The manner in which leaders of a company respond to mistakes can offer valuable career insights

The word STPO painted on a road
Photo by Mariano Real Pérez | flickr

There’s no shortage of interesting stories regarding job interviews, especially within the design industry. But never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that my bad spelling would act as a toxic work culture compass.

The spelling snafu in question happened during a fourth-round in-person interview for a position I was recently pursuing.

By the way, when did this trend of extensive interviews become the norm? I thought such a comprehensive hiring process belonged to organizations like NASA and the CIA, not corporate companies that produce products and services for the consumer market.

The job I was applying for was a creative marketing director position. It was a unique job that required design, marketing, and leadership skills. It was also an in-person role, which I was specifically looking for.

I don’t want to include too much information about the company for obvious reasons, but to provide context, they deliver services and software for various national and local facilities.

The first interview was a phone call with a human resources person, likely to ensure I was who I said I was. They asked basic questions that one would expect in such a conversation.

The second interview was a video conference with relevant team members, such as human resources, sales, and design. Again, this was a routine call that went quite well. The team seemed competent, and everyone was friendly.

The next day, I received an email asking me to come in for an in-person interview. Exciting. However, they also mentioned they had a design test they would like me to perform.

A design test?

First of all, I’m not an entry-level designer. I’ve been designing for nearly 20 years. My portfolio and resume provide enough credibility to highlight my abilities for someone with my particular experience.

However, what struck me as odd was not the test, per se, but that this was a creative marketing director position. Although the…


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