Competitor Interview Project Request

Is anyone in agreement over my initial reaction that this is an unacceptable request?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

I would like to hear your opinions on this.

I have 5 years experience in my field of Design and recently went through a process of 3 interviews with a competitor, it went very well and they had said they would make an offer (Saying that I was the main candidate, etc.). Then instead of an offer I have been asked to design an project because they want to “see my design style”. Keep in mind they’ve seen my portfolio which is very complete.

  1. The main thing I question is the legality of this request, I don’t think I can do any work for them since I would essentially be delivering designs, breaking non-compete and confidentiality.
  2. I’m uneasy about being asked to do work for no pay to get a job, I’ve done it before but that was on the basis that I had little experience.
  3. The request is not a small one, it is probably a solid week of work at least compared to what I work on currently.

nope, don’t do it. asking for spec work isn’t very typical for a job interview, and with the added factor of them being a competitor it doesn’t seem right.

i’d explain as such to them on the ethical issue and would be surprised if they pushed it further. Try to flip the situation around to get them to understand- that is, if you were working for them and was off someplace else doing work for their competitor)


If you have a non-compete agreement how are you going to be able to work for the new guys? Usually those types of agreements extend beyond your current employment period. You’d better read the fine print if you signed a non-compete agreement.

Look at what’s happening at Apple these days…

The project would be geared toward the products they sell?
I have seen and been asked to do a quick project of something off-topic to evaluate my thought process. If its something they wont drop, you could always suggest them to give you a brief on something off topic?

The request is not only for a project that is relevant to their business, but its a full collection that could be made once its designed! It should certainly be off-topic like you say if I was to do something.

I definitely need to review my non-compete. Usually people take a few paid months off between jobs or one company will buy out the contract. What do you mean by what is happening to Apple?

I’m glad to see that I wasn’t far off in my original reaction. Thanks for the support.

in that case, i definitely would not do that.

Apple / IBM non-compete ugliness:

Just say no.

Just say no.

I think this is a bad idea on several levels. It your current employer finds out (and most companies have people that know other employees at competitors, word could get out entirely accidentally), doing this project will violate your agreement and give your current employer grounds to terminate you, in which case, you don’t have an offer yet, and you could find yourself screwed.

If your confident your portfolio speaks for you, I’d just let them know that I didn’t feel comfortable doing the project, but you look forward to possibility of doing work like this once you are an employee.

Also, make sure their HR people know about your non-compete so their lawyers can review it…

The good news is that I just checked my contract and I can’t see any Non-Compete clauses in it that go beyond the employment period. In the past I signed a Non-Compete for other jobs but it was always a separate document.

Overall I’m taking the general stance of the discussion that I cannot do this for many reasons and my portfolio should really be enough to gauge my style or expertise.

Thank you all. :smiley:

Good luck, let us know how it works out!