Brand Strategy

Need some advice. I’m interviewing for an associate director role and was asked to do an assignment. The assignment pertains to the current work stream on the account I’m interviewing for. My Q:

like
Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon
works at

If they’re giving you an actual client brief without being an employee and not a made up/pro bono one there are bigger questions to be asked...just say you’re not comfortable with this and would rather prove yourself on a probono/social impact initiative instead. If they say no, you’re dodging a bullet...

Reaction Icon Like
likesmarthelpful
Arrow Icon

+1

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

If I complete this fairly heavy strategic assignment, I’m doing free work for a very high paying client. If they choose not to hire me, my insights could live on. Is it possible to turn down the assignment without souring the relationship? At a director level, it feels disrespectful at best. Do I have the right to object? Certainly I risk losing the opportunity but...my resume should speak for itself at this point. Anyone have experience navigating this?

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I went through an interview where they asked me tough questions specific to problems they were facing an account and asked me to explain the process I would take to resolve it. I didn't need to do actual work and they concluded I was qualified... No need for an assignment!

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I went through an interview where they asked me tough questions specific to problems they were facing an account and asked me to explain the process I would take to resolve it. We discussed several situations and scenerios that required intelligence and knowledge of the role to answer. I didn't need to do actual work and they concluded I was qualified... No need for an assignment! Especially 5-10 hours. That's insane. Go home.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Literally just went through a similar experience, but for a senior planner role. Spent 3 hours interviewing away from my current job, then was given an assignment that “shouldn’t take more than 5-10 hours” with one assignment being extremely relatable to the account I’d be on. The recruiter said the assignment proved them right that I wasn’t senior enough for the position. 😪 Tbh, I would think in my case/level a small assignment is cool. But at your level your resume and ‘work’ should speak for itself... but hey if it’s really an amazing opportunity I’d play ball.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Actually, no. People inflate their accomplishments at every level. It’s shocking, I know. But without a trusted reference, you need to put candidates through their paces at every leave

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Sid Lee asked this of me. Pass. It’s so obviously wrong to do that it raises more questions

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I did this once and landed the role. I think you can look at it 2 ways: 1) you’re time to shine (especially if they seem super excited about you) or, 2) free work (at which point you could offer to show them some original work that you’re proud of) If you’re worried about giving your work to them for free then just avoid sharing. Present from your own computer

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I agree. I think it’s gets complicated when there’s vested interest on the interviewer’s side. However, if the assignment is open enough like — a brand you love and why or how would you would reinvent a brand? I think those kind of assignments are likely more productive and help the candidates shine

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

Also, as someone already said, coming up with the right strategy is easy(ish). Getting a team, an agency, a client, a company excited about it and acting on it - that’s hard. And if you can do that, they’ll give you the job - because they’ll be excited. So I say go for it. Good luck!

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I've been asked this before. It's shady as hell and a sign something is wrong with them. Run away.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I had this happen twice. Once was for a freelance gig which is crazy. The place ended up sucking so hard cause the founder was cray that I took it off my resume. Took way too long to do the assignment & there was no way to take short cuts & demonstrate approach. 2nd time was at Grey on one of their clients. Much less time to do & actually was fun. So it really depends. Go with your gut in terms of how excited you are with the job

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

From my experience, execution is just as hard if not harder than ideation. So, I’ve learned to separate the two and am more than happy to share my insights with anyone, knowing that actually executing on insights is more than half the battle. This is all saying that even if you give them your insights, they would have to execute on it, which is tough if they don’t hire you. Because typically, if it’s a clever/novel one, there would be more than a few meetings for you to explain what you’re insights are and how to execute them.

Reaction Icon Like
like
Arrow Icon

I think if your insights are so blindingly brilliant that they are good enough to share with a client and live on, they’re probably going to hire you off the back of them. And if you don’t get the job, they don’t rate your output, and so they won’t want to nick them and share them anyway. Either way it’s fine.

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Think it’s a new norm but 5-10 hrs sounds insane

Reaction Icon Like
Arrow Icon

Download the app for more exclusive discussions.