Should ‘creativity’​ even be in the job spec?

How many times have you read a job spec that asks for creativity? New ideas, original (yeah, like that is a thing), maybe even a little quirk? Well, if you are working as a copywriter or designer, probably many, if not every time.

As an engineer, things are pretty straight forward. Certain procedures, methods, the way is paved and there’s little left to the imagination.

When I switched from aerospace engineering to copywriting I though I’m giving my right brain the chance to show what’s what.

I interviewed a lot, especially for tech companies. They would all want someone to make them sound fresh, bold. The word ‘innovative’ was tossed around a lot.

‘Pretty much like … like Apple, you know?’

Not just that Apple is the synonym for creativity in the tech world, but in terms of copy, it blows it out of the park. To the point and yet, it creates that warm and fuzzy feeling in your stomach that makes you buy. So, hell yeah!

I got the job and got to work. I wrote, worked on wireframes, user journeys. Every time it felt like I was using too many words or the experience was too cluttered, I’d ask myself ‘Is this Apple-like?’ The delivery would make the brief and also brush against that original requirement.


People forget. Or people don’t know what they want. In my experience, it’s more the latter.

When presenting my work, I’d get feedback, which is nice – I don’t know it all and I don’t pretend to. But when feedback is outside of the brief, I start to wonder.

‘We need to add these words here. What if the user needs to do this – We need to link to this and that. We need to add a gajillion other things because our product does those things as well.’

You cannot sound like Apple and use tones of adverbs in your tagline. You absolutely cannot be Apple-like and read the home page as one page from the Autumn of the Patriarch. You can’t possibly think ‘Apple’ when, on your homepage, it’s all about you-you-you; or when you cannot decide which USP is the driver.

All the creativity in the world cannot make up for a confused stakeholder or a confusing brand strategy.

From now on, I have decided that every time ‘creativity’ shows up in the job spec, I will consider it a red flag. At the end of the day, who wants to work in chaos? So I will bring it up in my interview. What does ‘creative’ mean exactly? Can I see a good example of creative work? etc.

These questions open the door for another article about the interview behind the interview.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!