Thank you again for the time and thought you put in to your application. There were some really thoughtful answers and fascinating stories told.

Hopefully this blog gives you a good understanding of what was needed to get the top scores, and some suggestions for next time.

Overall, the exceptional answers stood out because they’d taken the time to think about what the question was asking them and how they could showcase the qualities we asked for.

Try to put yourself in the marker’s shoes. Think to yourself….

“Why have they asked me question? What example shall I use that will give them the most opportunity to give me a top score? ”

So, the detail…

Question 1: One major part of an editor’s role is to seek out new stories and bring these to life through the books we publish.

Imagine you’re publishing a book – right now. Whose story are you going to tell?

What ideas are you going to explore? Perhaps it’s something that’s trending on social media or someone who’s making waves in music or politics? Is it even a book – or is it something in audio, video or online? Who is going to want to read it? How will you convince them to buy it?

We said we were looking to see:

  • You’re curious and hungry to learn - Editors are fascinated by what goes on around them. They want to find out more, especially when it comes to ideas, people and culture. They don’t leave it there though; insight is turned into opportunity and connections are made relevant. That’s how you spot the Next Big Thing.
  • Love for ideas and stories - Wherever they’re from, however they’re told. Working in editorial means pouring your passion into every book you help to craft; being driven by the desire for your book to be read and enjoyed by as many people as possible.

The ideas and creativity with this question were really impressive!

The trick here was being able to identify the story that you wanted to tell and sharing it, but beyond that also showing why it’s relevant and engaging at the moment and therefore how it would become a bestseller.

This doesn’t mean being a marketing expert but considering audiences and showing an awareness that different stories are best told through different mediums.

For example:

Is this topic hot right now in public discussion? Have we not heard this perspective of the story before? Could this story be best told in a new way such as podcast series or as a video series?


Question 2: Tell us about a time you won someone over.

How did you do it? Your example could be from anywhere - a difficult customer from the shop you work in, a school mate who messed around on your end of year project, a friend or family member who needed persuading to do something.

We said we were looking for the following qualities:

  • Your ability to connect with people - stepping into other’s shoes, understanding their position and perspective, winning them over with your interest, curiosity and care.
  • Adaptability - You know when to flex your approach and style to suit the situation you’re in, or the person you’re with

Many of these answers did a good job of showing how they explained their point of view to someone else.

Great answers then took it one step further.

This meant not only explaining to the other person why you were right, but empathising with their point of view and changing your style to get the best from them. This may even have meant changing some things about yourself as well.

For example, if you know that the other person is a worrier, you might choose to research all the possible risks and plan for them, using this information to support your argument when you speak to them.

You may also have had to take a new approach with your argument mid way through as you realised that their motivations were different from your own.


Question 3: Think of something you’ve achieved that made you proud.

Tell us about it. What was the opportunity or challenge ahead of you and what did you have to do make it happen?

The quality we asked to see was:

Makes things happen – A story or idea doesn’t come to life on its own. In publishing, it happens when your tenacity and initiative, your problem solving, organising and prioritising, pay off. It’s about getting stuck in, getting on with the admin and seeing things through to the end.

We saw some brilliant answers here, and there were so many achievements to be be proud of.

The best scores here really thought about how they’d made their goal a reality.

That meant demonstrating and the initiative to come up with ideas and solutions and tenacity to keep going even when knocked back.

Whilst this may have been implicit in the answer you gave, really strong answers really focused on the ‘how’ part of the question. It may be obvious to you, but we really wanted you to make it clear to us that you had that quality.

For example, where you had reached an obstacle to achieving the goal, we were looking to see proactive and varied ways of overcoming it.

Some final thoughts,

It’s a bit like in school when you’re asked to ‘show your workings out’.

Yes, inspire and excite the marker with your answers, but try to highlight as much as possible the skills needed for the role.

There were no trick questions, sometimes the best answers are the simplest.