Careers
Companies
Topics
Get Started
Interview Coach 1:1
Gain the confidence you need by asking our professionals any interview scenario, question, or answer you are unsure about.
Let Us Review Your Answers
Our interviewing professionals will gladly review and revise any answer you send us. Allowing you to craft perfect responses for your next job interview.
Interview Questions by Topic
Interview Questions by Career
Interview Questions by Company

Penguin Random House Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by
| Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.

Question 1 of 30

What do you expect to be the most significant trend in publishing this year?

1000s of Interview Questions

Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.

Penguin Random House Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What do you expect to be the most significant trend in publishing this year?

      When you come to an interview prepared to discuss industry trends and happenings, you are showing the interviewer that you have done your homework on Penguin Random House and that you have a vested interest in what they are achieving within their market. There is no real right or wrong answer here; as the interviewer just wants to know that you have done some research on the industry. So long as your response is intelligent, the interviewer should be happy with hearing your insight.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "From what I have read, the most significant trend in publishing is meeting the increasing demand from audiences to have their publications available through a variety of mediums. With a huge number of entertainment options available to consumers these days, it will be essential for publications to continue exploring multiple mediums. For instance, it's excellent that Penguin Random House has made content available across many digital platforms, publishing over 100,000 eBooks, worldwide."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Independent and new authors who are publishing onto alternative mediums such as Wattpad is one topic that has grabbed my interest. I understand that traditional publishers enjoy searching out for new authors on these platforms because it leads them to the authors and also their loyal readers. I believe we will see many more emerging authors discovered from online writing platforms like this."

  2. 2.

    The publishing industry has many tight deadlines. How do you manage your time, ensuring that your deadlines are met?

      The interviewer would like to know what you do to ensure that your deadlines are met and that you are consistently on time with projects and other expectations. Discuss how you stay organized, getting into the small details of how you plan your day or the tools you use to track your work and progress. You can mention a time when you were close to missing a deadline, including the actions that you took to ensure you delivered on time.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "With five years' experience in the publishing industry, I fully understand that my day can change on a dime. I remain on top of my deadlines by being prepared for a plan B at all times. Also, I track my progress and tasks through an app called Trello. This type of application works well for communicating with my team, ensuring we all work hard to meet expectations."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I learned during my time in university that deadlines are met most easily when there is organization and when tasks are properly mapped out from the start. I learned the hard way, having to cram in a few assignments because I was not well prepared. Now, when I begin a project, I create a timeline with an estimate on how long each task will take. From there, I divide my time."

  3. 3.

    If you could pitch me one idea for a book, what would it be?

      The hiring authority wants to get to know you. One great way to do this is to ask about your interests. Generally speaking, you would want to pitch something you are knowledgeable in and passionate about. There is no right or wrong answer to a question like this; however, the interviewer will want to see that you are insightful and have enthusiasm for an exciting topic. If you choose an item that is related to Penguin Random House or their publication, that's great but certainly not a requirement for this to be a successful answer.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I read a lot of history books and find so much of it fascinating. In particular, ancestry and genealogy. If I could pitch you one idea for a book, it would be a how-to for people who were starting on discovering their family lineage."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "As a new graduate, I have a keen interest in productivity hacks for new university students. In my first year, I struggled with organization and time-management. By the end of my second year, I had mastered the art of juggling many priorities. This topic is in high demand, and I would pitch it as a series of e-books with a lot of great resources and graphics."

  4. 4.

    Walk me through your editing experience. How would you rate your editing skills from 1-10?

      Even if your primary role with Penguin Random House is not officially as an editor, the interviewer will want to see that you have a solid basis when it comes to language, context, tone, grammar, spelling, and more. Emphasize your solid command of the language, and your ability to pay attention to the small details. Discuss the types of editing jobs you have taken on, in the past.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I have helped to edit documents large, and small, including whitepapers, web copy, and sales contracts. I am confident in my language, spelling, and grammar skills. It's rare that a mistake will get past me, as I pay strong attention to the small details."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Although I have not formally edited a document of significance, I do always make a habit of double checking my emails and other internal or external communication. I have used editing programs such as Grammarly in the past, for assignments and papers while attending university."

  5. 5.

    A large part of creating digital content is in the creative process, but what strategic elements need to be considered for content creation to be highly effective?

      Penguin Random House has a heavy hand in digital content and online publishing. Demonstrate your familiarity with content effective marketing by speaking of data and analytics first. Then, talk about other essential non-creative parts of content strategy that should be incorporated.

      While the creative and strategic elements of content creation will cross over into one another, avoid talking about the creative process when answering this question much, if at all.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "A content marketing strategy always starts with data about the audience to ensure the content is appropriately created and distributed. The data will tell you what kind of content your audience will enjoy, where and how you can expect them to consume it. Timing is also important, and research can be used to figure out the best times of the month, week, and down to the time of day when posts will get the best visibility. After forming and deploying a content plan, it's important to be consistent with analyzing the performance of all posts, which means looking at various engagement metrics like impressions, clicks, shares, likes, and comments - not just the number of comments but what's being said by the audience. All of the before mentioned, lets you measure the success of your plan and make continuous improvements."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Data from different sources, for example, keyword research, surveys, or machine learning, needs to be analyzed to plan the best possible content and its reach, both organically and during paid promotions. Planning what topics to cover, keeping an editorial calendar, and knowing how to recycle posts effectively are important parts of creating a feeling of consistency and the proper messaging for a brand's audience. Lastly, it's a good idea to balance the human element with automation tools that will allow your content to be distributed in a timely and organized way that best fits the preferences of your audience."

  6. 6.

    How would you increase printed book sales in an online-centric world?

      In a world immersed in online content, the hiring authority would like to know how you would capture the interest of printed book readers. Discuss one idea you have that would help print sales to increase in an online world.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Print is still very relevant, especially when a publication attracts a particular niche. In an online-centric world, I would place focus on the nostalgia that comes from reading your favorite author and flipping the pages of a great book."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Many people love the offering of traditional books and the way they feel in their hands to read, versus using a tablet and reading an ebook. To increase printed book sales, I would focus on those features."

  7. 7.

    What is the key to success for a publisher in this digital era?

      The digital world is transforming traditional publishing, and the interviewer wants to know what you believe to be the key to success amidst this shift. Discuss what you think a publishing company should do, in this digital era, to remain successful and relevant. Keep your response positive rather than shifting into negative language. For instance, mention what is great about this digital era versus focusing on the hardships.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe the key to success for a publisher in this digital era is to remain relevant in your core area, while also exploring the ways that digital can complement your existing products. If you are a traditional book publisher, for instance, why not explore the impact that a social media campaign could have for a new author. As in any industry, it's critical that we remain up to date with technology so that we are always meeting our audience where they are showing up."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "The key to success in publishing, and many other industries is listening to your customers and taking action on what they are teaching you. For instance, in the publishing industry, it's critical that we deliver works on topics that people are searching for, and seeking out. We can accomplish this approach through surveys, polls, purchased data, and even some analytics on Google algorithms."

  8. 8.

    What is the difference between a publisher's frontlist and backlist?

      In publishing, a frontlist is a list of a publisher's newly published book titles. A backlist is a list of a publisher's older books. The backlist is usually a book that is off the bestseller list and has been in print for more than a year. The interviewer wants to see that you understand these terms, which are pretty basic in the publishing industry. Keep your answer simple and, if possible, give specific examples from books that are currently on the Penguin Random House frontlist and backlist.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I understand the frontlist to be newly published book titles where a backlist would be books that have been in print for about a year or more. For instance, Penguin Random House has Exhalation by Ted Chiang on the frontlist at the moment, and titles such as Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly are likely now on your backlist."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "Right now, I would guess that There There by Tommy Orange is on the frontlist at Penguin Random House where Normal People is on your backlist after being a best seller for many weeks. Generally speaking, a newly published book will be on the frontlist where a book over a year in print will fall onto the backlist."

  9. 9.

    What are the benefits for an author to publish with Penguin Random House versus self-publishing?

      The idea of self-publishing has become increasingly popular, especially with self-publishing tools being available at anyone's fingertips. The interviewer wants to see that you are an advocate for the traditional book publishing route. Discuss what you believe to be the benefits of using a traditional publisher such as Penguin Random House.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "There are tremendous benefits to working with a traditional publisher. These include the fact that a publisher knows how to advocate for your manuscript. They also have more connections than any independent author could ever gather. Another key point is that a traditional publisher can negotiate much better when it comes to book deals. I am eager to work with Penguin Random House helping authors to navigate the challenging world of publishing."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe the list of benefits is lengthy and include greater visibility and audience reach for an author, the fact that a literary agent can negotiate very well for you and your manuscript. Also, with less need to coordinate all aspects of publishing, an author will have more time to focus on what they do best - write!"

  10. 10.

    What are your career goals in the next 3-5 years with Penguin Random House?

      Assure the interviewer that you are interested in forging a long-term career with them by discussing the career path you foresee if hired. What are your career goals, and how do you hope to achieve them, with Penguin Random House?

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In the next few years I would like to move into a more serious leadership function, such as the Production Manager opening currently posted. In my current company, there is little room for growth, which is why I feel that working for Penguin Random House would fit into my long-term career goals. I want to work for you and grow into a leadership role with your organization."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "5 years from now, I would like to be supervising or managing a team of my own. Your Associate Product Manager position caught my eye. I feel like I am progressing at a rate that will make this a possibility, and am committing to learn more about metadata optimization, acquisition strategy, and retail strategy to help make that happen in my career."

  11. 11.

    What are your 3 favorite forms of entertainment?

      The interviewer would like to know the types of media and entertainment that you enjoy consuming regularly. Talk to the interviewer about your favorite forms of entertainment and be sure to include why they are your top choice.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "My favorite forms of entertainment have always been podcasts, sci-fi fiction book series, and nature magazines. I have always wanted to work in the publishing industry, being the first to read new books from up-and-coming authors, and having a hand in the type of published literature that people are gifted."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "There are so many great forms of entertainment media available to us. I am more traditional and would say that my favorite forms still include print media, documentaries, and podcasts that focus on economics and business."

  12. 12.

    Is compensation the most critical factor for you when taking a new job?

      The interviewer would like to know how much emphasis you put on pay when considering a new position. In addition to compensation, there are many other factors in a fulfilling career. These other factors may include:

      - work/life balance
      - amount of travel involved in the role
      - overall medical and health benefits
      - additional perks such as car allowance, cell allowance, spending account
      - amount of vacation time
      - the type of clients or authors you would be working with
      - career growth opportunity
      - the size of your new team
      - the company's reputation
      - overall workplace culture

      Talk to the interviewer about other factors that are important to you when considering a new job. If you are not sure on details for this role, you can ask!

      Rachelle's Answer

      "For me, as a manager, the most important factor in accepting a new role is the health of the company, and it's employees. I am looking to take on a positive-minded team. I like to work with enthusiastic people that I can motivate. With that said, I am also looking for a competitive financial offer."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "At this point in my career, I am looking to join a publisher that will allow me to work on more significant projects and with more robust tech and applications. Compensation is a driver, of course, but not the only one."

  13. 13.

    Do you believe paid social campaigns are useful for promoting book releases, and if so, why?

      The interviewer asks this question because as social media platforms mature, they are becoming a more significant part of promoting book releases, and other publications that may not even had a digital focus. Most publishers have recognized how social media can further enhance their targeting and reach when it comes to book promotions. As part of a progressive publishing house, it's essential to know why paid social promotions are helpful.

      If you take the position that paid ad campaigns are not useful, your answer will be considered to be wrong. While paid campaigns don't always deliver perfect results, sponsored content gains priority over that which is not.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I believe that paid social platforms are more important than ever, and while having a good audience and engagement helps increase your content's visibility organically, it's almost impossible to achieve the same results through organic reach only. A paid campaign is useful in restoring that visibility. It can also be beneficial to run paid campaigns because the social media platforms provide tools to analyze their progress, make adjustments to them as you go, and monitor your ROI."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "In recent years, it has become clear that social media platforms prefer paid campaigns versus organic reach. Algorithms set by the platforms often do not allow a company's content to be seen on their audience's feeds without paying for it to appear to certain members. Now, this is where a publisher can benefit from paid advertising the most. With a paid campaign, they essentially tap into the platform's data on their users by specifying the demographic their content will be visible to. This enables them to engage only with people that are likely to be interested in their publications or latest book releases."

  14. 14.

    What do you know about Penguin Random House?

      The interviewer would like to know how much time you have put into researching their organization before coming into your interview today. It's essential that you take the time to dig deep into the company's history as well as their successes. Just reading their Wikipedia page may not be enough. You should also Google search their company and look for awards or other exciting accolades to mention.

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I know that Penguin Random House established nearly 100 years ago and you have been a part of many exciting mergers and acquisitions since then. There are exciting growth opportunities available here, and you put a lot of energy into creating a corporate culture that gives back. For instance, I recently read that Penguin Random House actively supports local and national organizations to foster a universal passion for reading. Whether it's through supporting literacy-based organizations, providing volunteers, donating books, or creating unique collaborations that benefit readers, you find ways to partner hand-in-hand with communities."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I greatly appreciate Penguin Random House's literacy-focused partnerships. Your organization genuinely cares about boosting literacy rates across the world. I was especially interested in finding that Penguin Random House recently launched National Readathon Day when thousands of readers across America joined in a marathon reading session. You also have meaningful partnerships with First Book, Save the Children, and Worldreader. I would be proud to work for such a socially conscious organization."

  15. 15.

    How can Penguin Random House motivate you on the job?

      Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you are best motivated on the job. Here are some ways that an employer may try to motivate you. Which ones resonate most with you?

      - Incentive programs where points are earned
      - Showing complete trust in your work and performance
      - Setting smaller, more achievable goals
      - Helping you to find your higher career purpose
      - Being a positive example to you
      - Maintaining an open and transparent workplace
      - Personalized incentives vs. Team driven incentives
      - Getting to know you on a personal level
      - Positive feedback based rewards system
      - Offering a stable work/life balance by encouraging time off
      - Letting you know your voice matters
      - Allowing you to take the lead on projects that excite you
      - Handing out big-picture projects, so you feel that you are contributing to the company's future
      - Public recognition

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a team leaderboard, and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."

      Rachelle's Answer

      "I am motivated by skills advancement opportunities. My previous employer put me through a technical writing course as well as two advanced Excel workshops. That was motivating to me."

  16. 16.

    Would you consider yourself a creative person?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  17. 17.

    What will you accomplish in the first 90 days of working for Penguin Random House?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  18. 18.

    What drew you to Penguin Random House?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  19. 19.

    How do you go about fact checking, and researching sources?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  20. 20.

    Market research is essential to Penguin Random House to help us understand where to take our business in the years to come. Rate your research skills from 1-10. Do you enjoy conducting research?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  21. 21.

    Tell me about your experience collaborating with marketing, sales, editorial, and design teams.

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  22. 22.

    How do you transition between the creative and analytical sides of publishing?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  23. 23.

    Describe to me the types of digital media you are most experienced with.

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  24. 24.

    If you could be known as a thought leader across any topic or industry, which would you choose?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  25. 25.

    In which area are you the strongest: editorial, book sales, or book marketing?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  26. 26.

    With which publishing categories are you most familiar? How will this knowledge help you in this position with Penguin Random House?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  27. 27.

    What can Penguin Random House do best, for an up and coming author?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  28. 28.

    Name for me your three favorite books, and why they are your favorite.

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  29. 29.

    In your opinion, what is the most influential form of media today?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.
  30. 30.

    Who is your favorite author, and why?

      View All 30 Penguin Random House Answers
      Sign up to access our library of 50,000+ Answers,
      plus coaches for one-on-one support, so you can interview more confidently.