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Being asked to do a test for a job interview

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#1 rjb

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 09:27 AM

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?

#2 rolin

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:09 AM

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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#3 ChrisC

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 10:14 AM

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.

#4 anothername

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 02:52 PM

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.

#5 Aaron Scott

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 04:54 PM

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.

#6 thekinginyellow

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 05:44 PM

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.

#7 AromaKat

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:11 PM

I have had this request as well once before. Just cut a deal with them stating if you don't make the cut, no worries, but if you do, test time is billable.

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#8 thekinginyellow

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:49 PM

i actually landed the job. they said i already had it in the bag because they found a photo of me holding a beer on myspace, printed it and taped it to the empty chair and said "yep, he's one of us."

#9 AromaKat

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:53 PM

creepy

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#10 krpdesign

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 03:07 PM

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.

#11 vozzz

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 04:26 PM

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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#12 scott frizzle

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:51 PM

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.

#13 aspekt

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:55 PM

I've had companies in the past ask me to do a test project for them. But I always get paid for it.

#14 rjb

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:07 AM

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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