Sample Interview Questions: Editorial in Book Publishing

by | March 10, 2009

What do you know about our kind of publishing? Do you read the kind of books we publish? Are you familiar with our types of readers?

Here's where you dazzle them with your research. It always helps if your response is actually heartfelt, but sometimes you'll have to find a way to make a believable case for the professional challenges and rewards of a job that you'd really rather not have for very long.

Remember that your interviewer believes enough in the company to work there and rise up the ladder, so try to tap into whatever their personal motivations may have been for working at the firm.

What do you read for pleasure?

Someone who reads a lot obviously has an appreciation for writing, which is a fundamental for most publishing employees to have. Unless you are applying for a senior editorial position, your tastes don't have to precisely match the output of the firm to which you are applying, but you do need to demonstrate the ability to communicate your tastes and preferences in a clear way.

The actual subject matter or type of books you read shouldn't matter much but, let's face it, you're talking to an individual and it's "hit or miss" whether your reading list will impress them or turn them off. It's best to be as honest as possible on this front, because trying to make your tastes more impressive is a losing battle.

Are you used to meeting deadlines?

Say yes, of course, but don't just give a pat answer. Take some time to explain how you organized your research for your honors thesis or how you organized a concert for a nonprofit group. Saying you can meet a deadline is not the same as explaining in detail how you delivered on a complex project that took months of work, handling a budget, and collaboration with other parties.

Filed Under: Interviewing


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