When it comes to job interviews, it's always helpful to have a good response handy for the requisite "Where do you see yourself in five years?" question.
But it's also important to think about what you'll do if asked to perform on-the-spot creative tasks. And FYI, the answer isn't to run in the other direction.
In this job interview for Miami-based plastic surgery clinic Mia Aesthetics, Medical Director Dr. Sergio Alvarez tasks candidates for its social media manager position with a unique challenge: Caption a tongue-in-cheek photo of one of its patients using some witty hashtags. The purpose? To assess the candidates' creativity and wit, and see how they respond under pressure.
As Alvarez explains, Mia Aesthetics wants its patients to know they're "investing their time in a place where they're gonna enjoy the process." So how these candidates rise to (or bomb) the creative challenge will be a clear indication of whether they'd be a good fit for the company culture.
"Great copywriting ability is one of the most important skills a social media manager needs," says Maya Ninel Roberts, director of growth at Mashable. "Creating a hashtag might seem simple but in a short, compact phrase, you need to convey the brand as well as the subject and create something dynamic that will resonate with a specific audience and that will ultimately garner a wide reach."
But although a caption challenge like this may seem to be an easy and fun task for prospective candidates, it's not as simple and straightforward as it sounds. According to Tim Fogarty of media agency Maxus Global, "Hiring social copywriters can be a challenge because the inclusion of a hashtag means the writer must not just understand what to say, but what to say about what they're saying."
In other words, these candidates need to know the ever-changing language of social media, have a deep understanding of their industry and, crucially, know their audience.
For Mashable, a multiplatform media and entertainment company, these are key qualifications for any candidate who walks through their interview doors. Roberts explains, "Candidates need to show that they have considered not only the content but also the many different platforms and have an understanding of who and where our company's audience is."
So the next time you go to an interview, don't be afraid to let loose and flex your creative muscle. It never hurts to think outside of the box and set yourself apart.
Watch an all-new "The Job Interview" Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT