No, I will not write a marketing plan ‘as part of the recruitment process’

Cassandra Barker - March 28, 2018

Asking candidates to complete a writing task, respond to a scenario or complete digital testing has become a common part of a recruitment process for marketing and communications roles.

Hiring managers want to ensure they are employing someone whose skill set matches the one set out on their CV. But where do you draw the line? When does an opportunity to show off your skill set become something that, in real time, the client would be paying for?

I myself have been through a recruitment process that saw me spend a whole weekend researching and devising a marketing plan to present in a first interview. After a second interview as one of two final candidates, this particular organisation didn’t even have the decency to provide me with feedback when I was unsuccessful. Hi Cass, we’ve decided to progress with the other candidate was all I got. I’ll never get my weekend back and, since then, I’ve noticed a few of the ideas I pitched have appeared as part of their strategy. Ouch.

It’s a difficult call to make. Should I say no, and miss out? Or should I take the risk, hope my insights blow them away and they have no choice but to offer me the job? Or do I call my potential future employer out on proposing an outlandish request?

At least, in my case, there was an actual job, but unfortunately, as Liz Ryan suggests in her column with Forbes Magazine, this may not always be the case. Could a hiring manager treat an interview process like hosting pitches with different agencies, harvesting your well-prepared, well-researched ideas all wrapped up in your best intentions for nothing more than an hour of their time and the cost of a SEEK advert? Since being back in recruitment, I have enjoyed working with clients on designing appropriate testing for marketers that will allow the interviewee to showcase their ability to innovate, without us stealing their ideas or their weekends. Preparing scenarios and hypotheticals for response allows candidates to be more creative, make assumptions, and pitch recommendations that aren’t going to offend your brand purpose if they don’t quite get it, or bruise your ego if they tell you your existing content could be better. It also reassures candidates that you’re not gathering ideas to give to the successful candidate as a super strategy, or dangling an imaginary carrot shaped like a paid job.

If you have a marketing or communications opportunity that you’d like my assistance in recruiting, please give me a call on 3232 9119 or send an email to




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