As part of the interview process, clients will often include a test project to better evaluate a prospective candidate’s conceptual/strategic, executional and presentation/communication skills. It can be the defining factor in securing the position, and often times, justifying the salary one requests. How you handles this delicate time in the interview process is critical in either “making” or “breaking” the prospects for landing the job. Below is a brief checklist on “how-to” and “HOW NOT-TO” approach this segment of the interview process:
– Graciously accept the project and show your enthusiasm and excitement for tackling the creative objective at hand. Clients want to see that you are excited about their brand and feel the passion you have for your craft.
– Think strategically about what you are doing. Nothing irritates a client more than someone who does not demonstrate a higher-level of thinking when it comes to how their brand operates. This includes taking into account the competitive landscape and existing branding and marketing principles that already exist.
– The best way to show an employer that you do not want their job is to “pushback” in any regard to the deliverables of the project. Examples include: wanting to be paid, wanting an NDA signed so your work is not used and telling the client that the scope of the project is too large. While you might be 100% correct about all of these points, if you want the job, the project as it exists is mandatory. If you are not doing it, you have to realize that your peers and competitors for the role are. At worst, your competition will advance forward and you will be disqualified for the role. At best, it will definitely set you back in the employer’s mind, and give them a glimpse of both your disinterest in the opportunity or leave a “diva-like” impression. Not a good look.
In summary, if you want the job, my best advice after years of doing this is, put your best foot forward. Show your prospective employer that you are a strategic, teamplayer – at Every. Single. Stage. Of the interview process.