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  1. #1
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    Smile Interview Questions

    Hi all,

    Any of you ever go to an interview of employers ask you to send them some examples of your work? And once you have told them your ideas at the interview or send them your website designs or programming work, that you never here back from them again.

    I am a web designer/developer and I have been getting interviews but during the interview process, I feel as if they are trying to get free ideas and information from me. They are actually not really hiring at all, they just need help and getting free ideas from me. Especially at this time when the economy is going down the toilet. Businesses of all shapes and sizes looking for a free ride. What ever they can get for free.

    Here are some of the questions you might be asked during an interview that they are trying to get free ideas from you:

    1. Can you email me some of your best examples of your work?
    2. Can you send me your source code examples?
    3. If you were to get hire the next day, what are the 3 most important things you will work on with our website?
    4. What some of the flaws you see in our current website?
    5. What are some ways you can improve our website?
    6. What are some of the most important features of creating a website?
    7. How do you do cross browser testing?
    8. If you were going to create a flash banner advertising on our home page, what would be your ideas?


    I think you guys are getting the point of what I am trying to tell you. They may have 50 questions to ask you but they have a tactic, they will get more people to interview you so they can split the 50 questions so it does not look so obvious. Maybe they will tell you that you will meet with 6 people during the interview process. Each person that interview you will ask only 8 questions. After the interview is done, the 6 people will all get together and put all the free ideas they got from you. If they are curteous people, they might send you a nice email by saying "Thank you sir for coming in but we have decided to go with another peerson". They will make up some BS to get rid of you.

    You just have to make up some BS ideas and give it to them during your interview process. You can give them some crappy ideas to their current website or whatever their products are. Give them bad ideas and hoping they will take the bait. Later on, their businesses are going down to the toilet and they realized that they are the ones who have been tricked.

    Most of the crappy ideas I have given to those who have interviewed actually using my ideas. These businesses are desparate and they will do whatever ideas your give them.

  • #2
    Master Coder mlseim's Avatar
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    I would answer 1 and 5 ... and leave the rest of them blank.

    An interesting post though ... I would have never thought that
    happens in the web design business. But I've never pursued a
    career with it either.

  • #3
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    mlseim,

    Thanks for your advice. This stuff happens all the time in my field but it is happening A LOT now since the economy is weak. Since employers are cutting out jobs left and right, they always find a way to get help without spending a penny.

    Maybe the best ideas is to tell the employers to hire me first then I will give you great advice and ideas. I could also have them sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) during the interview with employers. That way, I am protected if they ever use my ideas. I could also bring in a hidden camera and a microphone to have evidence to show to the court that they are getting a free ride.

  • #4
    Regular Coder BoldUlysses's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by creativemind View Post
    I could also bring in a hidden camera and a microphone to have evidence to show to the court that they are getting a free ride.
    I wouldn't do this.

    As with any creative field, the best way is just to let your portfolio and resume do the talking. If they're worth anything (and those are the only kinds of companies you want to be working for anyway), they should be able to gauge your skill level, ability and so on from your body of work.

    Assuming I've put together a good portfolio and comprehensive resume and done my best to make a good impression personally--covered my bases, in other words--I would have no reservations about telling a potential employer that I'm uncomfortable with doing what I consider work for them without a commitment on their end to pay me for it.

    Without being overly paranoid (I've been asked a couple of times during interviews to solve quick, off-the-cuff problems germane to the position), a company that is unscrupulous enough to milk you for ideas isn't a company you want to be working for. Which you know already.

    Item #1 on this list is just as important for interviewees as it is for freelancers.
    matt | design | blog

  • #5
    Senior Coder Spudhead's Avatar
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    If you don't feel comfortable sharing your ideas with an interviewer, say so and explain why: If they're genuine they'll understand: an appreciation of your own value to a business, and an understanding of the ways in which this industry can, unfortunately, sometimes operate, is a desirable trait in any applicant. If they're simply fishing for ideas, you get to stop wasting each others time that little bit sooner.

  • #6
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    Question 1 is a difficult one as it is hard to keep track of ur past projects' current ranking which might not be a good as it was when you were doing optimization

    Question 2 sounds a bit unrealistic,rest are fine.
    Last edited by website_seo; 10-16-2008 at 08:26 AM. Reason: add more
    SEO Promotion Company providing SEO Services to UK, US, Canada and Australia.
    Read updated information on SEO at SEO Blog

  • #7
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    Hi Creative Mind,

    You've gotten some good feedback so far, but I just had to comment after reading this. I applaud you for sharing with us your experience. I had the same thing happen to me on several occasions when I was doing training and organizational development. Sounds like this might have been an employer who either is planning on having someone in-house do the work and they haven't a clue, or it's a new position, or they are unethical.

    When you interview with an employer, you only have to provide strong examples of prior work. Our interviewers would look at prior behavior/work as a variable for future expectations. Therefore, the following highlighted questions would be the only ones I:

    1. Can you email me some of your best examples of your work? If you already have a portfolio of work that can be shared, that's good enough. However, don't leave it with an employer; you only share it as to visually demonstrate your work? . Don't mail it either.

    2. Can you send me your source code examples? Same as #1. Again, put some examples of basic source code in your portfolio.

    3. If you were to get hired the next day, what are the three most important things you will work on with our website? I wouldn't answer this question. First, you may not know the objective of the organization, and if you provide an answer and it is something that they are already working on - if your idea is better. You just gave them a freebie. Try this response, " Once I understand the purpose and objectives of what you want your website to do (i.e. improve customer usability, increase sales through-put, seo, etc) then I would do an evaluation (don't say this - I'm thinking of things like comparison of competitors, where traffic is coming from, etc.) and I could make recommendations to get the desired results."

    4. What some of the flaws you see in our current website? Same as question 3.

    5. What are some ways you can improve our website? Same as question 3.

    6. What are some of the most important features of creating a website? Direct them to either some readily available sites, or resources. Alternatively, a general answer like, “navigation, usability, and content. (not sure if that is the correct answer - clearly I'm not a design person, but a user) The employer may only be testing your basic knowledge or fishing.

    7. How do you do cross browser testing? (don't know what this is) sounds real specific. It may be a "depends" response.

    8. If you were going to create a flash banner advertising on our home page, what would be your ideas? I can even tell that this is a direct question to harvest some free knowledge. However, you can still answer this like, " I would recommend _____ and why. Again, if you see something that is so basic, give them an answer. However, add on, " I good designer such as myself (if you're good, don't be too modest) would do an analysis of the entire design strategy, to ensure that everything flows together, and the final work produces the necessary results." "Where mistakes are made, is through a band-aid approach."

    Creativemind, I agree with you. Just be savvy about your job search. Companies like this, won't value you as an employee if you were to work for them anyway. However, thank goodness all companies aren't like this. I hope this information is useful.
    Last edited by metro123; 01-16-2009 at 06:45 AM. Reason: couldn't read yellow text

  • #8
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    On #2:
    Can you send me your source code examples?
    My standard reply to this is something similar to the following...

    I'm sorry, many of my clients have me working under Non-Disclosure agreements, and as such, I cannot release their code without their permission. If you see a site in my portfolio that you'd like to see sample code from, please let me know and I will ask the client if I have permission to show some of the non-sensitive pieces of code
    .

    This does 2 things - first, I get to find out how honest the client is. After all, if they come back with a "I need to see samples of your work" without an understanding of the NDA, then they probably have shady ethics to begin with.

    Second, I establish myself as a legitimate coder with a concern about client rights.

    People that don't respect this are usually people I don't want to deal with anyway.

    Yes, I've done this before and yes, I've had people come back both ways on it.

  • #9
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    And the option is............?

    I am new to this forum but I had to comment on this post because frankly it sounds more delusional or grandiose than probable from a business operator’s perspective. So with that said, how do you propose a prospective employer, who is going to spend a large amount recruiting you, interviewing you, doing background checks, training and not to mention paying you with salary, benefits, taxes etc., get some reasonable assurance that you actually know what you're talking about? Your view is like saying a professor is giving you an exam because he needs information about the course he doesn’t already know.

    I can't believe you actually think it is more economical for a company to have 8 employees sit down and interview with 5, 10, or 25 programmers to get ideas than it is to outsource the job. What kind of company is that possible – a produce stand? Think about it – if each of those employee’s is making $100/hr. and they’re each going to meet with 10 prospective employees, the “interview” cost along is $8K. Let’s don’t even mention the costs associated with the other components of hiring I mentioned above.

    If I had an IT group that had to get information this way they would not be with me long. On the other hand, if I'm sitting across the desk from you and you blow me away with solid information - exactly why wouldn't I want to hire you permanently? Oh, that’s right; because my time is so worthless I would rather spend it getting IT ideas for “free” rather than doing the 50 other things on my to-do list that actually make me money.

    As a business professional with over 30 years experience, one commonality I have noticed over the years is that those people who are most concerned about being screwed are the ones to look out for because what they are doing is projecting how THEY think, how THEY approach things, how THEY operate.

    One final kind of obvious thought..................Keep in mind - it just might be "the ****ty ideas" as you put it that you're giving them which is keeping you from getting the job and not the fact they want to steal all your wonderful ideas.

  • #10
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    BusPro,

    I think there's a significant difference between contract work and permanent work in the hiring process. If you're interviewing for a permanent 9-5 type job, I agree with what you said, however, if you're bidding on a project with a client, it is quite common for people to "fish" for ideas.

  • #11
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    What I say is even if there is no work around then make work for yourself! It can be done, has been done and will be done. I just just get out there and dip you hand in as many cookie pots as you can. One of them will bear fruit in the end.

    The reason I am now commenting on this old thread is because things have changed out there in the job market. Things are so hard these days that people need a new direction.

    Good luck with the job hunting.
    Last edited by WA; 01-19-2012 at 03:44 PM.

  • #12
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    If you are looking for a job, you can't afford to be paranoid. If you are paranoid, an employer WILL pick up on that. Employers need men and women who are confident in their work, their ethic, and their knowledge. If you lack an hint of confidence, they will not be interested in you. Companies cannot afford someone who second guesses themselves.

    If your ideas are good, then let them have them. If they are amazing, they will keep you. But don't have an ego to think your ideas are ground breaking. If they are ground breaking, why haven't you done it yourself? Or brought it to a bank to get a startup loan approved?

    Something a lot of programmers have is an ego that needs to be a tad deflated... but trust me, that is more of a shot in your foot than a booster. Have humility, but pride in your work and skills.
    Web Design Omaha Ne
    Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.
    - Henry Ward Beecher


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