20 W.W. Norton Interview Questions and Answers

Prepare for the types of questions you are likely to be asked when interviewing for a position at W.W. Norton.

W.W. Norton is an American publishing company based in New York City. The company has been in business since 1823 and is the oldest and largest independent publisher in the United States.

If you’re hoping to land a job at W.W. Norton, you can expect the interview process to be pretty competitive. To give yourself the best chance of success, you’ll need to be prepared to answer some tough questions.

In this article, we’ve gathered a list of common W.W. Norton interview questions and provided sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

W.W. Norton Interview Process

The interview process at W.W. Norton is generally quick and easy. However, depending on the position you are applying for, the difficulty of the interview may vary. For internships, most people report having a phone interview first and then being asked to come into the office. There, they are interviewed by a panel of entry-level employees. The questions asked are mostly about past experience. For editorial assistant positions, the interview usually consists of two rounds. The first is a brief phone screening interview, and the second is an in-person interview with the editors you would be working with. The questions tend to be more focused on why you want to go into publishing and your organizational skills. For sales representative positions, the interview process is much more intense. It includes 8-10 interviews with various people. This is likely because they want to test your ability to meet with people back-to-back, as this is a key part of the job. Overall, most people report having a positive experience interviewing with W.W. Norton.

1. How would you describe your communication style?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of how you interact with others and whether your communication style is similar to that of other employees at W.W. Norton. Your answer should include examples of how you communicate, including both verbal and nonverbal cues.

Example: “I consider myself to be an empathetic communicator who values collaboration. When I’m working on a project or communicating with my team, I try to listen carefully to what others are saying and actively seek to understand their perspectives. In addition, I find it helpful to explain things in simple terms so everyone understands. For example, when I was working as a freelance writer, I wrote a piece for a client about the benefits of using social media marketing strategies. The client had no experience with social media, so I explained each strategy simply and thoroughly.”

2. Tell me about a time where you had to work with a difficult client, how did you handle it?

Interviewers may ask this question to see how you handle conflict and challenging situations. This is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills, communication skills and ability to work with others.

Example: “I had a client once who was very demanding. They would constantly change their mind about what they wanted and expect me to complete the project in record time. I tried my best to be patient with them and explain that it takes time to create quality work. Eventually, I found out that they were under pressure from their boss to get the project done quickly. I spoke with my client’s manager and explained that I could only do my best but that I couldn’t rush the process.”

3. What is your experience in sales?

This question is a great way to learn about your potential new employer’s expectations for the position. If you have experience in sales, share what you learned from that job and how it can help you succeed at W.W. Norton. If you don’t have direct sales experience, talk about any other work you’ve done that involves persuading others or convincing them of something.

Example: “I worked as a freelance writer for several years before I started my current role. During that time, I had to convince editors to hire me for their publications. I also had to persuade clients to hire me to write content for them. This helped me develop strong communication skills and learn how to sell myself and my ideas.”

4. Why do you want to work at W.W. Norton?

This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are a good fit for their company. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific aspects of W.W. Norton that interest you or what drew you to apply for the position.

Example: “I want to work at W.W. Norton because I am passionate about books and publishing. I have always loved reading and writing, so working in a place where I can do both would be ideal. I also love how W.W. Norton is an independent publisher with a rich history. I think I could really thrive here.”

5. Do you have any experience working in the publishing industry?

This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your background and experience. If you have worked in the publishing industry, share what your role was and how it prepared you for this position.

Example: “I’ve been working as an editor for five years now. I started out as an intern at a small publishing company where I learned all of the basics of editing. After that internship, I moved on to work as an assistant editor at another publishing house. There, I gained valuable experience by editing books from different genres and authors. This helped me develop my skills as an editor and gave me the confidence to apply for this position.”

6. Describe a time when you successfully handled an upset customer.

Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills. They want to know how you can help them solve problems and keep customers happy. In your answer, explain what steps you took to resolve the issue and highlight any specific skills or techniques that helped you succeed.

Example: “When I worked at a coffee shop, we had a regular customer who would come in every morning for his usual order. One day, he came in and asked if we could make his drink differently than usual. I told him that unfortunately, we couldn’t accommodate his request because of our limited menu. He became upset and said he was going to find another coffee shop.

I apologized again and offered to remake his drink as close to his original order as possible. He agreed, and I made his drink exactly like it always was. He left with a smile on his face and returned the next day.”

7. What are some of your favorite books and why?

This question is a great way to learn more about the candidate’s interests and values. It also gives you an idea of what types of books they read, which can be helpful when deciding whether or not they would fit in with your team.

Example: “I have always been a fan of nonfiction, so I really enjoyed reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. She tells such a compelling story that makes me feel like I’m right there with her family. Another favorite book of mine is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This book made me laugh out loud while also making me tear up at times. I love how it shows us that we should all try to make friends with those who are different from us.”

8. Are you familiar with our company’s products?

This question is a great way for employers to see if you’ve done your research on the company. It’s important that you know what they do and how their products can benefit customers. You should also be able to explain why you’re interested in working for this company.

Example: “I am familiar with W.W. Norton, as I have used some of their books before. I find them to be an excellent resource for writers who are looking for inspiration or advice. I’m very impressed by the quality of work that goes into each book, which is why I would love to work here.”

9. Why should we hire you over another candidate?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can benefit their company. Before your interview, research the job description to see what skills they’re looking for in a candidate. Use examples from your resume or cover letter to show that you have these skills.

Example: “I believe I am the best candidate because of my communication skills. Throughout my career, I’ve had to communicate with many different types of people, including editors, authors and other publishing professionals. I also understand the importance of being able to write clearly and concisely, which is why I took an English major in college. These skills make me a great fit for this position.”

10. Have you ever worked on a team project before? If so, tell us about it.

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your teamwork skills. Teamwork is an important skill to have in publishing, so it’s likely that you’ll be working with others on projects. When answering this question, try to highlight how you work well with others and what makes you a good team member.

Example: “I’ve worked on several team projects throughout my career. In college, I was part of a group project for many of my classes. We had to present our findings to the class, which helped me learn how to collaborate with others. At my last job, I was part of a small team that published articles online. It was great practice for working as part of a larger team.”

11. Give an example of a time when you were faced with a problem that required quick thinking and action.

Employers ask this question to learn more about your problem-solving skills. They want to know that you can think on your feet and make quick decisions when necessary. When answering this question, try to describe a situation where you had to solve a problem quickly but also did so in a way that was beneficial for the company or organization.

Example: “When I worked as an editor at my previous job, I once received a manuscript from an author who hadn’t completed it yet. The deadline was only two weeks away, which meant I would have to work overtime to get it ready by then. I called the author and explained the situation. He told me he could finish the book by the deadline if I gave him another week. I agreed to his request, knowing that we needed to publish his book by the end of the month anyway.”

12. Do you prefer to work independently or as part of a team?

This question can help interviewers understand how you might fit into the company culture. If your answer is that you prefer to work independently, consider explaining why and what types of tasks you enjoy doing alone. If you prefer working in a team environment, explain which aspects of teamwork you enjoy most.

Example: “I find I am most productive when I have time to focus on my own projects without interruption. However, I also really enjoy collaborating with others to brainstorm ideas or solve problems. In my last position, I was tasked with editing an entire book by myself, but I found it helpful to bounce ideas off other editors for feedback.”

13. What are your long-term career goals?

This question can help the interviewer get a sense of your career aspirations and how they align with those of W.W. Norton. Your answer should include what you hope to accomplish in your career, as well as any steps you plan to take to achieve these goals.

Example: “My long-term goal is to become an editor at a publishing house like W.W. Norton. I know that this will require hard work and dedication, but I am committed to putting in the effort necessary to reach my goals. In the meantime, I would love to continue working toward becoming a freelance writer. I have already started building my portfolio by writing for several online publications.”

14. Can you provide examples of when you exceeded expectations for a previous employer?

This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you are motivated by more than just receiving a paycheck. It also gives them insight into how you can contribute to the company’s success and highlights your strengths as an employee.

Example: “In my previous role, I was tasked with creating a marketing plan for our new product launch. My manager asked me to create a budget for the campaign, which I did, but she wanted to know if there were any ways we could save money on the project. I looked over the numbers again and found that we could cut costs by using social media influencers instead of celebrities. We ended up saving $10,000 on the campaign.”

15. What kind of impact do you think social media has on the publishing industry?

Social media has had a significant impact on the publishing industry. It’s changed how people consume information and entertainment, which affects what they read. Employers want to know that you understand this change and can adapt your writing style to fit it. In your answer, explain how social media has affected the publishing industry and how you would use it in your role at W.W. Norton.

Example: “I think social media is great for writers because it allows us to connect with our readers. I’ve used Twitter to interact with my followers about books and writing tips. This helps me build relationships with my audience and learn more about their interests so I can write more relevant content.”

16. What do you think are the most important qualities for someone who works in editorial?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the publishing industry and how you can contribute to it. You should answer this question by listing three qualities that are important for editorial professionals, such as attention to detail, communication skills and creativity.

Example: “I think the most important quality for someone who works in editorial is attention to detail. This role requires a lot of research and reading, so I would need to be able to read through material carefully and make sure there aren’t any mistakes or inconsistencies. Another important quality is creativity. In my last position, I was tasked with creating content for social media platforms, which required me to come up with interesting ideas that readers would find engaging. Finally, I think communication skills are essential because they help me collaborate with others.”

17. When was the last time you read a book?

This question is a great way to learn more about the candidate’s interests and values. It can also help you determine if they are passionate about reading, which is an important quality for employees at W.W. Norton. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a book that you recently read or one that has had a lasting impact on your life.

Example: “The last book I read was ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson. This book helped me realize how much time I spend worrying about things that don’t really matter. Since reading it, I have been able to focus my energy on more positive pursuits.”

18. Tell us about a time you came up with an innovative solution to a problem.

This question can help interviewers learn more about your problem-solving skills and how you use them to improve processes. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a time when you used your creativity to solve a challenge or overcome an obstacle.

Example: “At my previous job, I was responsible for managing the company’s social media accounts. One day, our primary account manager became ill and couldn’t work for several days. Since I had experience using all of the company’s social media platforms, I offered to take over her responsibilities until she returned. During that time, I created new content for each platform and responded to comments and questions from followers.”

19. Would you be able to travel around the country if needed?

W.W. Norton is a publishing company that has offices in New York City, San Francisco and London. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you are willing to travel for work purposes. If you have experience traveling for work or school, share your experiences with the interviewer. If you do not have any professional travel experience, consider sharing some personal stories about past trips you’ve taken.

Example: “I am more than happy to travel around the country for work. I actually love road trips and would be excited to visit different cities while on business. In my last job, I had to travel to several locations across the state for training. I enjoyed getting to know other employees from different areas of the state.”

20. How well do you work under pressure?

Working in publishing can be a fast-paced environment. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines. When answering, explain that you are able to manage your time well and prioritize tasks effectively. Show them that you are organized and detail-oriented.

Example: “I am very organized and I pride myself on being able to stay calm under pressure. In my last role as an editor, I was responsible for managing multiple projects at once. While it could get hectic, I always made sure to prioritize my tasks and keep track of all due dates. This helped me ensure everything got done by the deadline.”


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