'testing' for a position?
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Thread: 'testing' for a position?

  1. #1
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    'testing' for a position?

    At the moment I am looking at a very odd email. I feel as if it is one of those "You won a million dollars!" letters you get in the mail... Apparently a scout discovered my work and is offering me a full-time/freelance position with his marketing company (as an illustrator). The email is very professional, his website looks even more so...but he mentions how I would be required to test for this position by doing sample work.

    I've never had to do a small project to get a job before, so I'm curious how typical this is. Is it normal to have to do a small sample job just to qualify for a position? This is my first time seeing such a thing.

    My work: [link]
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    Well, it does sound a bit unusual, but not necessarily a scam. Unpaid testing for small, freelance gigs is frowned upon... but it's actually pretty standard for fulltime, long-term positions.

    If you really like the job, I'd suggest getting something in writing if possible, going ahead with the test, and protecting any IP material you come up with in the process. Worst thing that happens is you waste a couple hours of your time... not the end of the world and, well... you win some, you lose some. On the other hand, it may turn out to be well worth it and land you a steady, long-term job.

    Or, perhaps you can even respond with something like: "I'm sure you'll understand, but I'm afraid I can't do unpaid tests. If you'd like to negotiate a fair rate for a paid test, I'd very much look forward to working with you"

    Good luck either way and let us know how it turns out

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    If they solicted you, then why would they need a test?

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    @Mirana. Thats what I was thinking originally.

    @ArmoredGorilla. Well I suppose it is worth a shot. Since the company's location is on the opposite coast from me, i doubt i will be able to be considered full-time unless they are OK with me being remote. I'll proceed with caution, but remain hopeful.

    Thanks fellas.

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    (We've made an alteration to our original posting.)

    Our original posting was:
    If they contacted you, you shouldn't have to do a test for them.


    Our new posting is:
    Do the test, and get the job. Or not get the job. But do let us know how it goes, so we all can benefit from your experience.

    Thanks!

    Last edited by One Girl's Dream; April 7th, 2008 at 05:54 PM.
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    If your portfolio is strong enough to contact you then they should already have a good idea of your skill level, but they may need to be reassured that you can tailor your work to their needs. If everything seemed otherwise legit I'd offer to do the sample with the understanding that participating was NOT in any ways giving them any rights to use the image unless I was paid after it was approved. Just because you do a sample doesn't mean you are going to give them the ability to use it free of charge. If they don't agree with that I'd run the other way.

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    Blue I'd be very careful here I don't know any legit companies who ask to test you after seeing and liking your portfoilo. If they came to you after seeing your work and liked it enough to contact you then why would they need a test image.

    I mean from my experience you either have what the client wants or you don't.

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    Do the test, get the job..

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    This is a case where we are lightly threading the fine line between enthousiasm and paranoia. On the one hand, we want to make money doing art. On the other we don't want to be screwed by non-scrupulous individuals.

    You have to understand why art tests were instigated in the first place: to mitigate the risk involved in hiring an artist.

    So they are only justified when an employer actually occurs a risk. For exemple, MB give their potential employees art test. I guess it's quite safe to assume that MB invests in the training and well being of their staff so there is a risk. There also is a risk when a company hires a freelancer under retainer, when they give large amounts of money upfront on a contract and other similar situations.

    Other situations where I could see a risk is when a portfolio is "too good to be true" the person shows sequentials, animations, illos of enviros, characters, creatures, still lives. Can they really do that or was there any cheating? I know it can be insulting to think they tink you cheat, but the good news is, they think your stuff is too awesome to come from all the same person.

    In that particular situation you are the only jusdge, but it's possible to ask politely for the rationals behind the test.

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    Unless you had a solid reputation(i.e. tutorials I could find in FX Magazine) or a job history I could follow, a broad range of styles and skillsets would actually set off warning bells for me. (Did this person rip someone else's work?)

    Asking for a sample on something specific would be fine, just plaster your watermark all over the thing so it can't be used that way.

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    Artist test

    Hi Blue,

    Just wanted to throw in my two-cents to the bit. a) I've hired artists in the past for a variety of projects. b) I've done the 'amateur' green-horn mistake of trusting a portfolio.

    And before everyone boos me out, let me explain my position.

    7 years ago, I was doing an internet marketing campaign for a product. I needed an illustrator and found one. The portfolio was absolutely amazing. My boss asked me 'no artist test'? I said to him 'Why the F#$! would you need one! I mean look at it for Christ SAKE!' He nodded and let me have my way. After signing and paying him a portion of the fee I had trouble contacting him. Finally, 3 days before the launch of the campaign I received the pieces. All I have to say is that it looked nothing, and I can't stress this enough, nothing like anything in his portfolio.. Did I get fired? Nope, my boss had a feeling that this was going to happen and secretly interviewed (and hired someone else as a backup thereby doubling the budget). Did I resign? Nope, he wouldn't let me but I did owe up to my arrogance. Henceforth, to this day, artist test all the way.

    Flip-side of the coin.
    If said 'head hunter' asks you to do a 'series' of panels / pieces then yeah, it's a scam. If it's one piece (depending on how much work needs to be done) it should be safe. Also, do a check on conceptart.org as well as other sites and see if you can find a thread if it worries you. The latest rumored scam/urban legend is using multiple artists to do a comic pro-bono via artist's test. (How is this possible? I have no clue)

    Also, do a reference check, does the website list clients and if so, can you hunt them down.

    There is no shortage of 'pluses' or 'minuses' we can use here. But at the end of the day, nothing ventured is nothing gained. But yes, please be careful. And if you want, keep us in the loop. After all, it never hurts to have a second opinion.

    SDG

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    When I posted looking for an artist to collaborate with on a comic book proposal I made it clear I'd need a test page. One test page, based upon a scripted page of mine. People need to be up front and clear about it, is all.

    Anyone who tested was able to use their test page on their websites, etc, as long as I was credited as the writer. Many tried to test, but found, oops, they hated doing sequential art. It's not easy to do. takes serious practice and a love for that medium.

    But as to the topic here, just be careful. If the test is too loony big and hard, then maybe it is best to not get involved.

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    Its funny I should read this, I was just about to make a thread with a similar topic.

    I have list of roleplaying game publishers. I was going through it to see if any of them were looking for illustrators.

    For the first time a came across a skill test. I honestly didnt know what to think about it, it all felt kind of condescending.

    Check out the webb page here and be sure to read the pdf its very interresting.

    http://gatewar.com/develop/submit.html

    If I really wanted to work with these people I probably would do the assignments but since I have never even heard of the company or the game (and the webbsite didn´t look all to fancy) I´m not really feeling up for it especially not since I have to send pictures across the atlantic ocean.

    I am curious what you think about the matter.

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    I didn't read the pdf, but I would absolutely steer clear of any company that said "All work is done on spec." That says to me that even if you get a job you will not be getting paid. The physical artwork being needed is a crock too, IMO.

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    I didnt know what on spec meant but I looked it up and now the deal seem even worse.

    I get the impression that the company isnt bothering with proffesional illustrators but instead rely on more or less talented fans to just want be part of the game.

    I can certainly understand that a small company cant pay much, what annoys me is the attitude that its such a privilege to work for them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frida Bergholtz View Post
    I can certainly understand that a small company cant pay much, what annoys me is the attitude that its such a privilege to work for them.
    Heheh, that's about every "client" or "company" in the Non-paying jobs forum and a few in the "under $500" section.

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    I think it means that the art test is done on spec, not all subsequent work. It seems however a little dated to refuse work over the internet when pro artists send scans to their editors all the time.

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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirana View Post
    Heheh, that's about every "client" or "company" in the Non-paying jobs forum and a few in the "under $500" section.

    Please don't get me started here. I'm so annoyed with employers for want top professional work done quickly for dirt cheap. Makes me wonder if some of these employers are coming from Deviantart.

    Just a few days ago I saw an employer on DA asking for a professional banner for $30 and they wanted it in the same day along with full copyrights. =(

    I really hope this place doesn't become a shithole for jobs like DA. =(

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    Ebony, unfortunately (or fortunately because it would take a lot of work) the job forum mod's mandate doesn't include selecting and rejecting job offers that make little sense. On the other hand, we're working hard to educate both employers and artists and can only hope that no artist will reply to these ridiculous offers or that the ones that do, deliver such bad work that the employers have no choice but to up the ante.

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    They do annoy me, but I tend to stay out of those forums or do quick searches on $$ first before I bother reading the brief. I also don't bother if the poster can't form coherent sentences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    the job forum mod's mandate doesn't include selecting and rejecting job offers that make little sense.
    I think that's relatively fair. It's ridiculous to think that a couple of mods would or should police the "intentions" or "attitudes" of potiental clients. As you said, the level of art they can get will match what they offer.

    Sometimes I do think the non-paying section should be ousted or re-named "collaborations" or something that shows non-paying is not a JOB but something fun an artist might do and is not obligated on. Drives me nuts the amount of non-payers who pound their chest and demand only artists that are going to be married to this project, and professional, and on-time.........without pay.

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    Rename it "Charity" to put things into perspective for the clients.

    Or name it "Great opportunities for artists to gain exposure! Get in on the ground floor!" but when you try to post in that forum someone arrives at your door and simply says "Bad employer! Bad!" while smacking you with a rolled up newspaper.

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    What about "paid" art tests? Should these be trusted? What should you charge for one? I'm just getting started with jobs and freelance, and I'm still learning the ropes.

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    I can understand doing an art test for a full-time position, which is what I did when I was first starting out for a game developer. However, with a proven portfolio and work experience, an art test seems less necessary. That coupled with an established company, there's less to fear for the artist (one would think).

    Though I find now as a freelancer, an art test is just not worth it unless it's a paid art test but those are an uncommon occurrence it seems. Considering the time spent on an art test that could be spent on a paid job, it's usually not worth it personally.
    If you're a new artist, and a particular job seems worth it then that may be the case. It's up to you to discern the situation. There's always other benefits to think of besides money such as exposure and reputation (ex. will my work be seen by a large audience?). I've been on both sides of the spectrum, I remember being green and eager for any job and I've also known the risk in assessing, interviewing and hiring artists. Referrals are always a big thing too and it goes both ways for an artist and an employer.
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