Designer's Exploitation


I’ve been there … when I wanted to apply at one of the best UX companies of the Netherlands I’ve spent 2 days of each 10+ hours to create my portfolio website (this is for myself of course), they asked me to write a case study to show my skill, did that … another 2 days of each 10+ hours. After that, they were impressed, cool … now they had to check if I was a culture fit. Another 3 days working at their place internal working on a real project for them.

Guess what they said: We need somebody with some more experience … which they could have known up front since I told them and they had seen my cv, portfolio website and application letter.

Never again I will do an assignment since I now have my portfolio website. Just have a good and solid portfolio website which shows how you think and come to solutions. But also give them an alternative if you don’t want to do the assignment. For example that you’re more open to doing a brainstorm for an hour or so (which also shows your process, but also how you work together with others). There is also value in there for you, you can see how the company works and how they think. Now you also can decide if the company is right for you.



It flaps me off. This one individual semi famous youtuber, complaining about hiring consultants, in his how to make money advises, use a chop shop (starts with an F) as his consultants cost 10x as much. I was so annoyed that he is consulting on how to make money but doesnt appreciate the work behind SDLC that he would recommend all business people use chop shops. The other thing is he clearly either hired cowboy consultants or he didnt hire somebody like myself that can do everything to manage the project and do the roles that need filling. Either way it was 100% insulting to the IT industry as a whole.



If UX and Ui design was taken from the Business Analysis section of the SDLC as specialist roles, how much more specialist can you get? I presume you live in the States, because I cant imagine a city under 8mill + providing much work for somebody who dissects a specialist role into something even more specialised :-). Cant wait to find out. Good luck either way.



That is RANK and very unprofessional The Laws in Aus basically if you are contracting or full time, once they say yes, you are hired. But full time roles can have a trial period, usually 3 months. Which works both ways, well once for me it turned out horrible, they wanted me to stay, but I had a young lady who had one BA role prior and had just done CPAP cert, she thought she new it all and tried to boss me around, basically tried to bully me, so I told my boss 4 times, 10 weeks in, so we want you to stay on and Im like, No sorry no way, told them why which they new about and did nothing. So they extended me to contract for 6 weeks while they found a replacement which I offered to them out of professionalism, I had the flu for 3 days so instead of being the douche who comes into work and makes everyone else sick, I stayed home and got a Med Cert from the Dr, well 3 weeks pass and the find me, what do they do, they let me going stating due to my health. ROFL, completely illegal. I was close to taking them to civil court, but for the $3k I couldnt be bothered with the stress as I was off to travel Europe in a couple weeks.

Here anything you create is not owned by yourself like it seems to be in Poland based on what Mag said, anything created on site is the companies intellectual property and cannot be taken offsite with expressed permission, sometimes they will make you blank out certain details if being used for applying for other jobs etc. Especially Privacy Act info.

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Theoretically, they could. But sometimes what looks good on paper does not look that good in real life. No offense, of course, but I hope you get my point. I mean, still shitty to be exploited like that (and yes, the ‘goog’ companies very often do that) but I can empathize with the decision :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways, I engaged in a discussion on one of the local groups on facebook, a discussion with an owner of a UX agency (the owner, being a UXer himself) and he told me that very often asks recruitees to do assignments, much larger than 5 hours, does not pay them, does not see the reason to pay them, and who made it very clear that he thinks low of people who even ask him about remuneration for those assignments. (“This is a tender” - he said).
So, I made him know very clearly how I think about people/employers who do not have respect for others’ work.



I won’t say I’m ‘glad’ to see it, but there’s a comfort in seeing others going through the same trials.

When I first moved to Shanghai, I was interviewing all over the spectrum from tiny agencies up to Autodesk and Accenture. One small French-owned agency sent me a test project that looked exhaustive. The project request form was also dated only a week earlier. I had 3 other interviews that week, so I just didn’t bother because of the amount of work and that it was possibly free consulting on an active project. Months later, a recruiter forwarded me the same test project, I was more desperate, and at least it wasn’t suspiciously active, anymore. I did up a draft and scored and in-person interview. They complimented my draft as being appropriate to the request, but it wasn’t the style they were selling clients. Okay? They continued to harp on that. I asked why they didn’t tell me the non-intuitive style they wanted. No real answer. Then, as I hadn’t proven my adequacy, they wanted to test my development skills (just basic html/css) to see if I could be useful there. That project took me about 18 hours, including teaching myself bootstrap because it had to be responsive. Then, they said it was too simple. I told them I didn’t design something I couldn’t code… I was offered another job that night, and accepted. I was baffled that the first agency kept bugging the recruiter to get me to talk to them again as they seemingly enjoyed telling me how inadequate I was. For over a year later, I saw the same job posting being re-listed. Seems +20 hours of test work wasn’t flying with ‘adequate’ candidates.

At another interview, they kept calling in other product managers to have me spot-review their apps and websites for almost 3 hours. They took notes on my suggestions. I thought for sure that was a good sign. After I “didn’t have enough experience”, I realized they were just getting free consultations on their products.

After those two experiences, I’m incredibly reluctant to do test work. I’ll happily go in to their office for a day, as that’s quite a bit better to be able to associate with them in person. I’ve also noticed that’s more of a small business maneuver. Larger, professional companies have never asked.



Ah I see, in our country, it’s normal to have at least a trial period of 1 month (by law).

I do get your point of course, maybe I should downgrade my cv, LinkedIn etc. (just kidding).

Good job!

Exactly! Also, you can have a taste of how the office and vibe is. So you can also choose if you would like to work there.



It really depends if its a contract or a permanent job here. To be honest they can fire you anyway here, so trial periods are rare as they are pointless.



Hello everyone! I’ve been reading the thread and I relate to all of you who went through the rough interview process. I’ve been on both sides, when I was just starting as a designer, I had to jump all the hoops to get a job. Few years later, when I’ve become more senior and had to hire my own team, I remembered how horrible it was to labour for hours for free and not get the job. So when it was my turn to interview and hire people, I insisted that we pay candidates if we are going to ask for a design test.

Now, I’m back to square one because I just moved to a new country, and I’m looking for a job in UX. I feel it’s way tougher for me now, because I’m older and eventhough I have lots of experience and lots of trainings and case studies, I had never formally worked as a “UX Designer”. And everyone is looking for either a young fresh graduate or an experienced UX Designer. I don’t mind a junior position, but I guess they think I’m over-qualified. I was planning on writing to all the start-ups and companies and design agencies I could find and offer my services for free just to get some experience and to learn more about the field. Is this the right thing to do? Anyone here in the same boat?



You’re on the right track, but I’d recommend looking for a non-profit or charity you could volunteer for.

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Thanks Piper, I’ll do that. Hope it works. (-:

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Considering how many companies don’t even follow up after you have had an interview these days, I would simply say that I’m too busy with paid work to do work for free, even if it isn’t true.

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