People in Publishing:

Travis Blake, Bonnier Books

1. What are the kind of skills and attributes you look for in a prospective employee?
  • The ability to do the job they’re applying for
  • Confidence in their skills
  • A team player
  • Great communicator
  • Resilience
  • Eagerness to learn and develop
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Time management
  • Great listener
  • Passion for the industry.


2. What tends to impress you in applications?

Candidates who take time to fill out application forms properly, so they clearly and concisely convey all the experience they have gained so far in their career. We like to see signs of passion for the publishing industry in applications and interviews. 

Preparing well for interviews is important. Spend time researching the company you are applying to, understand its values and whether they align with your own, and bring some questions. It’s also worth researching your interviewer so you have some knowledge of projects they have worked on in the past. And arrive for interviews five to ten minutes early!
3. How important are qualifications when you consider applications?
They’re important, but they’re not the be-all or end-all. The main thing we look for is the experience gained in your career and how you will apply those skills to the role you are applying for.  For us at Bonnier Books UK, experience beats qualifications.
If you are applying for an entry-level role, then an internship at a publishing house would serve you well, as you gain vital experience and insight into the industry. But it isn’t essential. The most important thing in the publishing industry is passion, hard work and the willingness to learn from your team and peers around you. 
4. Where do applicants commonly fall short, and what frustrates you in submissions?
Candidates rushing their application forms, which means they miss out key information that would make their application stand out from the rest. It means they aren’t selling themselves well enough. And not reading a job advert properly and applying for a role without appreciating that they don’t have the previous experience that is needed. A big frustration of mine is a candidate applying for a role and asking for a salary that is above that stated on the job advert. It shows they haven’t looked at the job advert properly.
5. Could you share a few top tips for successful job applications?
Do your research. Not just about the company you'd like to work for, but the authors it publishes, its competitors and the wider publishing industry.
Show you're the best candidate. Give some detail about your competencies and how they match up with the requirements of the role. As a recruiter, we want you to highlight the skills you have developed so far in your career through past experiences, study, work experience and any extra-curricular activities.
Have a clear career plan. Explain in your application why you are interested in joining that specific team. We want to see your enthusiasm for the role.

Travis Blake is internal recruiter at Bonnier Books UK