Thoughts about looking for a job: Case studies

Have you ever had to do a technical test/case study as part of a selection process? In general, I find them useful, but let's discuss it.

Vol. II: After sharing what I learned about CVs, I now continue with my reflections on case studies after having done some while searching for a job. I have two key messages in this post, and the first one is for HR professionals:

💰 Show me the money.
Please, you need to understand that you have to pay the candidates you ask to do a case study.

▶ You would improve the employer branding image, demonstrating professionalism and generating trust.
▶ You would be fair, recognizing the commitment and time that these people will invest.
▶ You would encourage candidates to want to apply in future processes.

🤩 With all this, the idea is to get a candidate experience closer to this: "Even though they have ended up discarding me from the process, at least they have assessed me and given me feedback after the test. I know what I can improve. I know what I can improve. They treated me well. I will apply to other positions and recommend others to apply as well. I will speak highly of this company to my friends."

Which company wouldn't want such opinions, especially when there are so many complaints about the difficulty of finding talent?

How much would it cost? I estimate around €100 per candidate, and the test shouldn't be too long (maximum 6-8 hours of work approximately), as it is called a "test" for a reason. These tests should only be requested in advanced stages when deciding between a maximum of 2-3 candidates.

To sum up, the cost would be around 200-300€. If you don't want to pay in cash, you can offer products/services/experiences as gifts, which can be cost-effective and even help gain brand lovers.

Anyway, it doesn't seem to be a priority or a widely shared vision. So, assuming that you won't get paid, in this second and final point of my post, I'll share ideas on how to approach a practical case based on the ones I've had to do, which, of course, I did without compensation.

🙄 Neither school nor university teaches us how to find a job. We don't know how to create a good CV, how to communicate better ourselves, what questions to ask in an interview or how to send follow-up emails after an interview, among many other things. But I'll talk about that another day.

So, we have to see case studies as an opportunity. They give us the option to demonstrate the practical talent we truly have, which can be difficult to explain in words during an interview.

1️⃣ Don't be afraid
When they explain it to you, ask as many questions you need until you understand it completely. Be clear about when you need to submit it, the format, who it should be sent to, and know whom you can contact if you have any doubts.

2️⃣ Make the most of your networking
When you work, you have the support of colleagues and other contacts in your network who help you. Why not do the same when you have to do the practical case, which theoretically is similar to what you'll have to do in your daily work? As long as you're not copying and pasting 100% from ChatGPT or your friends, asking for ideas and feedback from people around you is not cheating or copying. It's using that network of contacts that only you have, which you have built and which holds great value.

3️⃣ Go beyond
As always, if you want to stand out a bit, you'll have to take it a step further and try something that other candidates haven't thought of. From visually improving the data in an Excel sheet and transferring it to Google's LookerStudio, to including an extra section that is not requested, such as analyzing what the competition does to address the problems presented in the case study.

4️⃣ How to present it?
Lastly, if you have to present the case study in a presentation format, why not send them a short video in addition to the PDF, where you explain the presentation in more detail, showing your image in one corner? Canva is ideal for this. You can create the presentation directly there and then use the option to record yourself and appear in one corner while speaking. Additionally, you can generate a viewing link and share it via email without having to download the video or anything. Easy.

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