Toronto marketing firm uses BuzzFeed quiz to vet...
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Oct 20, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Toronto marketing firm uses BuzzFeed quiz to vet job hunters

88 Creative, a digital marketing and design company, has created a personality questionnaire on the popular social news site to find compatible employees

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Le Gourmand cookies. #WineWednesday. Hot Country. Instagram. Diet Coke. iOS. Netflix.

If you’re applying for a job at 88 Creative, a downtown marketing and design firm, you should probably acquaint yourself with all of the above. They’re the answers managing director Erin Bury gave to a BuzzFeed quiz the company is using to recruit new employees.

BuzzFeed has pioneered the hugely popular online quiz format (“Which ’90s Witch Are You?” was a recent hit) and now lets readers write their own questionnaires on its BuzzFeed Community vertical.

Jason Giles, a digital strategist with 88 Creative, penned “Would You Fit in at 88 Creative?” last Tuesday, with input from others at the company, while they were looking for a new marketing co-ordinator. It asks potential applicants to divulge their favourite day of the week, snack, beverage, social network and spirit animal, among other things.

When you’ve answered all nine questions, the site assesses your compatibility with the firm’s office culture: either “You’d fit in,” “Are you from Mars,” or “You’re out to lunch.”

The way Bury sees it, there’s a twofold advantage to hiring through an online personality test: not only do you find people who like the right munchies, playlists and tipples, you get candidates who live on social media and know its tone — crucial for a digital marketing guru.

“The people we’re going to be bringing on are not the sort of people who are going to apply through a traditional job site,” she said.

The stunt has been a hit on social media, with job hunters posting their results on Twitter and LinkedIn. The page has been viewed some 1,800 times since going live, Bury said. It even caught on in Spain, where a Madrid marketing publication did a story about the initiative. (BuzzFeed quizzes are “la moda mas ‘trendy’ ” to recruit employees, apparently.)

The firm even interviewed a couple of applicants they found through their quiz results. Ironically, in the end, Bury chose someone for the co-ordinator job who hadn’t yet taken the quiz. But now the company has lots of promising candidates on file, and they may be hiring again soon, she said.

One structural problem with the recruitment strategy appears to be that not everyone answers honestly, reluctant to volunteer the kinds of dorky answers likely to alienate a hip marketing outfit. Almost everyone is told they’d fit right in, including the incredulous stepfather of Bury’s boyfriend, who was skeptical when the quiz told him he would successfully mix with the “youngsters” at 88 Creative.

If you’re looking to win Bury over, for example, steer clear of claiming to love Mondays, or kale. Instead, boast about your affinity for wine.

“Most agencies have a beer fridge, but I’m not a beer person,” Bury explained.

Rick Lash, director of leadership and talent at the Hay Group, a management consultancy, envisioned other problems with the quiz.

“That’s a terrible way of going about recruiting people,” he said. “It results in the potential for stereotyping people; it’s rife with bias.”

“You may end up filtering out the exact kind of people you want,” he added. “I know people who are outgoing and also like kale.”

Toronto Star

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