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What I find kind of amazing is how long and convoluted the job application process is these days. When I was looking for a job a couple years ago I applied at a big Silicon Valley company. It took them three weeks after I applied to get back to me. Did a one hour phone interview. Two weeks after that, they ask me to do a design test which involves designing a touch screen application. I spend a couple days doing the test, send it to them, then two weeks later they get back to me. Test went well and they want to interview. They fly me down to CA, I do a day of interviews (interview w/five different people), and at the last interview it comes up that they want to hire me for a different location than the one I want to work at. The entire thing takes over a month and it was a waste of time for both of us.
I feel like the people who are overpaid are the HR people. They've created this massive bureaucratic process but it's far from clear that it actually produces better results.
The thing that pisses me off about these tests is that companies are getting free ideas and work. Imagine company X asks 5 separate designers to redesign their homepage. If they're a high profile company they're likely going to attract good candidates, so they can expect some pretty solid work coming in via the 'test'. This process brings in a bunch of (likely) fresh ideas for little to no cost and the creators have no real legal recourse over how the work is used. What's to stop company X from turning around and implementing your ideas? A verbal agreement between the candidate and some HR goof or unscrupulous Product Designer? Good luck with that.
The whole process is really fishy and lopsided.
The thing is with these design tests, is that they're actually nothing new.
As far back as six or seven years ago, Fantasy Interactive were doing this with a stock sort of 'How would you design the next apple.com site' thing. I always thought they'd been trying to get Apple as a client, and trying to get ideas from candidates (withouth necessarily having to hire them, of course).
Avoid these things like the plague; no reputable agency of any sort should be doing this.
Never do spec work.
- True. But if we negotiated a fee prior to doing the work it's not entirely spec. I just blew it because I trusted them and didn't insist on a written contract..bort
- and 1/2 payment up front.bort
- You should read Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro... a lot of good advice in there.zarkonite
Stopped responding to emails? I've been there before. It's a dickless move—sometimes. I imagine some people are just too busy to respond to every email...
I had an agency in SF ask me to complete a UX test that took 8 hours! I told them why it wouldn't really show them how I work. I proposed a quick freelance project but, of course, I never heard back.
I guess some employers know they have you by the balls. If the design test is somewhat reasonable and doesn't take a whole day then...do it?
- I hope they were offering compensation for that 8 hour test. If not, F it.bort
- They were NOT offering $$$. That's why I asked them to do a quick freelance project with me. They declined so I didn't do the test.studderine
- It takes real balls to ask candidates to do an 8 hr test for free. Good on you for trying to find a work around.bort
So it sounds like these tests are the future of design hiring. Fantastic. One more reason for me to jettison this profession.
it is very prominent here in the bay area. Nearly every place requires a "test". Google, Netflix, most UX/Design firms, etc.
although i don't like it, they need to weed out the shit, and this is a quick way that doesn't waste any of their teams time up front.
just because of the sheer number of people here looking to hire/looking for new work, you pretty much have to complete the project or bow out.
I should add that the company and I had a verbal agreement re: payment for the text. At the time they were very clear with the fact that there is compensation for the test. Now I think they're just crooks.
Yeah I think it's a bit shady for companies to ask that you provide them with free work. I've encountered that once, but generally I've found that the test was part of the in-person interview process and was more of a whiteboard exercise that had nothing do with the product or service of that company. My guess is that it allows them to get a sense of your problem solving abilities as well as how you can articulate your ideas and defend your solutions - things that may or may not come across in your portfolio.
Never do spec work.
I fell for it and did spec work for free because I was excited about the company.
So 4 interviews, 1 test/presentation and around 40 emails later they tell me I'm not as "senior" as they expected since they need someone that no only is a good visual designer but also a salesman to go pitch the design to CEO's, CCO's, CMO's
Lesson learned, never again...
A company near my house had posted a one day team test to solve one of the company's design problems in one day and then they will hire a few...
Is like the start-up weekends you give your ideas for free to the vultures....