“The War On Talent” Generates Lots Of War Stories

I’ve written nearly 115 columns for Talent Zoo since 2002, but no column has received as many comments as The War On Talent has. (Scroll all the way down the column and you can read them).
The frustration among job seekers, and even Creative Directors seeking talent, is palpable. One person wrote to me about an agency giving her a basic skills test:

The test was an hilarious math quiz clearly geared for ten year olds. Using Google, I searched out the provider of the test, and its history. It had been designed to weed out high school students looking for fast food jobs and for postal workers lacking high school degrees, to test the soundness of their GED level. Apparently, this agency’s HR head had been an easy sell for this testing company.
I ignored the test.
I began to get nasty emails and phone calls from the HR lady: Why haven’t you taken our test! it is required or ELSE!

I also got a response from one agency HR person, who said, in part:

One, you probably have no idea how many resumes come in from just one posting online and 90% of them are completely unqualified for the position (one reason i personally despise job boards.) Just sifting through the myriad of resumes from a SINGLE posting on a SINGLE board is a fulltime job, and unfortunately not every resume can be answered. Especially when the majority of the applicants have completely disregarded the requirements of the job. If it says you must have XYZ experience, that is a requirement of the job – no ifs ands or buts. We dont make those rules, that’s just how it is.

It’s clear this is a major problem in the advertising industry. And it’s not going to get any better.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Too many agencies don’t know how to spot talent when said talent falls outside of their limited “scope up” view.
    The best shops already know who they want to hire so if you’re not on their incestuous short list, you can forget about being taken seriously by their gatekeepers. No matter what you bring to their precious table.
    You’d think creative companies would be creative, or open minded at the very least, when it comes to finding outstanding staff. But, like any fraternal organization, dues must be paid and the old ways honored.