Please Stop Making People Do Unpaid Labo ...

Please Stop Making People Do Unpaid Labor for Job Interviews

Mar 25, 2022

“I regret to inform you that we have decided to move on with other candidates. Thank you for your interest in our organization” 

I heard this over, over, and over for six months after finishing my Master’s program. I had to send over 200 applications, and I think I landed about 10 interviews. But, that’s a whole separate issue. 

Want to know my main problem with the job interviewing process? Unpaid work. I’m not even referring to the multiple interviews companies are now requiring. (I think my record was like, 5). I’m talking about the…

“We would like you to complete this project so we can get a feel for your work.” 

Maybe, I’m just young and dumb, but I had to do at least three of these before I finally caught on and decided that I was no longer willing to put in 10 hours of work, unpaid, and still wind up without a job. 

Not only are places asking for unpaid labor, but it’s complicated unpaid labor. It was creating a brand new way of data visualization (for data you’ve never seen in a company you’ve never even talked to), developing a new marketing strategy, or something along those lines. 

What exactly is the point of these? 

Are you trying to see just how much you can ask me to work without having to pay me? Are you going to steal these after not hiring me? (truly, I’ve been checking to see if some of my work ever ends up on these organizations' websites) Are you looking for someone that requires absolutely zero training?

Now, that I’ve had time to look back, I’m pretty annoyed I ever did these. I understand that you need to get a gauge of people, but why not pay them at least something for their work?

Applying to jobs is tiring enough already. There’s the resume, cover letter, unnecessary form to fill out despite it being all of the stuff that’s on your resume. I must have spent ten hours a day applying to jobs. All the while there was still no food in my house, no bills paid, nothing to show of it.

Add on the unpaid labor, and I was working more for free applying for jobs than I do now that I’m getting paid. 

Before long, if you asked me to do unpaid work, I just pulled my application. I finally figured out my worth and more importantly the value of my time. 

Think about how many people you may be missing out on who think like this. 

“No one wants to work anymore”

No. No one wants to work for free. No one wants to work for organizations that don’t respect them. When I got asked for unpaid labor my automatic response was, they don’t respect my time. 

Even just 20 dollars, and I would have been less insulted. I’ve done interview projects that paid me, and guess what? I put more effort into those. Even if I didn’t get the job, hey, at least now I can pay a bill. At least they respect that they’re asking me to work. 

Work culture is changing and companies aren’t keeping up. There’s no need for 20 interviews for one job. There’s no need for unpaid labor. There’s just no need. 

People now are looking for more than just a paycheck from the companies they work for, they’re looking for respect. Respect for their time, their lives, and their work. It’s really not too difficult to understand. Please stop asking people to do unpaid labor for your organization. It’s insulting. 

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