I can’t explain how frustrated this makes me. What a rough interview! I’m so sorry you had to go through this. It really, really stinks for you, and to me, that’s the most important part. This is 100% not fair to the interviewees.
It’s also a mind-numbingly terrible way to evaluate talent from an employer’s perspective. You may have read my blog post on why take-home design challenges are useless - and if you haven’t, I’d give it a go once you’re feeling up to it.
My biggest takeaway advice for you from my post would be that you definitely are entitled to at least some feedback on why they didn’t go with you, and what you could have done better with your design challenge.
Dealing with feedback is an important part of being an effective designer. Receiving and synthesizing feedback into improved designs and self-improvement is imperative.
What’s more, anyone who’s spent significant time doing design work for you deserves your honest assessment. It helps them grow, it helps the industry grow, and it helps your team grow.
As designers, we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; to be evaluated for our relevant skills when applying for a job; and to be placed on a level playing field. Take-home design challenges don’t deliver on these basic privileges.
Your potential employer wasted hours of their own time running through an exercise with you (and probably several other candidates) for which you got neither pay nor feedback. The very least that they can do is help you improve.
If you find yourself in a similar situation in the future (and I hope you don’t), ask for feedback on your design and interview if you don’t get the job. At the very least, you’ll learn something from the process.