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Are Unpaid Take-Home Interview Assignments Ethical? We Asked 2 Experts. | InHerSight

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the ethics of unpaid take-home assignments as part of the job interview process, and provides guidance for job seekers on how to handle such requests.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Are unpaid take-home interview assignments ethical?

1. Questions related to the content of the section?

  • The article presents a nuanced view on the ethics of unpaid take-home assignments:
    • They can be valuable if they demonstrate skills needed for the role, but become unethical if the time commitment is excessive or if the work is used for the company's benefit without compensation.
    • A small assignment taking a few hours is reasonable, but a full week-long project is not.
    • Employers should use sample data sets unrelated to the company's work to ensure fairness.
    • There is a simple "gut check" - if the assignment takes longer than an in-person interview, it may be exploitative.

2. How do unpaid assignments disproportionately impact marginalized communities?

  • Unpaid assignments can discriminate against marginalized candidates who lack access to necessary resources (computers, internet, software) or face competing responsibilities (family obligations, part-time jobs, caregiving duties).
  • This can reinforce the exclusion of marginalized voices and perspectives, limiting diversity and innovation.

3. How should job seekers handle unpaid assignment requests?

  • Assess the potential benefits and relevance to your career goals.
  • Ask detailed questions about the company's intentions and how the work will be used.
  • You can request compensation if the assignment is far outside the scope of the interview process.
  • Politely decline if the assignment feels exploitative, but provide an alternative solution to demonstrate your skills.
  • Provide feedback to the recruiter, as it is valuable for improving the process.

[02] What are alternatives to take-home assignments?

1. Questions related to the content of the section?

  • Alternatives to take-home assignments include:
    • Asking for examples of the candidate's previous work that they have been compensated for.
    • Conducting skills-based exercises during the interview, such as live coding or platform demonstrations.
    • Asking technical questions that get the candidate to explain their approach, without requiring them to complete the work.
  • The key is to create an environment where the candidate can demonstrate their skills and abilities in a live, interactive setting, rather than leaving them to complete work on their own time.
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