When job interview hurdles turn into exploitation

Fortune

On a recent telephone job interview, Maria Sciarrino did well enough that the hiring manager asked her to come for an in-person interview. Oh, and could she just tackle one task at home, to give them a sense of her work?

It wasn’t the first time Sciarrino, a Philadelphia-based user experience researcher and designer, received homework in her job hunt. More often than not, at some point in the hiring process she’s been given a task—such as designing an elevator interface for a 1,000-floor building—that can take two, four, eight or even more hours to complete. In the case in question, after she turned in her solution, the company said she didn’t need to come for a face-to-face interview. She hadn’t followed their internal design methodologies.

“I felt very baited and switched,” Sciarrino recalls. “When they gave me the task, nothing was explained about their design methodologies. I was really…

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