Yesterday, I posted a story from a reader who told me about a recent experience with a company asking for a marketing plan and presentation prior to making a decision between four candidates for a part-time 90-day contract position.
Based on the comments, it seems pretty obvious most people think this kind of behavior is not acceptable. I agree.
The company is out of line to ask for a one hour presentation outlining the marketing plan created for them - for free and with no guarantee of a hire after the presentation. Coupled with the fact, they weren't decent enough to give the candidate a moment to use the restroom during a six hour interview gives me the impression they don't know how to treat talent. The details DO matter.
They sound like amateurs. It's behavior like this that leads me to believe somebody within the company came up with this grand idea to save the company a ton of money by bringing in as many people as possible to give them their creative ideas while someone in the room relentlessly scribbles all the notes they can take in the hour, perhaps with a recorder in pocket, and then without hesitation, they ask the candidate to leave the presentation behind.
Apparently, that someone who gave the company this ridiculous idea is the company's very own recruiter which is another rant all together.
PR and Marketing job seekers: A writing test, a portfolio sample, a request for references, a walk-through of previous plans, even a mock plan are normal requests (for a full-time position). Depending on the company, you may be asked to take a personality test and submit information for a formal background check. But a request to develop original, ready-to-use content for the company is not acceptable.
Don't let yourself be taken advantage of, even in this market. There are plenty of slimeballs out there that want something for nothing. Keep those ideas to yourself and spend your time looking for something more solid and with a company who will respect you and your ideas.
How a company behaves in the interview process is a clear sign of what it is probably like to work there just as your past performance is a predictor of how you might perform in another organization. Evaluate wisely and don't be afraid to push back.