Company Test


Hey everyone, popping in with another question that I’m sure has raised some debate. So here goes.

I’ve recently been contacted by an e-commerce company in South Africa. They have recently been acquired by one of the leading e-commerce companies here and they are now in a startup phase developing their service, as child company of the big e-commerce company.

The company has a website with basic functionality and then a mobile app (android & iOS) - just for some context.

So I’ve been given an assignment, as part of the recruitment process, to identify:
a) 1 major issue on the website,
b) 2 major issues on the app

Then after doing so, I need to create my solution as to how I would improve it, and obviously keeping UX trends and mobile conventions in mind. This solution should be suitable for the web and for both native apps - the company insisted on High Fidelity prototypes.

So what’s making me uncomfortable is that I’ve identified more issues that I can count and I have great ideas as to how I can improve on that but I don’t want to do that for the company’s actual products as my solutions could potentially improve the product dramatically (not boasting in my skill, but I’ve gained a lot of experience recently) and I have no guarantee that my solutions won’t be used - should I not get the job.

Should I insist on a fictional company and test or what do you guys suggest I do?


The ethical interview conundrum strikes again.

Never, ever work for free, except in very specific circumstances. That’s exactly what you’re doing here. Even if they company doesn’t intend to use your issue and solution, they’d be silly to ignore a problem and possible solution even if they didn’t choose you as their new hire for other reasons.

My advice: ask them if you can do a competitor’s site and app. It’ll still show your chops in the specific industry, and will help to alleviate any fears you might have about working on an actual product of theirs. It’ll also remove the temptation on their end to do something shady as well.

If they balk at this, I’d walk away. Clearly ethics for them, at that point, are not a top priority, and that says a lot about the type of employer they are. Very likely, it’s not someone you want to work with/for.


I’m afraid I have to agree with @dougcollins. I don’t want to agree because I can tell you are totally excited about this opportunity but I worry. It just seems like they’re looking to get an awful lot out of this test. It feels like free work to me.

Here’s recent thread where folks have been discussing it. There’s a few links in there, too.

Whatever you decide to do, we’re behind you.





Thanks for everyone’s feedback. I’ve had a chat with the recruiter and they seem to understand. I insisted on being tested on something other than their actual product or a flat rate charge for the efforts.

The alternative now is to skip the test and I’ve been informed to go through the business app and all it’s mechanics to be familiar with the complete purchasing process and supporting functionality and in the interview I’ll touch on my experiences.

This is actually the same thing without any design concepts - How will one NOT elaborate on why your experience was below standard or give any recommendations? I suppose the hiring manager won’t skip the “but why?” questions?

Should I insist on a different test or just stop this whole process?


I think you have to go with your gut. What are your current thoughts?