Dear Evil HR Lady,
I’m in the creative field, and recently been asked as part of a job interview to produce layouts for the prospective client. The work is not paid, and several applicants are competing with each other; a bake-off type of situation. Since this usually means anywhere from 2-4 days of work (researching the story, production, fonts, photographs, online components, assembling all of the elements and compiling into a coherent design) I feel its is a lot to expect and quite frankly, insulting that a work history, recommendations, and past portfolio of work is not enough to base the selection on. I am tempted to refuse, even if it means I will not be considered. It feels like they think I’ve exaggerated what my role was on my portfolio.
One thing has become painfully obvious after this type of encounter, is that despite the best intentions of the applicant to stay upbeat, the bridge is effectively burned: you will never hear from the hiring manager again. I suspect the guilt they feel from asking for free work and then declining precludes them from ever contacting the applicant again. The sense of truly wasting your time is palpable. What’s your opinion?