By Barry Janoff
September 1, 2016: Columbia Sportswear Co. is looking to hire new employees, but you will have to go to great lengths to be interviewed.
The outdoor sportswear and gear company said it is seeking to hire two Directors of Toughness, which the brand describes as a "real job open to adventurers everywhere."
The two candidates awarded the position will "embark on a nine-month adventure around the world to test Columbia’s range of performance products in the most extreme conditions," said the company, warning, "so those who don’t get a thrill from pushing their minds and bodies to the limit need not apply."
The first test: Job interviews are being conducted in-person at one of four remote locations — two in the U.S., one in Canada and one in the U.K. — making this, as a supporting marketing campaign touts, “The Toughest Interview (To Get To).”
Columbia said one U.S. location would be Mt. Hood Wilderness, Oregon. The other U.S. location would be on the East Coast, with that and the two other destinations to be unveiled at a future date.
Columbia is directing people to a dedicated Web site and its Instagram destination for more information.
According to the Portland, Ore.-based company, people interested in the position first need to register online. "Once you have registered and we have confirmed you to attend, you’ll need to get yourself to the interview, just like you would at any other job. Only getting to our interview is going to be a little tougher than finding the right suite number in the office park. Our location will require you to hike, scramble, sweat, and more." (Details here.)
The company, which among other alliances is the official outdoor apparel partner for Manchester United, also offered some pre-interview parameters, including enjoying being outdoors in rugged terrain.
"If you don’t like the outdoors, don’t quit your day job just yet," said Columbia. "You don’t have to know how to climb a mountain, but if we ask, we hope you’re willing to give it a shot."
For those who wonder it this is a real, paying job: "Yes," said Columbia. "You will earn $39K (U.S.) or local equivalent and receive benefits of a full-time employee of Columbia for nine months. This is a real job. We’re not hiring a spokesperson. Make sure you’re ready to be a real Director of Toughness."
Columbia said that its inaugural Directors of Toughness, Lauren Steele and Zach Doleac, were selected from thousands of applicants and spent six months traveling the globe. Their treks were chronicled in a series of videos posted at the company's YouTube platform.
"From the summit of Ecuador’s Cayambe volcano to the Arctic coast of Manitoba, they put Columbia’s gear through the harshest conditions imaginable."
The company said that in addition to job perks that include a full-time salary and benefits, it has extended the job duration from six to nine months" to allow for an even greater range of extreme adventures."
“The Directors of Toughness have become integral employees, not only testing our products but also sharing compelling stories,” Richelle Luther, svp and chief human resources officer for Columbia Sportswear Co., said in a statement. “We are excited to identify and hire two new outdoor enthusiasts, and to put a spotlight on the effort our employees go through to ensure our products keep people comfortable, regardless of the conditions.”
Columbia said that people who being the interview process can stop at any time.
"Hey, it’s a free country. Of course you can quit," the company said. "If you get cold feet before the interview, please let us know sooner than later. But with everyone watching, including Gert (Boyle, chairman and president), you might want to consider sticking with it though."
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