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rjb

Being asked to do a test for a job interview

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So i applied for a freelance job recently, and i'm a bit unsure about it. Basically, the company has said they're interested in hiring me but would like me to come in and do a "test" for a "couple of hours."

 

Naturally, this seems very odd (i've been working for 4-5 years now and never had this).

 

Anyone had this before? Any advice?

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I've recently stumbled upon a “job” ad where a studio in London invited freelancers to do an audition for a full day!

I'd call this a free pitch or spec work.

 

You'd think working hard on putting all your fancy previous projects in a great portfolio and show reel should be enough.

 

I hope this doesn't become an ugly trend!

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I wouldn't trust this. If you think they're on the level then just specify the rate you'll charge for the test - half a day or so - and gauge the reaction.

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My take:

 

When this is not legit: any time they are asking you to do any kind of mograph (especially design) work for no pay. Your mechanic doesn't fix your muffler for free as a test and then if you like that work you get him to fix your engine, you pay for each repair. Like Chris said if they want to test you for half a day to see how you would fit in at their studio they can pay you for half a day.

 

When this is legit: doing an unpaid test is pretty common in the non mograph animation industry. The logic is if you are a bunch of animators working on a series or music video they need to know you can match the style for the show exactly. Usually it's something that only takes a couple of hours and they are getting you to do it when you are at the stage of, if you can match the style you have the gig. I've done this a few times for legit gigs, but only when I was going to have to be part of a team and match a very specific style.

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When this is legit: doing an unpaid test is pretty common in the non mograph animation industry. The logic is if you are a bunch of animators working on a series or music video they need to know you can match the style for the show exactly. Usually it's something that only takes a couple of hours and they are getting you to do it when you are at the stage of, if you can match the style you have the gig. I've done this a few times for legit gigs, but only when I was going to have to be part of a team and match a very specific style.

 

This. When we're hiring for a project with a lot of animation, we ask pretty much everyone to do a test -- usually for just an hour or two. It's absolutely important that we know whether or not they can match our style, and you can't tell that from a demo reel. We don't get "free work" from it -- nothing from one of these tests has ever been used in the actual project.

 

That said, we would never ask someone who does straight-up motion design to do a test.

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on my second interview (previous place of employment) i was asked to do a test. one simple flash page and one motion piece. it was only for an hour and i was pretty much unemployed at the time. i didn't think it was an unreasonable request.

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i was asked to do one once and fought back against it, saying that my reel was my test. they insisted that it was part of their process and that if i wanted to be considered id have to do it. this was for normal motion graphics stuff. the test was basically swapping out a 3d render in AE.

 

so i complied, but got more and more aggravated just trying to figure out how they organized files. after all that i turned it in and never ever heard from them.

never again will i do any kind of test for free.

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If im not busy with other work, i do free tests quite often. They are not usable final results, playblasts and stuff. But they demonstrate the required skills.

 

I guess for motionographics its different.

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I think the key here is that you get paid for anything that the client can use/ bill for. I can understand the need to test people out, but as a freelancer you're exposing yourself to all sorts of potential abuse doing anything for free, so it's wise to be cautious.

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Ah thekinginyellow, see that's a good story.

 

Haven't heard back from them, i assume they found someone else since i brought up the topic of money politely. Not a big deal in the end, probably wasn't the job for me.

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