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We interviewed the People & Talent Manager of Relay Publishing, Niki Matthaiou, and she shared with us some interesting facts about the creative industry & what publishers are looking for when they are hiring talent!

How did you get into recruiting?

As a kid, I loved puzzles and riddles, finding the right piece or the odd one out. Growing up, I discovered I can still “play this game” while making a living! This is what recruitment means to me: identifying the best talent and bringing the person on board to form the best team!

How is recruiting creatives different than non-creative industries?

Most of my past experience (15+ years!) comes from the technical/IT industry. The roles I was looking to fill were quite straight-forward: skills set, experience set, personality well, that is always a challenge. Moving to the creative industry a couple of years ago was certainly a surprise for me! Creative people love to communicate (so do I!). Each application is always a new, positive experience, where I get to see sides to the candidates that simply didn’t happen before. And of course, creative candidates tend to have such broad talent that they could potentially fit so many different roles; all I have to do is unlock this information, and then determine how we could match!

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Describe your ideal candidate?

The personality is always the most important trait in a candidate. There are many applicants who would fit a role perfectly, based on their past experience and qualifications, but the most intriguing part of my job is to find that one person who would come to the team and fit like the piece of a puzzle. An ideal candidate would be someone who brings a professional, but also open and friendly attitude towards the team and the work itself; a person who has great communication skills and is adaptable; someone who has a strong work ethic and is not afraid to work hard in order to succeed.

What is one thing that annoys you in recruitment?

I find that a small percentage of candidates tend to take rejection really bad. I always try to provide feedback to people, as I know what it looks like to wait for a response that never comes. We have all looked for a job at a certain point and I hate to wait for months to find out what happened with my application. However, even when we provide constructive feedback to candidates, there are a few candidates who do not take it very well. I would strongly advise everyone to be open to criticism. It is only aimed at helping you become better and not to hurt your feelings. Just be open and welcoming.

What can writers do to improve their application?

Write more! The more samples an applicant provides and the more information they fill in during their application, the more helpful it is for a Recruiter or an HR Manager to review. Be honest about your work, be humble also but do brag if you have something you can showcase. And don’t forget to proofread! I hate to receive applications from writers or editors that are filled with typos or grammar mistakes. And finally, do not be afraid to reach out to your potential future employer! Find out who the hiring person is and send an invitation with a personalized message on LinkedIn. Share an article from their website. Read more about the team and the projects. Interact!

Why should a writer want to apply to Relay?

Because it is such a great team! On a serious note, Relay Publishing promotes a creative, fun, and collaborative online environment. We have a small team of people running the company, handling the coordination of projects, marketing, finance, human resources and administration. We also work with more than one hundred creatives to bring our books to life. So, if you love stories, you’ll be among great company!

As a writer, you should find our collaborative process helpful while you enjoy the independence of your work. We publish books in several different genres, so I am confident you will find something to stimulate your creativity!

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Why do you love working with creatives?

Because I am one of them! My work might appear as business-oriented but the reality is that if you want to be a great recruiter, you need to have a creative mind! You need to think outside the box, you need to research a lot, you need to invent new processes and ways to bring results in; much like structuring a new novel and bringing it to life! And I’ve always loved books, so this is definitely a bonus!

What is your favorite genre and why?

I would pick thrillers without hesitation. Psychological thrillers, legal thrillers, vigilante justice, serial killer detective — I am all in! And I am so excited to share that I am currently looking for new team members to help us write some successful new thrillers. More info can be found at our careers site here or you can simply get in touch with me and I will share further details (and remember to be creative in your message!).

Relay has founded a collaborative environment for literary creatives to exercise their skillset and develop their craft across a multitude of fiction genres.