Most people who have been on the hunt for a job are familiar with the part of the interview process where the hiring manager will ask you to complete an assignment that you’d most likely have to do if you’re hired. Unfortunately, not all potential employers offer compensation for the task.
This exact scenario happened to a job seeker named Jonathan Hurwitz, and in a TikTok video, he shared a perfect and respectful response to this request from companies during the interview process.
He shared how to respond to a company asking for free work during the job application process.
Hurwitz explained that he’s been applying and interviewing for over a year, and he’s noticed that a common request that companies ask of him before deciding if they want to hire him full-time is completing some sort of writing assignment or sample work as part of the process.
“I’ve just done so much free work over the last year,” Hurwitz said. He recalled one instance when a company took his work and passed it off as their own — essentially stealing his free labor.
However, after applying for a recent job and hearing back with the same request to complete an assignment, he was pushed over the edge and shared the email response he sent back. “They basically sent me a writing assignment. There was a lengthy Word document attached.”
Hurwitz claimed that after a year of writing free assignments for companies, he finally gained enough confidence to respectfully decline the request.
“Thank you for the opportunity to leap into the next chapter! I know it’s common to be asked to do writing assignments during an interview process, but I’m not comfortable completing the assignment without compensation,” Hurwitz wrote in his email response, sharing a screenshot of it with viewers.
He maintained that all of the materials he submitted during his application should be enough.
Hurwitz informed the company that his application, resumé, writing samples, and initial video interview should speak to his ability and skills as a writer. He continued, saying that if the company wasn’t willing to compensate him for the assignment, then the job wasn’t for him.
“Unfortunately, I’m going to have to decline the opportunity to continue through the process,” he said.
Hurwitz admitted that after sending the email response, he felt a bit weird because he had been conditioned for some time to accept free work during an interview process and not make a fuss about it.
He encouraged others to stop allowing companies to take advantage of them for the sake of hoping they get hired.
“If we don’t start pushing back and sending emails like this, the free work is sadly going to continue.”
Take-home assignments are becoming a common part of the job interview process. It’s a way for employers to see if your skills and talents are up to par before moving forward with hiring you and bringing you on board.
According to a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this was initially blamed on the tightening job market. The unemployment rate was 3.9% during the middle of the year, after holding at 4.1% for the prior six months.
Companies should realize that creating an explicit agreement where job candidates can be compensated for any trial project or assignment will not only encourage more people to apply but also prove that everyone deserves respect for their talents and any creative endeavors that they choose to share.
Unpaid labor should have no place in any kind of work environment, and everyone deserves to be paid for the hours and effort they put into something.
Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.