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'World's toughest job interview' prank video is amazing

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If you do not think the responsibilities of a mother comprise the "World's Toughest Job," a greeting card company is hoping to change that with its new viral video.

American Greetings enlisted the help of Boston-based advertising agency Mullen for its Mother's Day campaign this year. The company started the project just before Christmas break last year.

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"One of our writers went home to Michigan to be with her family," recalled Jon Ruby, vice president and creative director at Mullen. "She spent quite a bit of time with her brother and sister-in-law. She does not have kids, but they do. In watching them, she saw how they interacted with the kids. Her sister-in-law was on her feet 24/7 and never stopped working.

"When she came back, she said being a mom is really the world's toughest job."

There were 10 to 15 ideas for this project, but the idea of treating the job of a mother as a real profession "jumped off the page" to Ruby. The advertising agency posted a fictitious but authentic-looking job offer online and in newspapers. The listing contained a number of seemingly outlandish prerequisites. Some of the requirements included a PhD in psychology or real-life equivalent, crisis management skills, the ability to manage a minimum of 10-15 projects at one time, and working from 135 to an unlimited number of hours per week.

As for vacation, there is none. Additionally, the workload would actually increase on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

The salary? Rehtom Inc., the company listed in the job posting, would pay a whopping $0.

Despite 2.7 million impressions, only 24 people inquired about the position after reading the job listing. According to Ruby, the number of applicants was in line with Mullen's estimates. Mullen used both Skype and a videoconference center in New York City to film the interviews. The person conducting the interviews was a paid actor, who told the job applicants that he was in Houston. In reality, the paid actor was talking to them from another room in the same center.

Some laughed at the interviewer as he reviewed what would be involved with this position. The post was for a Director of Operations position, but the actor noted, "it's really kind of so much more that that." Others responded with adjectives like "insane" and "inhumane" when they heard what the job entailed.

But there was a common thread when they realized who holds the world's toughest job. As soon as the interviewer revealed he was actually outlining the difficult tasks of motherhood, they all smiled. Incidentally, Rehtom Inc. is "mother" spelled backward.

The video titled "World's Toughest Job - #worldstoughestjob" was uploaded on Monday to CardStore.com's YouTube page. It already has over 1.5 million views.

"Sometimes you love something, and you put it out and no one cares," admitted Ruby. But his hesitation dissolved after a screening with other agency employees, most of whom the creative director said are rather cynical about the work they produce. "Everyone in the room stood up and started clapping. It was a very good sign."

"We're delighted," added Alex Ho, American Greetings' executive director of marketing. He noted that they are pleased with the differences in traffic seen at CardStore.com thus far. "I think it really shows that (the message) resonated. We're grateful for all that mothers do."

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