Copywriters

Writing tests as part of the interview process. Y’all for it or nah?

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No!! If they want to see your writing, show them your book. I’ve turned down gigs where they want a writing test.

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💯

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I’m totally against it. They don’t ask ADs to mock up a print ad or ask account managers to copy-and-paste briefs.

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Yeah the art test was way harder. Like insanely harder.

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no. big red flag

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I had to do it for an in-house job. I should’ve walked away. It’s not like I passed that test and then it was smooth sailing. The mistrust and undermining of creatives from leadership ran deep.

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Is it not industry standard? I’ve only ever applied for in-house things and have always had a copy test. I find them really tricky (trying to write for the brand just on feel without a brand book, trying to push the envelope and show new ideas without going overboard and looking like you lack sense, etc.) and honestly they’re really annoying to do, because they add so much extra time to application processes.

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It’s more common in-house from my experience.

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I’m fine with doing writing tests as long as they pay me my freelance rate for it. I’ve never had a shop say no to paying for the time. And as someone who has helped hire other writers, I can attest to the fact that good books don’t always guarantee good writers—that’s always a risk you take in hiring someone, but a short writing assignment helps mitigate that risk (especially when hiring juniors).

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Nope. Writing tests are garbage. I can tell a good writer from a portfolio easy.

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Maybe for a junior, yeah.

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Test brief you mean? Unless it’s like a top agency I say naw. Been there and done that and scarred no doubt.

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Such a good question! Just got one recently, and it’s like, c’mon! But, I think they’re more common at specialized agencies, client-side and in-house agencies. Feels like they’re almost the norm.

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Nah

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Send them your book and tell them that’s all they need to decide if they want to hire you.

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Yeah no way makes the interviewing agency look bad and petty

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Unless you're an intern, tell them to get fucked.

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Not if you’re senior. Show em your book. If they want a trial, tell them they gotta pay you for your time/work.

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For it. You never know who actually wrote what’s in their book, and it’s a great way for them to get to know the kind of writing your team does. I have vacillated on this topic during my career (I hate asking people to do it) but it’s an invaluable tool in vetting candidates. Also if you can get folks to submit their tests blindly to you through a third party (your recruiter), you can use it to help remove any unconscious bias you may have during the interview process.

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I should caveat that I am now in-house. When I was agency side I only tested my freelance candidates but now I test everyone at manager level and below. I would likely test directors too, just because the writing we do is quite specialized.

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