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Upskilling Tips for Interview Tasks

By Sukhpreet Chana, Grace Edwards, Misha Manani and Lydia Marshall 


When securing a job in publishing, we often hear about the application and interview, but we rarely hear about the tasks that are a part of the interview stage. There are typically two interviews with different team members (including the hiring manager) and, depending on the role, you may be given a task to complete. You could have time to prepare for it beforehand if it is a larger assignment, or you could be asked to do a timed exercise at the end. We will be sharing some possible scenarios you could encounter across various departments and our top tips for doing your best when facing your next task. 


Common Interview Tasks 


  • Marketing and Publicity: You might be given a book and asked to create an engaging social media post or a press release to promote the book. You might also be asked to create a campaign for a chosen title, so you should explain how you would market the book. 


  • Editorial: You might be required to proofread text and make corrections within a certain amount of time. You could also be asked to draft an email response to someone. These assessments are carried out to help the interviewer determine your level of writing, editing and communication.


  • Sales: Presentations are common in these roles. Interviewers are likely to ask you to give an in-depth sales pitch on a product. This is where you’ll be assessed on your confidence, sales technique, communication and presentation skills. Another task might require you to organise a list of tasks in priority order and explain your reasons. 


  • Design: For this position, you could be asked to design a logo for a company, which may be fictional or real. You might receive a brief that includes information on the company’s name, the industry, and details about the company, and be asked to present and explain your design to the interviewer. This task tests your ability to create a simple and relevant logo that reflects the company’s values and brand identity. Another task could involve redesigning a web page.


Do


  • Read/listen to the task’s brief carefully: The task’s wording will often contain important publishing buzzwords that indicate exactly what knowledge the hiring manager wants you to showcase. Buzzwords such as prioritise or organise, will help you to demonstrate a key skill or consider a common challenge that is vital for the job position you are applying for. 


  • Show initiative: Don’t be afraid to expand past what the brief is asking you to demonstrate. You can suggest additional ideas beyond the given task to demonstrate to hiring managers that you can bring a proactive, creative approach to the role. However, don’t stray too far from the brief and make sure you still respond to what they specifically have asked.


Don’t


  • Rush your answers: You want to come across to hiring managers as confident and knowledgeable about the position you are applying for, so make sure that you respond clearly to tasks with thought-out answers. Even if your exercise is timed, take a moment to gather your ideas together into succinct points.


  • Be generic: These tasks are designed to help hiring managers understand how you would fit into their team, and they want to know how you personally would tackle certain tasks. Showcase your own specific knowledge and experience, whilst tailoring it to fit with the specific task and company values. Avoid giving vague and recycled answers to stand out amongst applicants.


Bonus Tips


  • Consider the purpose of the task: When given an interview task you should consider what the aim is to ensure that you demonstrate the appropriate skills and knowledge. For instance, showing attention to detail and awareness of style with a proofreading extract. This can help you execute them effectively and efficiently. 


  • Be aware of your body language: When attending an interview, the way you come across says a lot. Whether it is a presentation task or a discussion. Sitting straight, smiling, remaining calm and looking engaged does go a long way and good impressions count.


  • Do your best: Think positive and try doing your best when carrying out various tasks. It can be time-consuming, but look at it as an experience of each interview stage. You are learning more about the fundamental aspects of publishing interview assignments. Punctuality is important as well. 


  • Prepare in advance: This indicates that you have done your research, that you are organised and that you care because you have made an effort. For the tasks where you have time to prepare, the interviewer wants you to have thought about the task carefully. 


Thank you for reading issue 93! Join us again for Upskilling Tips for Assessment Days in issue 94, the next instalment in our career series. 


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