I recently applied for a summer internship as a Software Developer at an automotive company in the UK.

The first stage of the application was your personal details, academic and employment history; nothing more.

After "passing" that stage, I got asked to complete their "application form". However, the linked PDF was nothing more than a blank piece of paper, with a comment in the corner of:

Be creative, and think outside the box

Given I was applying as a Software Developer and not an artist, I really didn't know what to do. What would be expected of me in this situation?

  • Split up the paper myself into "normal" CV categories?
  • Write/ demonstrate some code on the paper?
  • An arrow pointing off the page labelled "me"?
  • ??
  • 1
    The question is too broad. I suggest writing in a sample of your code. – Deer Hunter Oct 6 '14 at 12:53
  • 3
    I would hate this type of application. I probably wouldn't even continue unless I really wanted that specific job. – David K Oct 6 '14 at 13:00
  • @DeerHunter: My sample code was just an example of something I was thinking about putting in the application; I haven't got an example. I was worried about this technique, because I wasn't sure whether it was HR/ IT reviewing my submission; HR staff would have been taken aback! Furthermore, I could have written "clever" code (with the risk of missing an edge case!), wide ranging code (one simple application made up of classes written in several languages), or... other ways :/. – George Oct 6 '14 at 13:08
  • If you are a software developer and you can do little more than code, then you are basically a typist. They want to find out if there is more to you than the ability to type. – Vietnhi Phuvan Oct 6 '14 at 14:41
  • This is a good question, but I see that it has four close votes. If it gets closed, please ping me and I'll reopen it. Welcome to TWP.SE! – Jim G. Oct 7 '14 at 3:12

There is no specific form expected of you. By giving a blank application, they most likely want you to to show your creativity. This is not where you put your resume or CV. Show some effort and creativity in any way you can. We can't offer any specific examples because that would probably count as "cheating."

  • Sorry, I should have being explicit in stating the application deadline for this has long since passed (this was for a Summer 2014 internship). Would you therefore mind giving some explicit examples? – George Oct 7 '14 at 8:15

That is a pretty cool idea. They are specifically asking you to think outside the box so trying to think what they want from you is not what they want.

Given that type of application at the stage you are at in your career, I would have tried to explain why I loved Software Dev, why I wanted to do it for the rest of my life and why I'd chosen their company. I'd perhaps have talked a little about my specific specialised technologies and features that I love and hate. I'd have tried show them that we are basically meant to be together by showing them were we are similar and why we can work together well. They are probably looking for someone with passion. Someone with no passion has nothing to say.

Given that application at this stage in my career however I would probably draw them a huge voucher for 3 hours of my time to code whatever they wished of me with the view that once they saw it, they could decide all of the above for themselves. They want out of the box, I want a company that respects what I do.

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