New York based ad-tech agency “Collective” have announced they require job applicants to pass an exam as part of their recruitment process.
The 100-question multiple-choice exam has been devised by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. If it proves a success other online advertising agencies are expected to follow suit. The move could mean an aspiring copywriter, art director or account manager applying for a job will need a little more than a striking resume and a batch of glowing references to seize the prize.
Message to applicants: keep a finger on the advertising pulse
The aim of the new “Digital Media Sales Certification” exam is to test an applicant’s expertise in the bewilderingly intricate digital-ad eco-system. Applicants who haven’t kept their ear to the ground may need to hold off until they’ve done their homework. If you didn’t know that cutting-edge audio electronics firm Denon has just commissioned award-wining advertisers BBDO to launch an unprecedented 75 percent digital media advertising campaign, or that the Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to open up the opaque world of hedge fund marketing to advertising agencies, it may be wisest to stay put for the time being.
The test also seeks knowledge about managing, analyzing and selling digital ad campaigns.
“Sales applicants won’t have to pass the test before joining the firm,” says company chief Jed Savage. They will be required to keep taking it “in role” until they do. He added, “We’re very pleased with the standard trying to be set from an industry perspective and look at this as a way to gauge our sales organization, which we push to be the best out there.”
How much is enough?
The first round of testing took place in June, when most of the firm’s sales team took it – and passed. Other giants in the digital advertising world have also been experimenting with the exam, with employees from AOL and Yahoo sitting it.
It’s not clear at this stage how many points will be needed to achieve a pass. Those who sit the exam simply find out whether they have passed or not but are not told what score they achieved. The IAB is being a little cagey about how many of the people who have taken the test so far have failed, perhaps reflecting sensitivity to the way in which the industry perceives the exam.