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The ‘working’ job interviews that go too far

By | Megan Carnegie |

To prove jobseekers’ worth, some employers are asking candidates to work before they’re even hired – sometimes, on tasks that take hours, even days.

Tahlia was tentatively hopeful when she saw the ad for a senior role at a major trend-forecasting company. Her freelance design career had been curtailed by post-Brexit trading restrictions, so she was working in a minimum-wage job, while seeking avenues more aligned with her skillset.

“I thought it was worthwhile giving it a go, because the salary was £55,000 ($67,600) a year, and similar to my earnings before,” says Tahlia. “They told me I would have five interviews, and if I made it through the first three, I would be required to do a lengthy research project.” Tahlia reached the task stage, and took a week off work to focus on it wholeheartedly. 

As requested, she says she submitted a 25-page document with extensive annotations and full graphic-design elements. The next step was a face-to-face interview with two senior managers at the company, although Tahlia felt uneasy when she arrived to find only one was available. “I answered lots of searching questions about my research methods and work,” she says. “When I asked about the role, it was very vague – but it was clear I was down to three candidates, and would hear the final verdict in a week.”

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