Q&A with Suzy Astbury

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The SYP Oxford recently interviewed Suzy Astbury, MD of Inspired Selection in the run up to our Annual SYP Conference. Inspired are a publishing recruitment agency with offices in London and Oxford and have been recruiting for the industry since 1999. They will be our Platinum Sponsor at the conference this November and will be bringing a team of specialist recruiters who help entry-level candidates and second job moves to find their perfect role in publishing.

Suzy Astbury, MD, Inspired Selection

Suzy Astbury Linkedin phot

What was your path into recruitment?

I was working in a Foreign Rights role in trade publishing, having a wonderful time travelling all over Europe and attending the book fairs. I had two office administrators to manage in my role and when one of them got snapped up as the new Editorial Assistant in Adults Editorial (the dream job) then it meant that I would need to recruit a replacement. I realised how much I loved recruiting new people into their first jobs in publishing, but this was only a tiny bit of my role so when an opportunity came up for me to recruit for publishers across all sectors, I simply couldn’t resist and as it turned out – My dream job!

What are Inspired Selection all about and why are they relevant for SYP members?

Inspired are a publishing specific recruitment agency – what does this mean to you? To SYP members we help in two ways, firstly to help you find a job – whether this is you first step in to publishing or if you are taking your next steps in your career within publishing. Secondly, we attend all your events and add value by advising on the latest information on who is hiring, what the skills gaps are, what you need to do to get a job and offering all sorts of content, social media and advice for any questions you might have.

A little more about us… Inspired have a fantastic and very friendly team of consultants who mainly come from a publishing background i.e. they have spent time working within the publishing industry. They are then trained by Inspired in recruitment. We consult on a daily basis with a really broad range of clients across 5 main sectors:

Trade - Publishers (they publish across various genres like fiction, non-fiction, illustrated, graphic novels and children’s books).

STM - We work with leading journals publishers groups and independents across Scientific, Technology and with Medical Publishers and communications agencies.

Education - One of Inspired’s largest divisions is its Educational Publishing division.

Professional - Inspired’s growth area of our business. The professional division looks after a huge range of clients who are non-traditional publishers – these include professional membership body’s, charities, B2B publishers, societies, banks, law firms, global fashion brands, communication agencies and any business who has a publishing or content need.

Academic - Working with publishers in the higher education and research areas


In your opinion, what are the benefits of going through a publishing recruitment company like Inspired Selection?

The value of having a strong relationship with a recruitment agency like Inspired is that you have a professional guiding you and advising you on all your options in front of you. We get to know you thoroughly so we know the types of opportunities which are going to suit you, not just the jobs but the type of environment in which you will thrive. We get to know our clients equally well, and when we are not in the office registering candidates (that’s you…) we are out and about going to visit our clients so we can see the offices in real life, meet the teams and get a really clear picture on what life will be like at these wonderful businesses. This means that we are then able to accurately match candidates to the right companies for them.

Another benefit is that we can bring a role to life that you may not have even considered before. Once we have found a good match for you, we will make sure you are prepped for interview and offer guidance throughout the process all the way up to you accepting your dream job at the end of the process!


What are your top tips for someone looking for their first job in publishing and hoping to stand out from the crowd in a saturated job market?

  1. Make sure your CV is accurate, typo free and easy to see what relevant skills you are bringing to the role/company
  2. Spend time crafting an excellent covering letter to make your application both relevant and interesting to consider
  3. Try and be open to different opportunities
  4. Always apply for a role that you know you can do 75% and the extra 25% is something to learn, push you and make you work really hard in the role – if you apply for a role you do you can do inside out, you will get bored easily and move on quicker than you should do…
  5. At interview make sure you have fully prepared and researched the company, role and people you are meeting to make a good impression
  6. Always follow up after your interview and give the interviews an opportunity to answer any queries or concerns around your application or experience

We have held a number of seminars on this exact topic and speak to our clients about this on a regular basis. The most common response to what are you looking for when you hire, is that hiring managers want to a good match in terms of technical skills and talent, but also key are those soft skills. You simply must bring huge amounts of enthusiasm - seeing a candidate who is naturally enthusiastic about the opportunity to work and learn from the hiring manager will always stand you in good stead. How do you get this across from the start? Make sure you have a very strong covering letter that really positions you for the role and demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role, company and what it does…

You need to capture what the publishers and the industry is looking for. This quote from our panel of experts at LBF this year captures it beautifully:

“We are building our teams with driven, adaptable candidates who are commercially aware, have an aptitude for digital and most importantly a passion for the industry.”

Check out our blog here to find out what our clients are looking to hire in their teams.



Inspired Selection are sponsoring the SYP conference this year, what are you most looking forward to?

As sponsors of the London SYP conference last year we are delighted to be returning this year to the Oxford conference as sponsor. The SYP conference is a great opportunity for graduates and young publishers to unite and share experiences and knowledge with one another. It is a fantastic platform for those entering the industry to get to know key figures, network and learn more about publishing in an environment where questions can be answered. We love attending the SYP conference for the variety of seminars that allow us to learn about the current trends, hot topics and keep up to date with the latest news within the industry. This year’s theme is Publishing: A Thoroughly Modern Business which promises to deliver some very interesting and thought-provoking discussions.

It is also a fantastic place for SYP members to get to know the Inspired brand by visiting our stand and chatting with our friendly consultants. We love being out and about at events and the SYP Conference is definitely one of our highlights, so do come by and say hello!