A few months back Coshx was looking to hire a Marketing Intern. We were primarily looking for someone who has strong research skills, enjoys learning, and could provide creative contributions to our marketing strategy. We didn’t see the point in asking an entry-level candidate to summarize all of their “work experience” in a 2-3 paragraph letter. So, we set out to battle the flurry of cover letters to our inbox by asking applicants to write an answer to a creative problem or question en lieu of a boilerplate letter. Since the Marketing Intern would be doing a bit of social media, here’s what we asked candidates to do:
Please answer the following question instead of writing a cover letter. Remember, there’s no wrong answer!
Pretend you are Elizabeth I’s PR manager. It is August 8, 1588 and she’s asked you to tweet a message to the people of England. What do you tweet and why?
First of all, these answers are much more entertaining to read through than a cover letter. Second of all, that question is suited to help us find the skills/qualities that we’re looking for in applicants.
Research. Candidates tweeted about the Armada or England being victorious. We wanted candidates who dove deeper into research and wrote tweets that addressed the crazy things that had to happen in order for England to prevail, or candidates who wrote tweets that reflected the Queen’s actual remarks regarding the Armada. (Some candidates even attempted to write in old English, which was super fun to read in 140 characters – and was also testament to their research).
Enjoying the learning. Learning is an important part of our Core Values, and working with people who embody our Core Values is equally as important to us. We figured a candidate who enjoys learning and research would delve deeper than the ones who weren’t as interested. Whether it was researching the actual date or utilizing hashtags that they’d clearly researched, we looked for candidates whose responses were the most thoughtful. We later asked candidates via phone what they thought about the prompt and how they felt about responding via tweet rather than cover letter. Most of them felt it was “refreshing” and were relieved that they didn’t have to send a bland 2 paragraph response.
Creativity. Another important quality for us is creativity. We love people who are eager to contribute their ideas, because at Coshx, everyone’s ideas are important to the success of the team. Having candidates answer questions like the Queen Elizabeth prompt allowed them the freedom to show off their creative brainpower.
In conclusion, we found an incredible Marketing Intern and you can read about Sarah’s experience with us and her perspective on the hiring process here. With her help our social media engagement has boomed, we’re seriously growing our network, and she’s also a great writer! We highly recommend getting creative with your hiring process. Now you can go google August 8, 1588 and learn about the tribulations of The Renaissance Queen.