You Don’t Know, What You Don’t Know

The excerpt is form an article first published at on October 25, 2022.

The job listing I saw was for a CMO of a growing beauty brand. The job listing gave me pause, and not in a good way. The first major eyebrow raising line is, “you will be asked to complete PROCTORED assessments in the following areas: business math, writing, Excel, behavioral and cognitive.” Excuse me; What? 

It’s a CMO job. Asking for proctored math, writing, and Excel tests, along with an IQ test, is insane. I read that line as saying that this company’s leadership don’t know how to assess the skills needed for the role and are unaware of that knowledge gap. But an Excel test for a C-level marketing job wasn’t even the biggest red flag.

The biggest red flag to me was, “During the interview process if you are shortlisted, you will be asked to present a top-line one-year strategic plan. This project is designed to illuminate your deep understanding of the [brand] and your ability to identify high-growth opportunities.”

Building out a “one-year strategic plan” presentation for executives requires an absurd amount of research. Properly conducting market research, evaluating historical efforts, and interviewing the organizations’ stakeholders would require between 90-120 hours. The way the description is written implies company leadership is looking for candidates who agree with their preconceptions of “high-growth opportunities”. I could say more, but building a one-year marketing plan is not an interview question; it’s the first few months of the job.

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