When a Company Wants You to Work Unpaid for One Week Before a Job Offer, is That Legit?

Dear Office Mom,
What should I do when offered a weird business interview where they have asked me to work free for a week and then make a presentation about a special business problem they want solved before they consider me?
— Confused
Image Credit:  Pexels

Image Credit: Pexels

Dear Confused,

I think you need to assess the situation. Have you been interviewed and considered a finalist? If not, that’s strange and I would opt out. If so, do you feel this is a well known approach in the industry? Do you trust that the company is legit and profitable? Or, does your gut say otherwise? How many candidates are involved in this identical ordeal (meaning what are the odds you’ll get the job)? How do you feel about your ability to offer a viable solution and do a presentation? Can you afford to work for free? Is the opportunity worth it? Do the internal recruiter and hiring manager reflect the characteristics indicative of an environment and team where you want to work?

I can understand a company that conducts a series of interviews and identifies you and another candidate as finalists. I can understand a company that asks you to invest a few hours to contemplate a business scenario (as part of homework) and make a presentation. I can’t understand throwing in a week of free wages. It seems extreme to me and a cost effective way for them to get free labor and have bright people solve their business problems.

After you do your due diligence, I say only move forward if you feel confident, and there is some tangible benefit (other than the possibility of getting hired) for you to give your time and talent away.

Let me know how this plays out. I’m intrigued. I hope this helps. Good luck!



Originally published on Quora