Strange way to hire interns--I'm suspicious

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by nicrose, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. nicrose macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Hi, I just received an email from an e-mail invitation company that is interested in possibly hiring me. But what they want to do is not an interview, but to have me send them a few samples of template designs to see how I would design them. They say that I will be compensated if they decide to use them.

    This strikes me as a pretty iffy promise. What if they say they hired someone else, but end up using my design samples too? I don't know if I trust these people. It sounds as if they're trying to get a lot of work done for free. I know internships are not always paid, but without a contract, how can I be sure I'll even get credit for my work? I'm not saying they won't ultimately give someone a contract, but it seems slimy to ask people for work during the hiring process. I had an instructor who warned against getting involved with similar types of hiring practices. What do you guys think?

    I haven't actually had a telephone conversation with these people yet, as it is Friday evening. Maybe I'm jumping the gun in thinking they are taking advantage of inexperienced designers, but I thought I'd get you guys' opinion ahead of time. It just is so disappointing when someone claims to like your work, but then there is this huge catch.

    What kinds of questions should I be asking them when I call them on Monday? Some proof that they will not scam me out of my work??

  2. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    Dont do it, they just want free work out of inexperience people and nothing more.
  3. TimJim macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2007
  4. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005
    Say no. Without an interview, money or any promise of work it's my guess they want free work, nothing more.
  5. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
  6. Cindynjgirl79 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2007
    New Jersey
    they just want someone to do crap work for free. u think these would ever talk to u after u sent it back to them? no way!
  7. Nuc macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2003
    Can you send them a pdf with a watermark across it? Just curious.

  8. Vidd macrumors 6502a


    Mar 7, 2006
    That's still getting him to do the design work.
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    If you really still want to try them out, design something up, save the page as an EPS or PDF, then rasterise it in Photoshop at 72ppi at 400-500 pixels wide and send them a low-quality JPG.

    Apart from viewing it onscreen, they're not going to be able to do much with that except recreate it if they're got the time.

    You could send a watermarked, security-locked PDF if you've got Acrobat Pro, which would stop most people from printing it or pulling elements from it. It's not 100% foolproof because if you know how, there are ways around that as well. ;)
  10. Ish macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    I go along with the general consensus here. This is, IMO, a definite no-no. Plenty more fish in the sea.
  11. Foxglove9 macrumors 68000


    Jan 14, 2006
    New York City
    Don't do it. I did something like that for a firm in NYC because I was desperate, and they were so stuck up and treated me like dirt the whole day. In fact the IT guy was the only nice one there. Then not only do they never call me back, I see they used variations of my work on an actual product a 6 months later. Never ever again.
  12. MiniMan. macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2007
  13. emorydunn macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2006
    Austin Texas
    Well, I definantly wound't send them anything, not even low-quality watermarked rasterized jpegs. And just as possible some help to the rest of us, could you tell us what company it was so they don't try and pull anything over anyone else.
  14. BigPrince macrumors 68020

    Dec 27, 2006
    Ask them if they think your are stupid or something.
  15. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    Send them a pic of Goat-se.

    Ok, I'll get my coat now.
  16. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    How did they get your email?
    Did you register it on some work related board, or was it pure spam?
    (this is a good argument for creating one-off addys to put out there, then you know where it came from, and you can kill the address if you get too much junk)

    If the email came out of the blue, have you considered the possibility that their game may not be getting you to do work, but actually to defraud you or commit identity theft?

    "Your design was chosen for publication! Congratulations! Please send your name, address, social security number, birthdate and mother's maiden name so that we can issue you your cheque for $1000...."

    Be extremely way about who you give any details to other than your email address.
  17. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Any company that gets a person to work for absolutely nothing I stay well clear of, if they want slave labour I would not have any dealings with them.

    I had a company ask me to work for a month for free so I send them a picture of the goastsey dude :cool:
  18. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    For balance, I'm just going to put this idea out there:

    We don't hire anyone without asking them to do a test. With a template.

    And although we'll do it during (well, after) the interview process, it's essential that people are able to back up their stated experience before we turn them loose in a busy production environment.

    This is absolutely not working for free. ;)
  19. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005
    Nothing wrong with that. What sent up red flags in my mind wasn't the money as much as the no interview. It says to me that the company has absolutely no personal interest what so ever in any candidate. To them it's all one way street, take as much as they can without giving anything back.
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Yup - the key words are "after the interview" when the candidate has been shortlisted, and also after the company has proven its bone fides to the candidate (the interview is a two-way process, after all).

    And you're not asking the candidate to produce original, saleable work.

    The email approach asking for original, saleable commercial work to be done sight unseen stinks to high heaven.
  21. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    I got to say, so a mock up, and water mark it and send them a jpeg with poor print resolution. If they are legit and just clueless you can show them what you can do. If they are a scam, your work is useless to them. Bets case you get an interview and can decide how much to give away. Worst case, you get some more practice with 1 mock design and can report back about the scammers.

    I would not hire a designer without proof of work. A portfolio review. But that is often done in person with no tangibles being passed out. So, the best way for you is to present a low resolution jpeg of some work you have done, if they are for real and your work decent, they will be in touch.

    As for looking for first jobs- I have been in the non-profit sector for years. Seek out a local non-profit and see if you can help them. You will get a glowing letter for your time, and may have a design on a high visibility site and help them in the process. They may not advertise but I know few non-profits that could not use some help with design or web work.
  22. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004

    Although I agree with you about the red flags, especially from a company that approaches people by email, interviewing unscreened candidates is a time-consuming and expensive process. Perhaps this organisation wants to see what people can do before making promises first.

    I'm really just playing devil's advocate; many people in this thread seemed to be parroting a line without any justification, especially when the problems of recruiting suitable candidates in the industry are well-known, with people claiming all sorts of things about their experience and skills.

    Even portfolios can be misleading; they can tell you nothing about the time-scales and other production considerations involved. I interviewed someone once that had some beautiful pieces, but it turned out they were spending a couple of days on one spread in some circumstances, time-scales that are impractical in our set-up.

    However, we wouldn't take on interns or volunteers in this manner. We probably wouldn't even test them, just let them loose on some mono text ads or something.

    A long time ago, when I was trying to get my foot in the door in a few places, I did some work for free. It opened a couple of those doors and also helped provide stepping stones and contacts for substantial freelance jobs many years later, and for one annual and recurring lucrative job, to this very day. If I had flat-out refused at the time to do these small pieces, those avenues would have dried up.

    So I guess what I'm saying to the OP, is to invest as much time and effort as you feel the opportunity genuinely represents. Research the company, talk to them first, be flexible without taking a hard line, and don't be too precious about your work, especially when it's based on a template; we're all churning out product...

    Although it's important to stand up for your rights, sometimes you have to give a little to get a little.
  23. ATD macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2005
    I agree. I do some free work even after many years of experience. For example a few years back I had the desire to branch into motion graphics. When I started I had very little to nothing to show, so along the way I did some free work to show my abilities. The work wasn't started blindly, I was being paid to full price to create something for print and I added free examples of what could be done in motion. Even if they didn't go for it I ended with elements I could form into a reel. It's slowly starting to pay off but it took years of unpaid hours to get there. As I write this I'm working on a TV spot done in Maya, I would have never gotten this job if I was not willing to give a lot along the road to get there.

    My advice to the OP is to follow your gut, if it feels like a solid opportunity that you will have to give a little to get, then do it. If it feels one sided (the way I read your post) then pass it up.

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