Candidates scale mountains for director of toughness role


Something for the weekend: Finding an appropriate, office-friendly outfit can be the bane of many a potential job candidate’s morning before attending an interview. However, it is not a problem recent Columbia Sportswear applicants had to face when they scaled mountains and kayaked in a bid to be named the outdoor clothing organisation’s new directors of toughness.

More than 4,000 individuals applied for the full-time, paid director of toughness positions, with candidates applying from across the US, Canada, and the UK. The role will see the successful candidates test out Columbia Sportwear’s extensive range of outdoor clothing, ensuring that it will keep the brand’s customers protected in any weather or geographical situation.

To test whether applicants would be suitable for the position and fully engaged in the role, which could mean testing the clothing in glaciers or deserts, Columbia Sportswear devised ‘The Toughest Interview (To Get To)’, which involved overnight hiking, kayaking and mountain climbing, as well as interviews and challenges in Portland, New York, Canada and Scotland.

Faith Briggs, a runner and documentary film maker from New York, and Mark Chase, a former semi-professional rugby player from Gloucester, were selected as the successful candidates to become Columbia Sportswear’s new directors of toughness.

Richelle Luther, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Columbia Sportswear, said: “The directors of toughness are integral employees at Columbia and help showcase the lengths that many of our employees go to in order to test our gear. After interviewing so many inspiring candidates throughout the recruitment phase, we’re excited to introduce Faith and Mark and send them on their first adventure in just a few short days.”

Here at Employee Benefits, our recruitment process to find the best talent seems a bit mundane compared to Columbia Sportwear, however we certainly feel we could test some ski jackets as we battle against the office’s sub-zero air conditioning system!