research by Josh Bersin shows that companies who are the most inclusive are, amongst other benefits, 1.8 times more likely to be ‘change-ready’ which in today’s market is certainly a crucial skill to harness.
It is well documented that Publishing is an industry that has struggled with diversity and its ability or willingness to publish books that can appeal to and reach multiple audiences and although obviously not the complete answer, rethinking hiring practices has to be a starting point. As the recent well publicised academic study on diversity in trade fiction and the publishing industry Rethinking ‘Diversity’ in Publishing suggests ‘hiring more people who belong to marginalised communities will benefit publishers strongly in terms of helping them tap into new audiences – but only if they are given the resources and freedom to do this work’. It goes on to say ‘while it is tempting to hire the person who fits in with the ‘culture’ of a publishing house, hiring people who do not fit the typical mould might in fact reap the biggest rewards if they are given the freedom and space to express themselves’.
As an agency and partner in our client’s recruitment, we take this responsibility seriously and do everything possible to facilitate the broadest possible reach and range of potential talent to offer them. To help combat ‘unconscious bias’, we can offer more standardised CVs which can include:
Removing candidate’s names
Removing university names
Removing current or previous employer details
We work with our clients to continually challenge our perceptions and some clients are asking us to specifically include a certain range of candidates where at all possible ie at least 1 female candidate, at least 1 male candidate (for roles such as editorial that have traditionally attracted mostly females) and at least 1 BAME candidate. Where this is not possible, we are able to show that we have been fully inclusive with our searching and advertising criteria. More and more clients are also opening their selection criteria to candidates outside of publishing, where this is possible.
As an agency, we encourage transparency when advertising new opportunities, particularly with salaries, as keeping salaries secret can increase discrimination. A candidate could be chosen simply because they are able or willing to accept a lower salary. To attract the right candidates to a company we need to look not only at their relevant ‘hard skills’ but also whether they are aligned to the company’s values and priorities. Transparency at an early stage, both with salaries and company culture, not only builds trust but also wastes less time. Even if we are not able to advertise the salary, we only approach candidates that we think are in the right bracket and do not put any candidates forward without them being aware of what the salary and other benefits are likely to be. We do not only look at the candidate’s current salary to determine whether they are a fit for the role, we look at whether they are qualified for the role, regardless of their current salary.
Freelancing can offer great flexibility and a chance to ‘be
your own boss’ and now may be a great time to give it a go. Whether you are looking to build a long term
freelancing career or find interim work whilst looking for the right permanent
opportunity, a lot of the same challenges and rewards apply.
If looking for a permanent job, getting some freelance experience
will be great for your CV and will offer you the chance of increasing your
First you need to decide what skills and experience you have to offer ie experience in social media marketing/general online marketing, experience of designing book covers or experience of editing technical content.
Whatever this is can be your main offering but being open to new skills and continued learning is essential if you want to sustain a full-time freelance career. There is so much training available online that you can teach yourself almost anything to either get more advanced with a current skill or learn a new skill. See our recent blog on upskilling yourself online. The more skills you have to offer the more successful you can be.
Once you are clear what you can offer potential clients, you can go about finding these clients and letting them know about your service. Start with your existing network of contacts and build from here. Advertise on social media channels and consider memberships of appropriate societies where you can advertise yourself and learn from other members. BookMachine are currently partnering with the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading to offer CIEP free membership in August.
Whatever freelancing services you want to offer there are
some key qualities that you will need and that publishers will be looking for:
Confidence in your ability
Self-motivation and discipline
Excellent communication skills (written and
An understanding of your target market
Value for money
Being organised and adhering to deadlines
Showcasing as many of these skills as possible when
approaching potential clients will give you a greater chance of success.
Once you have had some experience, you can start asking for
testimonials and referrals which is a great way of building your network
further. Also hopefully you will start to get repeat business and regular
With the current challenges in the job market, it is
becoming even more important to stand out from the crowd and create as many
opportunities as you can to get in front of potential employers.
One easy and fast way to do this is to create a personal LinkedIn profile that showcases your
personality, interests and skills.
Before starting or updating your profile ask yourself how
you would like people to see you. Who is
your target audience that you are trying to reach and influence?
Start with adding a photo. Ideally this should be a high
resolution recent image that looks like you and has your entire face visible.
You should look professional but relaxed and smiling to welcome your audience.
Add an attention grabbing Headline.
This is the best way to get your profile noticed and hopefully help you to get
interviews. Remember that a lot of
potential hiring managers will view your profile so you need to show your
skills and expertise and communicate the value you will bring to them. Try to include one keyword or phrase for the
type of job you want. Don’t waste your
headline by just putting your job title – always personalise and develop to
include relevant keywords that will help people find you. You only have 120
characters, so make sure you use them effectively.
Next you can expand on your headline, in your summary. This
space gives you a maximum of 2000 characters to define yourself and your
experiences in your own words. It is your chance to sell yourself by
highlighting your achievements and show your enthusiasm for the sectors that
you are trying to influence. If
you need inspiration, there are countless examples that you can view online but
try to make yours unique and personal to yourself. Keep to short paragraphs to make it easy to
Next add your
experience. Start with your current or
last position and expand as much as possible on any accomplishments or examples
of where you have added value to team projects or team initiatives. Keep it clear and concise with bullet points
where appropriate to break up the text.
If you are looking for your first role you can still add any part-time
work experience you have had or relevant experience through your education.
education, including where and what you studied. Research from LinkedIn
suggests that people who list these details get up to 11x more profile views.
profile up to date and relevant by posting and sharing content that you are
interested in and that shows your passion for your career aspirations. Posting
videos and photos will make your page more engaging and eye-catching.
Add skills you
want to be known for under ‘endorsements’, to enable connections to endorse
you. This will add credibility to your profile.
In summary, your LinkedIn profile is a great way to show people who you
are and what you stand for. People can find you and see what you are interested
in through your content and posts. It needs to be kept up-to-date and relevant and
should be written with keywords in mind for discoverability.
Once you are happy with your profile, it is time to start connecting and
building relationships. You can let recruiters know that you’re open to new
which will encourage them to contact you. By adding titles and locations you’re
interested in, you’ll help them understand what you’re looking for.
It is important to understand
your privacy settings to have control over your profile and its visibility so you
can customise it to fit your needs. Within these settings you can also choose
to keep your job search private and visible only to recruiters if you wish.
Remember – Your personal brand is you, your reputation, your
personality and energy. It is therefore important to optimise it.
We know that many people are currently worried about
their job prospects and as an employment agency we are keen to help in any way
we can. We are particularly concerned
for those trying to enter the job market for the first time and have invited
our publisher clients to promote any graduate schemes, paid internships or work
experience through us (free of any charge).
Details of publishing internships / publishing work
experience / publishing graduate schemes will be posted here on our blog,
promoted on our social media and shared with our registered job seekers.
If you’re a publisher or company in the publishing
industry or supply chain, please get in touch with Claire Law at firstname.lastname@example.org
With bookshops now starting to reopen, we hope that this is going to be a much needed boost for us all. With evidence showing that reading books has surged in lockdown we are all hoping that this trend will continue and now that people are able to visit bookshops, translate into further increased sales.
According to Nielsen
Book’s research, 41% of people said they were reading more books during this
period and many have almost doubled the hours they have spent reading per week.
There have been stories from parents that have been delighted to see their
teenage children grow back in love with reading. Hopefully this trend will
continue and those that have found a new love of books will keep on
For those of us that are struggling to read during these unsettling times, it is worth persevering. Try reading something lighter than you would usually choose if you are finding it harder to concentrate. It is well documented that reading can have many health benefits including reducing stress levels, lowering our blood pressure and helping combat depression. It can also improve our memory and empathy and generally make us feel more positive. This is in addition to the more obvious benefits of increasing our knowledge and challenging our imagination. In these current times the opportunity to have a ready form of entertainment with the opportunity to immerse ourselves in escapism seems even more welcome and valuable.
So whether you are finding that you read more or less
during lockdown – the message is clear – support your well-being and our
industry by carrying on reading!
Many people will be looking to leaders, for some
hope and inspiration, to get them through these uncertain times ahead.
to Gallop, what people primarily need in their
leader, is a clear path forward. If we
have this, then as human beings we are amazingly resilient, known as the ‘rally
effect’. During extraordinary times like
this pandemic, it becomes even more important for leaders to clearly
communicate this path and then to inspire confidence in their workforce to get
through this difficult period by working as a team. You do not need to be
overly optimistic or unrealistic, but you do need to give hope and
times of panic, it is easy to micromanage. To show trust, give your staff more
autonomy rather than less and encourage them to see the bigger picture. By showing
faith in them, it will allow them to help you come up with the best solutions. When
times are tough, people are afraid of losing their jobs. This fear often prevents
them from freely making suggestions and observations that might lead to improved
outcomes, as they don’t want to rock the boat. If you want to motivate your employees and get
the best out of them, you need to make them feel safe rather than fearful. It is crucial that leaders don’t show panic,
as employees often model their behaviour, particularly in times of crisis. It does not mean that leaders need to have
all the answers – it just means that they need to provide hope that things will
eventually improve and give practical suggestions on steps to take on the path
None of us know how long this situation is
going to last or what the long term effects will be but knowing that the
leadership has a clear plan of action and that they care about their employee’s
health and well-being, will go a long way towards them feeling confident and
secure. They need to know that their contributions
are valued and integral to the future success of the business. If we can learn and adapt together, there is a
much greater chance of coming through this testing time, both stronger and more
In the meantime, do not forget to celebrate the
wins, however small and praise your team for things they are doing well. Positivity breeds positivity, even in times
Recent government announcements suggest that anyone
unable to work from home, should now where possible, start to return to their
workplaces. This is straight-forward
advice for industries that cannot work from home but what about those of us
that have a choice? How can we decide
the right time to do this and the best way to do this? The most important thing is to start planning now,
in order to do this safely and most effectively, when the time is right.
The last couple of months has turned everything we did
and thought on its head, including our attitudes to home working. Working from
home is no longer seen as just an employee benefit for the minority, instead it
has and will continue to be a core part of business planning. We have now
learnt that it is possible for many of us to work from home and whilst there
are undoubtedly some negatives, there are lots of obvious positives that many
people will be keen to continue benefitting from. The future challenge for businesses will be
how much they can and should continue to offer flexibility, once it is not
forced upon them and what the trade-offs will be in doing so.
According to a survey by job board Totaljobs 49% of people are looking forward to returning to work so managing how we introduce our staff back into the office and arriving at solutions that are safe and sustainable is the immediate challenge. Most experts think that this ‘management phase’ of the covid-19 crisis, is likely to last well into next year, so getting it right is crucial. In order to decide who to bring back first, you will need to think about what roles you absolutely need to have in the office and plan accordingly. For example facilities and IT may be among the first to bring back so that they can help plan and implement the rest. Technology infrastructure will play a key part as it will need to continue to support some level of home working for those that cannot come back into the office. The more agile and flexible your systems are, the more you will be able to react to future disruptions ie if we get a large second peak of infections. It will also enable you to offer flexible working as a long-term benefit.
The CIPD have published a guide to returning
to the workplace and they encourage all businesses to ensure that they meet
three keys tests before bringing people back into the office:
Is it essential?
Is it sufficiently safe?
Is it mutually agreed?
The guide includes lots of practical advice on areas such as risk management and the importance of communicating the new rules and procedures. It also has lots of information on how the government’s new extended, more flexible furlough scheme can help. There are links to other useful information including the government guidance for working safely in offices.
clear, is that in order to keep to the government’s social distancing
guidelines, most of us will not be able to go back into our offices exactly as
we left them. Unless we are able to take
extra space, we will need to reduce the number of employees at work at any one
time. This could be done in a variety of
ways, from shift patterns to rotational days or weeks, but ultimately will
probably require some mixture of home and office working.
all these additional challenges, as well as trying to keep business going will
require all of us to work together. Clear communication and thorough planning
will be vital. Showing that you are putting the health and well-being of your
employees at the heart of all the decisions so that they feel supported and
valued will be even more important in these challenging uncertain times.
Some people are
understandably nervous of recruiting under the current constraints of social
distancing, but this could be the perfect time for you to test ‘remote
recruiting’. Many people think that
remote working could be the new norm, so how do those without experience of
this adjust and make it work when recruiting new staff?
It is not necessary to put
all recruitment on hold until everyone is back in the office – it is possible
to recruit remotely – many companies have done this on a regular basis before
it became a reality for us all. Whether
you want to consider this as just an interim measure or a more permanent
solution, making this work will not only help you to keep your business moving
in the current climate but may also be used as an attractive option for the
future. Being able to offer a mixture of
remote and office based employment will not only present cost savings but also
make you more attractive to future employees.
Whilst many of us may be used to some form of remote interviewing, taking this one step further to ‘on-board’ new staff remotely may seem daunting and more of a challenge. We all know how important the first days and weeks of new employment are, both for the candidate and the client, so it is extremely important to get this right, whether in an office or a remote location. It is obviously important to make sure that your remote employee has the right equipment and technology and that you think about how your existing processes can be adapted to work in a remote setting. With the wide range of video and communication options that are available it is easy to have face to face regular contact wherever your staff are based and getting regular feedback from your new employee will ensure that you arrive at solutions that work for you both. Our recent blog Remote induction of a new member of staff during the lockdown gives some useful tips on things you will need to consider. REC business partner Howden has created a hub of resources to help employers manage employee wellbeing and includes a very useful 13 page guide to welcoming new team members remotely (towards the bottom half of the page) on On-boarding in a virtual world.
Many of our clients now
recruiting remotely, with no previous experience of this, are finding that
starting new employees on a part-time basis has helped them. This has allowed them to adjust in a more
The current situation has
proved conclusively that flexibility in working patterns can work and that you
don’t physically have to be in the same space to make decisions and work as a
team. The enforced lockdown that arrived without warning has meant we have all
needed to adapt and live and work in different ways. There may be many negatives that we have all
experienced from this but hopefully there will also be some positives that will
help us all continue to build robust businesses that can thrive wherever we are
Continuing with our theme to share ideas and tips for working and living through these strange times, we thought we’d suggest some ideas on keeping your mind fresh whilst staying at home.
Continuing with our theme to share ideas and tips for working and living through these strange times, we thought we’d suggest some ideas on keeping your mind fresh whilst staying at home.
From Clare Chan:
If you are working from home, why not create a standing
For the past weeks, I have been working at my
desk sitting down. I increasingly felt a
need to break this habit to sharpen my mind so I decided to work standing. If you don’t have a tall table? Try using
books or perhaps a small stool. Working standing up keeps my mind sharp and
active. I am also able to concentrate on my work much better so why not give it
Find a new exercise
Very frankly, I am not the best cyclist.
Living in London for quite a few years now, I have never cycled on the
road. This weekend, I jumped on a
Santander bike as my once a day exercise. It was terrifying at first, but by
pushing yourself out of your comfort zone makes you feel much more refreshed
and stimulated, especially we are now spending a lot of time at home and might
get a bit too comfortable at times.
Take a virtual museum tour
Miss travelling around the
world and going to museums? Google
Art & Culture has everything you need to keep yourself
entertained. It has virtual tours from the
Pyramids to Anne Frank’s Family Home.
They also have over 3,400 museums and galleries around the world to
bring anyone and everyone virtual tours of some of the most famous museums
around the world. Still bored? They have
an Art Selfie function where you can see who you look like in the world of
From Claire Law:
It can feel like the weeks are starting to
blur a bit now and it’s important to make sure we look after our mental health
as well our physical. I’m much better at making myself do exercise, partly
so I can eat and drink what I want but also as I (usually) enjoy it! It’s
harder to remember to make an effort to look after our minds so here are some
of my ideas:
Keep a diary / log of things that made you happy each day
I have a beautiful little
book I try to fill in (admittedly I don’t do it every day) with at least a
couple of things that made me smile that day.
Even if you’re not working right now, it’s a good idea to
have a routine in place so you get up, get dressed and find time to do a
mixture of things. Try to go to bed at the same time and get up at a normal
time. If you are working then make sure you take proper breaks and try to leave
your workspace behind while eating.
Make time each day to communicate with friends and
family, maybe keep in touch with at least 1 friend
each day, by phone, email or post.