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Job interview test that questions... ethics?

No matter how much or how little experience you have, there will be always people able to make you question everything.

But there’s a healthier thing to do instead: you should question them!

Job applications nowadays surprise us from the beginning, if we read the job description carefully. Most of the time, without even paying that much attention, it’s clear they’ve been written by people who don’t have much clue about it.

With the help of mighty Google, pompous words are put together in a very empty sounding way.

There are countless job ads made viral by the absurdity of their requirements - looking for a person to cover 4 roles, all kind of heroes who should be specialized in quantic science while being poets.

After passing the CV screening, an interview experience can also be traumatizing.

You might realize they didn’t even bother to read your CV, or click around your social profiles. This, while you made an effort to find out even their pet's name to be able to connect on a human level.

Tests? Should we talk about assessments/assignments?

Until now, I had fun answering clever questions, make some presentations, nothing absurd to mention. Well...until now.

Marketing and communication is a field full of specialists and wannabes. We all co-exist, and we all have our ways, our own experiences that brought us further... or kept us stuck. Some went straight to the digital side and skipped the traditional, offline part. Some got stuck in the good old ways of doing things, and consider online as a must but don’t know much about it. And some mixed it from the beginning and understand both sides, and how they should work together, not against each other.

Here comes the story of the assignment that made me question...a lot!

Job: Consultant b2b - b2c, Communication agency

During the first call, which wasn't much of an interview, I might have done some eyebrow raising because of the very junior approach. It did feel that they didn’t go deep into my CV, but asked the questions they care about, which is perfectly understandable - they have clients and specific need, so they want to know if I can help.

Did I hear about Hubspot? Have I ever made an ads campaign on social media? Did I write press releases and approach journalists?

I was nice and humble and gave them examples of when and how I did this during all these years of working.

Of course, it’s the candidate's word against their needs, so they have to test the truth.

They tell me they will send and assignment and mention that it shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours of my time. I got it the next day (was a Tuesday) at 2 PM, and had until Thursday to turn it back in, so that we can have our final call on Friday.

I opened it and there were fun activities. I used to win my bread with it, and I definitely enjoy working on such tasks. And because I know the amount of work needed, I felt there’s a trick somewhere and couldn’t figure it out how I should approach it.

What would have you done?

  • You put time and effort to solve them - but in a minimalistic way, because there are only 30 hours available if you only do this and don’t sleep

  • You solve one out of 3 tasks and send it back, waiting for feedback

  • You tell them it’s insane

Maybe you should read them before answering…

  1. Beauty product - epilator

New epilator launching on the x market. Target group: 25 yo to 39, medium price. Considering the fact that body hair is a subject that was covered a lot in the lifestyle media, our agency was asked to cover this launch and make sure that the product will be well-paced by bloggers, influencers and the media.

  • Please develop three to four communication and PR activities to make this product known

a. Take into account different channels and distribution platforms.

  • Write a short press release.

  • Put together a media list to whom you would send it, and name four of them who you would send the product to test it.

  • Write the title and lead of the press release in English.

2. An innovation hub is launching a contest for start-ups. There’s a partnership with another institution, and it’s the 3rd year they are organizing it together in order to promote the hub. The participants this year can be international, and they will win a financially consistent price, plus working space and support from the hub.

  • Please develop three to four communication and PR activities

  • Develop a content plan for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Think about the imagery of the posts, how would they look and sound so that they get noticed

  • Decide if paid campaigns would make sense to push the contest

  • How would you promote this contest attractively through a newsletter sent out to 1500 contacts.

  • Write the title and the lead of a press release about the contest.

  • Put together press list of relevant media you would send it too.

  • Write the title and lead of the press release in English.

Wait...did you think they finished here?!


  • Create a project plan with the following focus: Invitation to the award of the start-up competition in November 2021 in the hub (I’m confused too, do they want the concept of the event, a list of the invited people, maybe both?)

I did tell you it was for 3 clients, right? Or what, are you running out of those 2-3 hours?

3. Coffee event

Outline the concept for a nice and fancy Coffee-Event where a sustainable and pricey coffee will be launched by a premium coffee seller. The coffee is sourced from an organisation led by the farmer-women of Latin America. The event will take place at their location, in a small town, where you should invite press, lifestyle and newspapers, Food-Bloggers and Influencers (6-8)

  • Outline the idea of this little and fancy event.

    • What theme would be interesting for the Media, and how would you approach the influencers?

  • Outline a content plan to promote this new coffee on social media: Instagram and Facebook.

    • Think about good content, images, video.

Other details: Premium coffee - 250 gr sold with 22 Euros, target male and female from 32, with a high income, the coffee is sold on their online shop and in a few selected stores.

Still not done!

The last phrase is the cherry on top, or the bow you need to put on everything.

Did you pass the 2 hours? Keep one hour for this:

Present us your ideas. Please prepare your presentation as you would do it for the client.

Would you do it?

I really want to shed a light on this subject, cause it might break down a lot of us, and we don't need less motivation nowadays.

We should empower each other during job hunting and learn to deal like a pro with such situations.

Where's the ethics related problem?

Let me shower you with questions:

  • How much time would you need for this?

  • What's your opinion on their time-setting expectation of 2-3 hours (presentation included)?

  • Have you ever timed yourself when writing a press-release?

  • Do you consider research time on the client? To come up with ideas, partnerships, media list, influencers, tone of voice?

  • Would you ever make or give a press list/influencer list away for an interview?

  • How would have you approached the situation, and what would you tell them? Before sending it in, during the call you have as feedback?

  • What if you're told they had other people solve this in 2 hours with no issues?

You can engage in the conversation on LinkedIn here.

Thanks for reading and happy job hunting!


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