Internship Feedback 2020

Posted 20.03.20 by Ellie Harlow

Firstly, thank you to everyone who submitted an application for our internships this year.

We were astounded to receive over 3,000 applications and were blown away by the amount of care and effort that had gone in to all of them.

This feedback will aim to provide some more insight as to what made a good answer great for each of the questions asked, and some general tips for the applications as a whole.


Overall Tips


> Be sure to use examples rather than speaking in more general terms. We saw some very thoughtful answers but many hadn’t actually included a specific example, which is what the questions were asking for.


> Try to focus on just one example and use the 250 word limit to fully explain the situation and outcomes. Multiple examples often gave less opportunity to go into as much depth and context.


> Don’t forget to read through the answers before submitting for things such as typos. One of the qualities we’re looking for is good attention to detail, so this was important.


> We sometimes saw great answers but examples that actually would have better fitted in another category. E.g. when answering a question on initiative, people spoke about reaching out to angry customer – this may have suited the communication question better.


Question 1: Communication


There were a brilliant range of examples given – from working on group projects at school, to a difference in political or social opinions. Any example was a good example to give, but it’s important to demonstrate how you managed to build a relationship. In many examples, we saw really important points being made about the principles of good communication, but they were often missing a tangible example to back that up. As the question specifies “Tell us about a time” it is important to show where you have applied those principles in real life.


High scoring answers were those which went beyond a ‘telling’ approach and focused on the element of “relationship building” which the question asked for. Rather than simply providing evidence to the other person as to why they were right, good answers showed that the person took the time to consider the other person’s perspective, learnt and made adjustments to appeal to that person best, and were able to build a relationship as a result.


Winning the argument didn’t necessarily equate to building a relationship with someone, and this is where some answers could’ve developed further to explore the relationship element more thoroughly.


Question 2: Initiative


We were really impressed when marking this answer at the range of activities and variety of work that people had been involved with.


The really strong answers were able to make the key differentiation between simply responding to the situation with a common sense approach, and using their initiative to creatively solve a problem. They thought ahead, went above and beyond and added value to a situation.


We were most impressed with answers where someone was able to either predict or mitigate an issue before it arose.


For example: Noticing that a company filing system may bring up errors later down the line if it continued the way it was, so devising a new system, testing it and then offering it as a solution to the rest of the team.



Question 3 – Curiosity


This is a really enjoyable question for us to mark, as we learn so much from all the answers and see a wonderful range of topics and people of interest.


Great answers were able to demonstrate why both that subject matter expert would be interesting for them to talk to, but also how it would be interesting for others too. They were curious and showed a real engagement with the world around them, which is critical in any role in the publishing industry. Whatever role or department you’re in it’s important to keep asking questions, looking forward, and exploring many viewpoints.


We were most impressed with people who identified the relevant expert within that subject matter, demonstrating that they’d researched and already shown curiosity in that topic.



We really appreciate the time taken to complete these answers – the care and passion clearly came through.

Whilst cannot take everyone forward to the next stage, we do encourage you to take a look at our other opportunities on offer, and apply for our intern projects again next year if you’d like to.


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