Forget about digital skills. If you want to be a summer intern at DDB California, then you’d better give good phone.
If you’re a college student or recent grad looking for an agency summer internship, consider Launchpad, a new kind of agency internship. DDB California has set up a hotline-style application and interview. Prospective interns need to call 1-844-DDB-CALI and be ready to answer a series of questions.
When you call, you are first asked by an automated system to provide your full name and contact number. You are then given a menu of internship types to choose from: “For copywriters, press 1; for art directors, press 2,” and so on. Depending on which position you choose, you will be given playful questions pertaining to that area of agency work. For example, copywriters are asked things like, “What’s your stance on the Oxford comma?” or “What’s your favorite book, and what is the opening line?” For creative technologists questions include things like, “Have you ever built a drone? And if so, tell us about it; if not, tell us why not” or “List three standard banner ad sizes.”
“We don’t think there’s anything wrong with an online application process or sending cover letters — do people send cover letters anymore? — but we wanted to find a way that removes any outside influence, like Instagram or YouTube trickery, that comes with applying for jobs in the digital era, and get to the core,” explained Nick Christiansen, senior copywriter at DDB California who also oversees Launchpad with fellow senior copywriter Brian Button.
“It’s about being able to think on your feet and present your knowledge at a moment’s notice.”
According to Christiansen, DDB will be evaluating candidates’ phone calls to see how they handle themselves with each question, their range of answers, their ability to communicate clearly and also how much fun they have with the questions. Applicants aren’t totally off the portfolio hook, though — those still need to get mailed in.
While some of the questions are designed to put applicants on the spot — like which typeface would make the best president, or try reciting the alphabet backwards — the good news is, you can call and try it out as many times as you like. However, they can see how many times you’ve called in, even if you call and hang up. Cheaters.
The hotline has been live for only a few days now, but according to Christiansen, they’ve already logged a few hundred calls. The hotline will remain open until DDB California has selected three interns. Updates on the status of the selection process will be posted on the DDB CA Launchpad Facebook page.
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