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4 Ways to Share Your Job Interview Assignments After The Interview

  • 2 years ago
  • Read Time: 4 minutes
  • by Deja White
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4 Ways to Share Your Job Interview Assignments After The Interview

Yep, we’re talking unpaid job interview assignments.

Some think it’s necessary, some think it’s an insult to candidates. My thoughts? It makes sense, BUT if a company loves you enough to ask you to solve a business problem, and they aren’t satisfied with the work that you’ve already laid out in your portfolio, then they should PAY you.

Yes, some companies are paying their candidates to complete job interview assignments! So, my advice, is if you’re asked to complete an interview assignment, ask if the company also compensates for this.

You can ask for this, but the reality is that most companies don’t and won’t compensate for this, and it’s still a requirement. Instead of complaining about it, I’ve decided to reframe my thought process, and you can too! Think of these assignments as a way to get relevant and tangible work examples that are based on current market trends and business problems. If you get the job, GOOD, if you don’t that’s still GOOD. I’ll explain why below!

What is a job interview assignment?

Job interview assignments are usually assignments that require you to prove that you are able to do the work that you’re interviewing for before you’ve been rewarded with an official offer. Candidates are usually asked to solve a problem that closely resembles the type of work that they will be doing in the role. Candidates are asked to explain their thoughts and work processes in the form of slide decks, written Google docs, charts, papers, etc. This type of assignment was common for creative roles but now has become common in business roles, such as consulting.

What happens to the job interview assignments if I don’t get the job?

Nothing. They sit in your Google Drive and collect dust unless you do something about it. Sucks doesn’t it? It’s a good thing we live in the digital age! You can give your assignments some extra face time, and who knows, that face time might land you an even better job.

What to Do With Job Interview Assignments After the Interview Ends

First things first, if you shared your project in a Google Doc, remove the access from everyone. Another tip, make sure you remove the option that allows people to make copies of your work! Now, that you completely own your work, let’s get started!

Put it in Your Portfolio

I got the idea to put my job interview assignments in my portfolio after spending hours on it. When I do work, I tend to fret over it and go through multiple edits, just like if I were doing REAL work in my daily job. So I said, hey, why not just drop it in my portfolio?

I’m all about discretion, so I say don’t come out and say that the work that’s posted was from a failed job interview. Here’s how you can set it up.

  • Call it “spec work,”
  • Explain the problem (aka the prompt or brief given to you)
  • Lay out how you solved it (aka the project that you submitted)

A wise creative once said that your portfolio is supposed to show off what you can do, without giving too much away. So, in all honesty, you don’t even have to go too deep into your process or what you’ve done. Briefly explain or show what you can do, and wait until your next interview to go into more detail.

  • Miles does a good job briefly describing and displaying his “spec work” for Spotify .
  • Check out this sample campaign I did for a strategy job interview

Show Your Work Off via Social Media

Social media is so powerful. A lot of people are tuned in just to see what the heck everyone else is doing. This is perfect for someone like you who has worked and needs more eyes on it.

  • Start connecting with people within your desired industry
  • Then connect with people who have the specific job title that you want.
  • After you’ve built your fanbase, start pumping out content (aka your job interview assignments). You can share the bits that you’re most excited to talk about.

Which Social Media Platform is best?

Your next question might be, but where do I post? I say, post everywhere! Be strategic though.

  • Figure out where the people in YOUR industry hang out the most.
  • Connect with them, and post on that platform first.
  • Then, post on platforms that will get the most views on the type of work that you’ve produced. (i.e. a video-based project might do better on TikTok or YouTube, while static images might do better on LinkedIn or Instagram).
  • Zoe’s Website Redesign Project. This is an excellent example of how you can lay out a project you’ve done via social media.
  • And if you do good work others might share it! Check out Luli Kibudi’s project, reshared by Paul Parsons on Linkedin .

Write a Blog Post About It

Be like me! Start a blog , and document your work experiences.

Which Platform Should You Use?

If you don’t want a big commitment like WordPress, then I say use a platform like Medium or LinkedIn’s Article feature. Both platforms make it easy for you to break down the problem, your process, your learnings, etc., and share it with an existing audience.

  • How I Landed A Competitive Uber Internship . In this article, I broke down my interview experience and showed off the assignments that I did as a part of the process.

Shop it Around to a Competitor

With this one, I say proceed with caution. Make sure that you read the fine print on whatever you signed during your interview process. You don’t want to get into legal trouble. Once you do that, then I say why not shop it around to the competition? Chances are, the competition is or has run into a similar problem that you’ve just solved with your project.

You could change up your assignment a bit to match the branding of the company you’re approaching OR you could shop it around as is. Just make sure you frame it as you solving an industry problem!

What’s Next: Level Up With the Resources Below

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You’ve made it past the interview phase and you’re feeling good about your chances of landing the role! Before you can make it any further in the process, however, the hiring manager wants you to complete an interview assignment. This may come as a big surprise, and you may be wondering why taking this extra step is even necessary.

Job interviews help the employer get to know you and assess whether you would be a good fit, but an interview assignment can give them a more tangible idea of your skills, how you think, and your work ethic. They can vary from a writing assignment, a technical assessment, or a presentation, and typically come toward the end of the hiring process when the employer is closer to making a decision.

Whether you decide to move forward on an interview assignment is entirely up to you and how good you feel about the employer and their hiring process. If this is something you are considering, here are five ways to handle interview assignments.

Understand expectations

Make sure you clearly understand the employer’s expectations for the interview assignment. Before you get started, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What is the deadline to complete the interview assignment?
  • How much time should you spend working on the assignment?
  • What exactly should you be including in the final piece? A high-level overview or specific details or ideas?
  • How will this be evaluated?

Ensure you have enough time to complete the task

Make sure you are able to complete the assignment (and do a good job) within the deadline you are given. At the same time, it’s important to consider how much time the assignment will actually take. If it’s simply too much work or you have been given an unreasonable deadline, you’re within your rights to reconsider. If the employer is not being respectful of your time, you may want to ask yourself if the opportunity would ultimately be the right one for you.

Ask for more information

If you feel like your interview assignment would be improved with more context about the company or specific departmental processes and goals, don’t be afraid to ask for more information or data. This can help demonstrate your interest in the role, as well as help you work on a more custom project, proposal, or presentation. If this additional information is not available, don’t stress about it! Do your best to work with the information you were given or have found through your research. The hiring manager will understand.

Don’t go overboard

While interview assignments can be a great way to prove yourself, avoid going overboard. If you feel like you are starting to go above and beyond, it’s important to take a pause. Remember, you are not an employee just yet. It is not your job to do actual work for the company. While you want to demonstrate that you are a strategic thinker and that you have good ideas that can be valuable to the organization, you need to walk a fine line. It should raise some red flags if the employer has unrealistic expectations about what you can and should accomplish.

Review your work

Make sure you take the time to review your work before you submit, and if applicable, practice your presentation or proposal. During this stage in the process, it may also be helpful to enlist the help of a friend. They may be able to catch any issues in the written assignment, and give you tips for perfecting your body language and presentation skills—helping you boost your confidence for the big day.

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Eggcellent Work

Work assignments during interview process: here’s how to handle this request.

When you prepare for a job interview, you likely will  read up on the company , your interviewers and any other subject that will help. But you should also be prepared for your prospective employer to ask you to complete work assignments during interview process.

You may ask, what would I do if an employer asked me to produce free work as part of hiring process? Make sure you can answer that question because it could come up during your job interview. Employers are increasingly asking job candidates to complete work that demonstrates their skills and problem solving.

Some employers believe the assignments help weed out candidates who are not truly interested in the job. They believe if candidates accept the assignment, they will work hard to prove their worthiness as an employee. They also may believe if candidates question the assignment, they may not be as interested in the position.

Table of Contents

How work assignments during interview process help employers

Employers that use this tactic say it helps them see how candidates would approach the role that they are interviewing for, so it is helpful. The  average corporate job opening  receives more than 200 applicants, resulting in four to six candidate interviews. The interview assignment also helps candidates who may not interview well to shine by showing off their skills in the exercise.

An employer also may use the assignment to learn more about the candidate’s work process. Will they complete the assignment before deadline? Will they produce work that goes beyond the minimum needed to complete the assignment?

In some cases, it could be a brief, timed exercise that the employer gives to each candidate. These assignments are not likely to produce work the employer can use. It is more of a boilerplate problem for candidates to solve or a simple writing exercise to complete.

Read More: How To Ace Your Next Corporate Development Interview: Questions and Answers

How work assignments during interview process help job applicants

The interview assignment can help job applicants during the interview process. It is a great way to prove that you are the best candidate for the job. If you do a really good job on the assignment, the employer may be willing to offer more money for salary.

The assignment also gives you insight into the prospective employer’s expectations. It can be difficult at times with some jobs to understand exactly what the daily responsibilities and duties are. Such assignments can help shed light on that for you, and may help you decide whether to take the job.

If you complete the assignment and enjoyed the work, this could be a great sign. If you find the work tedious and not what you expected, it can help identify problems in the job.

What type of interview assignments can you expect?

Most companies are likely not looking for free work from candidates. But they must be sensitive to concerns that candidates will have that their time is not valued. The truth is, some companies receive free work from these arrangements and benefit from it.

There are examples of employers asking candidates to complete more involved exercises, then using the candidates’ work product. For example, a copywriter interviewing for a marketing job may draft content that the marketing team can later use without compensating the candidate. An applicant for a project manager job might develop a workflow plan and budget for a pending project that can be used.

Some employers are sending candidates home with work assignments during interview process that are quite involved. You should be aware that these requests are out there and develop a plan to respond to it.

It is reasonable for employers to ask candidates to demonstrate their skills, perhaps with an assignment that might take an hour. It is not reasonable to ask candidates to tackle assignments that take longer, maybe even days, without compensation. Here are some tips for handling requests to complete work assignments during interview process.

What is a reasonable and unreasonable assignment request?

First, it must be emphasized that employers asking candidates to complete simple, quick assignments is not unusual or unreasonable. In these cases, the person conducting the job interview can explain that this assignment is given to each candidate. It is a repeated task that is not used by the company to complete work without compensation.

It is important for candidates to know what the assignment is used for and how it fits into the interview process. This can be a useful tool to narrow down a finalist list for a position and to pressure test candidate claims about skills.

However, the problem occurs when a candidate receives an overly long and involved assignment request. If the candidate is given multiple days to complete the assignment, that is an indication that it may be too complicated. If a complicated assignment is given with unrealistic deadlines, that also is a red flag to consider.

But how can a candidate competing with others for a good job handle such involved assignments? The biggest fear is if you refuse, the employer will simply move on to candidates who will do the job. Here are several tips to consider when thinking about how to respond to interview assignment.

Suggest a simpler exercise

If you are presented with an assignment that appears complicated and involved, you could consider proposing an alternative. You can tell the employer that you have other work commitments that make it difficult now to complete the assignment. But tell them you are willing to complete an alternative that is less involved.

You can explain that your current job keeps you very busy and you have many commitments now. But offer to complete an exercise that takes about an hour or so to complete. This allows you to protect your valuable time, while also offering them insight into your process.

Offer samples of work similar to assignment

It is not unusual for you to explain that you have limited time outside of work. If you are asked to complete work assignments during interview process, tell the employer you do not typically do spec work. You can offer to share work you have done that is similar to the assignment.

If you have a portfolio of your work, tell them this will offer them the insight they seek into how you complete work assignments. You can even offer to arrange an interview with past supervisors who can discuss the quality of your work.

Find out more about the assignment

If the request you receive in the job interview to complete an assignment appears excessive, ask why it is requested. You can ask what they intend to do with the work you produce from the assignment. Ask them how many candidates will complete the task and are they all the same tasks.

If the assignment is particularly lengthy, you can ask if candidates have declined in the past to complete it. You can also ask if they have considered paying applicants as freelancers to complete the assignment. Also, ask how long to hear back after interview assignment if you elect to complete it.

Ask the Prospective Employer for Payment

Remember, the job interview is a vehicle for you to determine if the employer is right for you. It is a chance to speak candidly and professionally with your prospective employer. You can explain that you are willing to complete the assignment if they will compensate you for it.

As the rap singer Kanye West said, “Know your worth. People always act like they’re doing more for you than you’re doing for them.” You are showing the prospective employer that you know your worth by asking for compensation.

This idea only works when the assignment is particularly extensive and potentially can be used by the employer. Discuss options with the employer about payment, including whether a paid trial assignment will work. You could also offer to forgo payment if the employer decides to hire you.

How the company responds to your request will tell you a lot about it. If a company expects free work before they hire you, it likely will  expect free work  as part of your job.

How to decline an interview assignment and stay in the running

The best way to decline an interview assignment is to be honest. If you believe the assignment is too complicated and will take too long, tell them. If you are worried that the assignment poses a conflict in your other job, tell them.

Your job interviewer may offer some flexibility if you are honest with them. They may also determine that the assignment is not necessary if you are the top candidate contending. It is possible that the interviewer will also agree to an alternative assignment.

Employers asking candidates to complete assignments must recognize that applicants have limited time. It is not reasonable to expect them to complete a task that will eat up hours of their time. And if candidates produce excellent work, offer to pay them.

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Jenny Palmer

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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When Hiring, Prioritize Assignments Over Interviews

  • Geoff Tuff,
  • Steve Goldbach,
  • Jeff Johnson

job interview assignments

Small projects can help ensure you’re hiring for skills — not just connection.

Companies over-rely on interviews when hiring, which has been shown to be a poor predictor of future performance and introduces opportunities for bias. As an alternative, try giving candidates who make it past an initial screening test a small test of the primary skill the job requires. For instance, ask a coder to solve a small coding project. This “minimally viable demonstration of competence,” and a follow-up discussion that debriefs the exercise, can be a powerful tool for moving beyond the resume to find qualified candidates that hiring bots might have passed over.

As a hiring manager, you want to bring on the “best” person for a job (whatever that means for the given role), but how do you know who’s right?

job interview assignments

  • GT Geoff Tuff is a principal and leads Deloitte’s sustainability work in U.S. energy and industrials. He is co-author of the bestselling books Detonate (2018) and Provoke (2021 ).
  • SG Steve Goldbach a principal and leads Deloitte’s Sustainability practice in the US. He is a co-author of the books Detonate (2018) and Provoke (2021).
  • JJ Jeff Johnson is a managing director at Deloitte Consulting LLP who coaches leaders through sales and relationship-building with a focus on human connection, insight, and the art of communication.

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5 Types of Homework Assignments for a Skills-First Hiring Process

Post Author - Juste Semetaite

CVs and interviews don’t predict job performance, but work assignments can.

It’s really simple; hiring managers need to place competence in context to assess candidates’ technical and interpersonal skills .

If a structured interview process can help flush out candidates with the right attitude and cultural alignment, homework assignments can highlight people with the perfect skillset for the role.

And for a hiring manager, the hiring confidence when selecting between candidates who list the right skills on their resume and those who nail take-home tasks is like night and day.

Curious if work assignments could be a good fit for your company? In this article, we discuss:

  • what a homework assignment is all about
  • why companies prioritize work assignments over interviews
  • how to reassure candidates that work assignments aren’t ‘free work’
  • the easiest way to incorporate take-home tasks into your hiring process
  • five tips for designing an effective homework assignment

Let’s dive in!

What is a homework assignment?

A homework assignment or an interview project is a task given to a candidate during the interview process that tests whether they have the right skills for a role. Typically these assignments take about an hour or two to complete and have a specific deadline. But they can be more detailed and take up to 5 hours or longer, depending on the role seniority or complexity.

Top tips to enlarge those brains

We recommend sticking to a maximum of two hour-projects to keep it fair and reasonable for candidates. As a hiring manager, your main goal is to get a reliable snapshot of a candidate’s technical fit for the job – not to subject applicants to NASA-level testing.

Alternatively, you could swap homework assignments for paid test projects. While many candidates frown upon the idea of completing longer take-home tasks for free (who doesn’t hate free labor?), paid projects are generally accepted as a reasonable alternative. Learn how we leverage paid projects at Toggl Hire.

If a candidate won’t complete an assignment that takes less than 2 hours of their time, likely, they aren’t really interested in the role. So it also doubles as a reliable method to screen out prospective bad hires .

Why do companies ask candidates to complete homework assignments?

Homework assignments help companies get a better idea of a candidate’s strengths and whether they’d be a good match for the role. It’s a bit like shopping online. Seeing a new pair of sneakers you want in a 2D image is great. But getting a fully immersive AR experience really brings the sneakers to life and builds your confidence you’re making the right choice!

job interview assignments

These days, many companies prioritize work assignments over interviews , as the typical interview process is outdated. Interviews and CVs alone don’t help the hiring team explore a candidate’s actual abilities. Why? Well, firstly, candidates sometimes exaggerate their qualifications on CVs. Plus, a potential candidate could be great in an interview scenario but terrible at the actual job.

Another reason interviews are passé is that they can open up the hiring team to potential cognitive bias (hiring someone very similar to you). This might seem kind of nice, but in the end, you’ll have less diversity if everyone you hired was a mini-me, right?

Yet, interviews do have an important role to play in the hiring process. But not right in the beginning, necessarily. Shifting the interview portion further down the hiring process steps helps companies focus on quality candidates rather than the search for quality candidates. They could rather confirm the technical fit through skills assessments and then dig deeper during the second interview.

According to HBR, prioritizing homework assignments over interviews can help recruiters better match true competency with the job requirements:

One of us (Jeff) spent several years hiring writers for our firm. He used a scenario-driven writing assignment, administered after a short introductory call, to assess skills. Many publications use writing or editing tests for job candidates, but Jeff approached the task more analytically than most: After receiving the assignment, he conducted a follow-up conversation to understand not just what was on the page, but the candidate’s choices in crafting it. Not only did this give us a sense of how a candidate would perform, but they got a much better sense of the job itself, as we related elements of the task to actual role expectations. By using the same exercise repeatedly, it also built a database of responses over time, a positive feedback loop to better assess the next candidate. Geoff Tuff, a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP – Harvard Business Review

The real benefits are that work assignments and skills assessments paint a truer picture and can also:

  • help identify the best person for the job
  • reveal an applicant’s work ethic
  • reduce the risk of selecting candidates that have lapsed technical skills (especially with the rapid evolution of technology)
  • are easy to deploy at scale – you can narrow down the number of applicants from 500 to 50 to save the hiring team loads of time
  • help organizations draw in non-typical but strong candidates that broaden the team’s diversity, equity & inclusion
  • reduce the risk and cost of a bad hire

Realistic Job Preview: 11 Ways How to Use RJPs in Hiring

What do candidates gain from completing homework assignments?

Job seekers may not often feel enthusiastic about interview assignments. And we get it. People are busy juggling so many things in their day to day that adding one more can feel overwhelming. But those who look at the bigger picture see it as an opportunity to shine.

Work assignments are a foolproof way for job seekers to demonstrate their skills and expertise . And if candidates happen to have any gaps in their experience, they can still demonstrate their aptitude through an online assignment.

It’s also an easy way for candidates to show they’re truly interested in the position and the employer and stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

Not only do these task projects give them a peek into their potential day-to-day responsibilities , but it’s also a window into whether the role is a good fit for them in the long run .

job interview assignments

If they find the task takes too long or that the topic or sector is dryer than toast – they should put their sights elsewhere. But if it’s all systems go – then they’ve already got a head start on producing what’s needed for the role.

5 Types of take-home interview assignments

Take-home interview assignments are a popular choice for assessing technical and creative candidates. But now companies are seeing the benefits for other roles too.

Three things that hiring managers should consider for all these types of interview assignments:

  • Letting candidates know about the test beforehand. That way, they’re not surprised and feel they’re starting off on the wrong foot.
  • Automating everything they can in the testing process, so they don’t leave candidates high and dry in between lengthy hiring phases.
  • Using the data they gain from these tests and candidate feedback to update their hiring process.

And now, onto the examples of homework assignments.

#1 Basic skills screening

Quick skills screening tests as a pre-qualifying step can help reduce the volume of applications without any manual effort. That means no manual resume screening or individual candidate feedback.

As applicants get instant feedback via skills test results (they either pass the required score threshold and move on or stop there), recruiters and hiring managers benefit in three major ways: 1) they save hours of their time by automating CV screening; 2) they can easily identify qualified applicants who should move to the interview stage; 3) they ensure a great candidate experience with modern skills-based hiring practices.

basic skills screening

Good practices:

Keeping the tests short and sweet to respect candidates’ time and effort. We’d recommend 15 or 20-minute assessments at the kickoff. However, it’s important to ensure the tests are hard, so they actually act like a quality filter for your candidate pipeline.

Bad practices:

Focusing too much on theoretical, bookish questions that make the test feel like a school exam can harm your test completion rate and prevent great candidates from submitting their applications. Additionally, making the screening tests too long or too intrusive (e.g., taking snapshots through the computer camera) can create an unnecessary barrier and reduce your chances of sourcing top-quality people.

#2 Pre or post-interview coding challenges

While a job interview can help hiring managers assess interpersonal skills, such as communication , teamwork, or motivation, it’s not the best medium for evaluating hard skills . Online coding tests help the hiring team select technically capable developers that can contribute to the business.

A recruiter would typically source candidates with the right programming languages listed on their profile or resume. And then, it’s the hiring manager’s responsibility to work out if the applicant has what it takes to write good code. Easier said than done!

That’s why a coding assessment as a homework assignment has become the norm in tech hiring, and most developers are willing to take them on.

how we do work assignments at Toggl Hire

Remember, though; candidates don’t owe you free work. Your approach to designing a coding test will determine whether people continue in the hiring process or drop off.

First of all, decide what you want to assess and why. If you’re hoping to ascertain a candidate’s troubleshooting and problem-solving skills, time-boxing the assignment wouldn’t work to your advantage. The candidate can always use the ‘lack of time’ as an excuse for lower-quality work.

Another thing to remember is to set the test at the right skill level, depending on whether it’s a junior, intermediate or advanced role.

Testing skills that are nice to have or don’t match the role is a common mistake. Focusing on too many topics requires candidates to switch context from question to question – which is often confusing and tiring in such a short span of time.

Another issue employers run into is using clunky testing software that candidates need to figure out on the fly. If it takes effort to learn the platform or the platform doesn’t have the required features, developers will have to pay the price.

Interview Coding Challenges: A Way to Hire Developers Who Know their Code

#3 Portfolio reviews and spec work during the job interview process

Ask any creative about their opinion on spec work, and you’ll likely hear that it sucks. And there are good reasons for graphic designers, writers, and other creatives to hate this kind of work – why should they commit to the project without any promise of payment?

If you’re hiring a professional from the creative field, we highly recommend starting with a live portfolio review . That’s when a candidate can take the interviewer through specific portfolio examples and share the backstory and lessons learned from that project. With creative roles, it’s often the unique style and quirks alongside the technical skills that can help determine the best person for the job.

However, sometimes paid spec work is a much fairer and more accurate way of getting insight into a candidate’s skillset. For tasks that require a highly personalized approach or solution, going the freelance gig route can yield better results.

Inform candidates ahead of time that you’d like to review their portfolio during a live interview. This will give them time to prepare and update their work samples. Ask questions that relate to their portfolio, even if the current samples don’t match your brief – you want to understand their creative process and practices. For paid spec work, make time to discuss the brief in person and agree on a check-in schedule to ensure work progresses in the right direction.

Springing this on the candidate without any warning and expecting the work to be delivered on a short deadline is a questionable move. Even if you’re opting for paid spec work, bear in mind these tasks are often completed in a vacuum and should be evaluated through a less critical lens. And finally, the not-so-secret secret: most creatives are terrible at maintaining their portfolios up-to-date. Giving them the heads-up will increase your chances of selecting the right talent.

#4 Time-boxed homework assignments that go in-depth to evaluate candidates’ competence

This type of home assignment can take many forms – from asking a marketing professional to write a press release for a product launch that already happened to requesting a business analyst to extract key insights from a dataset.

job interview assignments

To ensure it’s not perceived as free work, time-boxed assessment projects often focus on real-world business problems that have been solved internally. This way, you can benchmark candidates’ work against your internal quality standard and reassure candidates of your intentions. The sole purpose of interview assignments is to confirm candidates’ technical fit in an efficient manner.

Keep the topic or assignment relevant to the role, and limit the necessary time it’ll take to complete to about 2-3 hours. Remember that the clarity of your brief will largely determine the quality of the deliverables, so be specific about your expectations.

Expecting someone to take 5-10 hours out of their busy schedule for an unpaid assignment is unrealistic.

#5 Paid projects during the interview process

Interviewing is exhausting for both the candidate and the interviewer. So it’s unsurprising that paid interview assignments have been gaining in popularity in recent years.

As a hiring manager, would you rather spend hours of your time interviewing candidates to filter out the bad apples or use the job interview as a way to get to know potential hires?

Homework assignments are exactly that – a simple, efficient method for spotting A-level candidates with the right skills for the job.

As you confirm the technical fit before the interview, both parties can focus on aligning on other important factors, such as the organizational fit , team culture, and manager expectations.

However, many employers have realized that the sentiment around homework assignments has shifted from acceptable to immoral, as applicants began calling assignments ‘free work’. Research shows that drop-off rates increased when candidates were asked to complete a take-home assignment.

Candidates tend to drop out from the recruitment process at two main points: after the first job interview and when asked to complete an assignment.

Enter paid homework projects.

The perfect combo of practical competency assessment and paid work. Since the candidate receives compensation for their time, these types of assignments can be longer and more complex.

Anything from analyzing the growth funnel to tackling a programming challenge to designing an effective product onboarding experience can serve as a homework assignment idea.

What’s important to note is that these kinds of work assignments allow employers to get a glimpse into a candidate’s work ethic , thinking process, time management, and many other skills that are impossible to assess during the interview process.

If you’re paying for their time, treat them like consultants: provide access to important information, answer their questions and connect them with the right people internally. And be sure to outline the recruitment process at the very start; not everyone will happily take on a bigger commitment project, even when it’s paid.

As a hiring manager, stay in touch throughout the recruitment process to lay the foundations for a good working relationship. Provide clear requirements and timelines to reduce stress, and don’t forget about fair compensation – going below the market rate is disrespectful.

A great way to cause unnecessary stress is to ask candidates to present to a large audience or high-level execs they would never work with on a day-to-day basis.

Be sure to provide a clear agenda for the presentation call ahead of time and prep your interview panel for follow-up questions.

5 Examples of Take-Home Tasks for Different Roles

The work assignments and interview process windup

Work assignments are a good thing for companies and candidates alike. The result is like the difference between speed dating and a real dinner and a first date. Yes, they’re both exciting, but in the case of hiring, you need to hire someone that can demonstrate they have the right skills. The cost of hiring the wrong candidate is just too high for companies.

To find truly interested candidates, who have the right aptitude, introduce your team to the benefits of work assignments. You’ll save both parties loads of time and the hassle of a dragged-out interview process and other redundant hiring steps.

If you’re ready to explore how to transform your business’ hiring process from a time-consuming to a slick candidate pipeline, we leave you with five simple tips on designing an effective homework assignment.

5 simple tips for designing a great homework assignment:

  • Replace resume screening with basic skills screening. Start the sifting process early with a quick skills screening test . This will weed out the bad eggs and leave you with a selection of good potential candidates.
  • Make your assignment brief and easy to understand, and explain the key outputs you expect.
  • Match the level of the homework assignment to the level of the role. Unrealistic tasks will only scare people off.
  • Don’t request candidates to solve super-specific business problems. Make the assignment generalized, not based on a super specific problem your business is experiencing.
  • Give the candidate a chance to show and tell. That way, you get insight into their thought process, presentation skills, and even emotional intelligence when their viewpoint is challenged.

Have a peek at our Test Library for more assignment ideas, and good luck!

Juste Semetaite

Juste loves investigating through writing. A copywriter by trade, she spent the last ten years in startups, telling stories and building marketing teams. She works at Toggl Hire and writes about how businesses can recruit really great people.

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Interview Projects and Assignments

interview assignment

Interviewing in today’s job market can sometimes feel like a never-ending process. You’ll likely be called for a virtual interview first. Then you’ll go through at least three in-person interviews, if not more. Then, you must wait for references to be verified, and a background check to be completed.

The latest statistics say it can take 43 days for the average candidate to go from first interview to job offer. In 2017, it was just 24 days according to research conducted by Glassdoor .

The time from first interview to hire is likely to increase because employers are requiring candidates to take on a sample assignments or projects as part of the interview process.

What is a Job Interview Assignment?  

A job interview assignment is a task that’s similar to the type of work you’d be doing if hired for the job. The hiring manager will use the assignment to further assess your skills and abilities. It gives them tangible evidence of your ability to perform the job at a satisfactory level if hired.

If you knock the assignment out the park, it may help you land the job. However, if you fail to impress your potential employer, then you might not get the offer, no matter how well you did on your interviews.

How Do You Handle a Job Interview Assignment?

interview assignment

No matter how you might feel about interview assignments, it looks like they are here to stay so you have to know how to succeed.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Do understand the expectations of your industry

There are some roles where interview assignments have always been the rule rather than the exception. If you’re applying for a position as a graphic designer, copywriter, proofreader, then you should expect an assignment.

Beyond that, it’s becoming increasingly popular for employers to ask candidates to create a marketing plan for a certain product. If you’re going for a process management role, employers may want to see your take on a process-improvement plan. If you’re into data analysis, then you may be asked to give a report on a set of numbers they provide.

It’s hard to predict what type of assignment you’ll get from each employer. The point is to have a general expectation that you’ll be asked to complete a project, so you’re not surprised when it comes.

2. Do follow the instructions

Read the instructions of the assignment carefully. Avoid the temptation to go “above and beyond” to try and wow the hiring manager. That approach may backfire. Turning in a solid product that demonstrates your understanding of the assignment should be your priority.

3. Do ask questions

interview assignment

It’s perfectly okay for you to ask questions. In fact, it shows that you’re engaged and really want to do a quality job. You don’t want to fail the assignment just because you didn’t ask a simple question.

Remember to ask about the deadline. Are they expecting you to hand in a report or present your work to the hiring manager? What criteria will they use to assess your work?

4. Do protect your intellectual property

You want to do your best, but at the same time you don’t want the company to just take your work and use it. It sounds unethical, but it does happen.

Ask how your work will be used once you provide it. Is the work for evaluation purposes only? Or will any work you do become property of the company? Knowing the answer may influence whether you want to do the assignment.

Some jobseekers may ask employers to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to ensure they don’t use the work without consent. That could be a turnoff for some employers, but don’t hesitate to request that one be signed if you’re truly concerned.

5. Do research the company

interview assignment

You want your final product to reflect the tone, style, and values of the firm you’re interviewing for. Ask for a copy of the company’s style guide to use while completing the assignment. They may not want to give you that proprietary information, but it’s worth asking.

Whether or not you get the style guide, reading the company’s website, looking up press releases, and reviewing marketing materials can give you a sense of the company’s culture. Showing that you did a bit of “homework” before you completed the assignment will surely impress the hiring manager.

6. Do set aside time for the assignment

 Give yourself plenty of time. You don’t want to wait until the night before the assignment is due to start the assignment. Put time on your calendar well before the due date to start. You may need to complete the assignment over two or more sessions.

7. Do complete the work yourself

If you’re not too sure about the assignment you may be tempted to ask a friend or colleague to do it for you. While it’s okay to ask for a bit of advice or an opinion on your work, make sure you do it yourself. Handing in someone else’s work is not only dishonest, but if you get the job and can’t do similar tasks, you might not hang onto the job for very long.

8. Do proofread your work

Make sure you have time to thoroughly proofread your work before handing it in. You may also want to have a friend or colleague review your work as well. You don’t want a careless typo or mistake to sink your chances of landing the job.

9. Do show enthusiasm about the project

interview assignment

When submitting the assignment, take a moment to include a note. Thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to complete the project. Remind them why you’d be a good fit for the role. And, put in at least one thing you learned while doing the assignment to entice the hiring manager to look further.

Here’s an example of a note you could include:

Thank you for the opportunity to complete this assignment. I really enjoyed the challenge. You’ll see that I’ve made three low-cost recommendations that I believe would increase paid subscribers by 10% over the next quarter.  

Completing the assignment confirmed to me that I have the passion and skill set to be successful in this role.

10. Do be prepared to walk away

Interview assignments shouldn’t take more than four hours to complete. You may review the assignment and decide that it would take up too much of your time and energy. You may have second thoughts about even doing it. That’s perfectly okay.

You can decline the assignment by writing an email to the hiring manager that says something like this:

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to interview with your company. I’ve enjoyed the experience, but I’ve decided to pursue other job opportunities at this time and won’t be completing the assignment given to me at the end of the last interview.

It may be hard to walk away from a job opportunity when you’ve come so close. But think of it like this: if a company is asking you to do a lot of work and you haven’t even been hired yet, then just imagine what they ask their paid employees to do.

What are Examples of Job Interview Assignments?

interview assignment

Here are three examples of job interview assignments that you might receive from a potential employer. 

1. You’re interviewing with Scheer & Douglass Marketing Group. They’re looking for a new Director of Content Management who understands SEO best practices and long-form blog writing.

For your assignment, you’ll receive a topic, keywords, the audience you’re writing for, and a company style guide. You’ll also receive several samples of the company’s best-performing blogs. Your assignment is to provide a 1,500-word blog that includes at least five mentions of each keyword and a strong call to action.

2. Save the Date, Inc. is a software company that develops and sells scheduling and dispatch software for pest control companies, cable installation companies, and more.

You’ve applied for a sales position with the company. For your assignment, your potential manager gives you information about their latest software, a spec sheet, and a price list. Your assignment is to create a 10-minute presentation to help sell the company’s latest software to a flower delivery franchise that’s reluctant to upgrade.

3. Cumulous Software, LLC needs a software engineer who can oversee ongoing updates and improvements to their brand-new mobile app.

The hiring manager is interested in testing your coding skills. You receive several pages of sample code that’s not working properly. You’re given limited instructions and access to the company’s source code library. Your assignment is to find the problems within the code provided and write the simplest, most practical code possible to solve the issues.

Interview Projects and Assignments are Here to Stay  

Like it or not, interview assignments are the new normal, and it’s best to assume that you’ll be asked to do one sooner or later. Use the tips above to make sure you turn in the best work possible.

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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Try the Big Interview Training Tool

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Created for:

Job seekers.

Land your dream job quickly with an all-in-one interview training tool. No more scouring the internet for the same advice every other candidate is reading.

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Big Interview was super helpful in that aspect of having answers for every possible scenario and being in the moment of answering those questions .


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As a result of these efforts, The Maryland DOL was able to leverage their online workforce services system to reach jobseekers at an earlier stage in their search and help improve job seeker outcomes. Big Interview generally helps users find jobs about 4-5 weeks sooner than normal (and 2-3 fewer job interviews are needed).

Co-created with a top career coach

Pamela Skillings has helped thousands of people land jobs at companies like:

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Hi, I’m Pam, Interview Coach, Career Counselor, and Co-Founder of Big Interview.

I’ve been a career coach for over 15 years and helped thousands of people just like you land their dream jobs — regardless of their circumstances and challenges. My clients landed jobs in companies like Google, Disney, Amazon, Meta, Goldman Sachs, or in fast-growing startups. And after so many years in the industry, I noticed one key issue.

Most of the advice you find online about the interview process is either incorrect or outdated. And it’s extremely difficult to find all the content for each stage of the job hunting process. And I realized that not everyone has the resources (or the time!) to hire a private career counselor.

That’s why I created Big Interview. An affordable, step-by-step job interview training software that offers the knowledge and preparation I offer my private coaching clients for a fraction of the price.

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Must-know tactics you can master in 2 hours.

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Interview training tailored to your situation

No matter your industry or seniority level, our expert Pamela Skillings will guide you through everything you can expect in your interview.

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You’ll feel as if you’re working 1-on-1 with an expert career coach. Get instant feedback on your answers and concrete advice for what exactly to improve.

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job interview assignments

Preparation is the key to landing your dream job

Without preparation.

  • Anticipating questions is difficult
  • Your answers aren’t convincing enough
  • You don’t stand out from other applicants
  • You miss on great job opportunities

With preparation

  • You can confidently tailor responses
  • Your answers are backed with proof
  • You leave a great first impression
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Stop wasting your time searching the entire internet for advice you're not sure is good. Use Big Interview to get access to strategies and examples that guarantee results - all in one convenient place.

Hear from our happy users:

Our mission is to break down barriers to career progression and ensure that everyone has equal access to fulfilling careers , regardless of their background or experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about Big Interview

We know Big Interview works because we’ve tested and refined our platform with hundreds of thousands of job seekers before you. And our statistics clearly show that Big Interview is effective. Our users get a job after 4.5 weeks on average. That’s almost 5x faster than the current US average of 22.6 weeks.

How have we achieved this? In short — all thanks to the expertise of our co-founder and chief coach, Pamela Skillings.

In addition to developing Big Interview, Pamela Skillings spent 12 years in executive-level marketing and human resources jobs for Fortune 500 companies (including Morgan Stanley, MasterCard International, and Citigroup). Pamela also still works with corporate and government clients to develop training, retention, communications, and recruiting programs. Clients include Citigroup, American Express, Ernst & Young, and the City of New York. Pamela’s work with corporations keeps her up to date on hiring trends and the employer perspective, which helps inform her coaching work with job seekers.

If you have 2 hours to spare, Big Interview will give you enough value to make you feel prepared for the upcoming interview. We have a special “Fast-Track” module designed specifically for people who need to prepare NOW. If you’re pressed for time, use the “Interview Practice” tool — you’ll get immediate feedback on your interview answers and plenty of insights along the way. Plus, great sample answers to common questions you can get inspired by.

Sadly, it doesn’t work like that. Almost 50% of candidates fail the interview because they didn’t know how to *properly* research the company. Two out of three candidates struggle to make eye contact with the interviewer. 39% of candidates get rejected because of poor body language. We could go on and on with the stats. Truth is — interviewing for jobs is uncomfortable and difficult, solely because no one ever taught you how to do it. With Big Interview, you gain invaluable knowledge almost no other candidate has. With preparation, you’ll get an edge over 9 out of 10 other applicants who believe they simply “got this.”

You’ll get a huge boost to your interviewing skills within hours. But, obviously, the more work you put in, the better results you can expect. Big Interview is not *just* about interviewing. Inside our app, you’ll find lessons on salary negotiation, a resume writing course, a professional resume builder that helps you highlight your assets, and tips on how to find better jobs. And it doesn’t end when you do land that job. Our platform teaches you how to make the most of your career, get an internal promotion, go for that first managerial job, or even switch industries later in your career. That’s why one of our plans is lifetime access. Big Interview can become your ultimate career toolbox and help you navigate through all the challenges your professional life may throw at you.

One-month access to Big Interview costs $39. A three-month plan is $99. Lifetime access — $299. And again, to put that into perspective — Big Interview typically helps you shave around 4 months off of your job search. That’s 4 fewer months of not getting your salary, and 4 fewer months of constant stress and anxiety. And if you’re still not sure if Big Interview is worth your investment, just give it a try. If you don’t think it’s worth what you’re paying, we’re offering you a 30-day money-back guarantee. No questions asked.

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job interview assignments

Job Interview Assignment Tips

Job Interview Assignment

Hey job-hunters! Have you been applying to jobs and have finally been called in for an interview? That’s great news. In some interview processes, it is common to give an assignment to test the candidate’s knowledge about a specific topic. In today’s article, you will learn job interview assignment tips and ways to create a great project.

What is a Job Interview Assignment?

A typical interview job assignment is a great way to gauge a candidate’s knowledge of a specific topic and help filter great candidates from good candidates. This approach is definitely trending and becoming more and more popular at companies, especially in the tech industry. It is not uncommon to be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of coding in a project, show your design profile or create a design for something, or even create business assumptions or strategies for a specific case that you are given. These tasks can be great ways to not only measure your skills, but to also understand your thought process behind it. One major tip: in many cases, your project does not have to be 100% right, but you need to show the thought process behind it and how you arrived at the conclusion or assumption.

What Are Recruiters Looking For In The Assignment?

This is a question you need to think about. Are they looking for answers, suggestions on ways to proceed, business assumptions, or to get a better idea of your own thought process? Read the directions carefully a few times and make sure you understand what is being requested. If you have any doubt, send the recruiter an email to clarify.

Usually you will determine how in-depth you will make it and how much time you want to allocate to this assignment. If you have additional questions, just ask. But know this: often the assignment is framed so that you are showing your thought process and work. In other, more unethical circumstances, companies are hunting for ideas and solutions. This will be addressed later in the article.

Common Mistakes

When candidates are given a project, there are a series of common mistakes that recruiters and hiring managers normally come across. Here are some of the main ones to watch out for:

  • Didn’t follow directions: You need to know what is being asked of you and understand how to approach it. If you don’t read and understand the directions, you are just wasting your own time.
  • Didn’t ask questions: A lack of understanding of the directions will lead to a misguided project/assignment. Make sure you clarify what is expected of you if you have any questions or doubts.
  • Know the company: Do you know what the company does? What is its core business? What is its mission and vision? Not knowing this will be evident in your assignment.
  • You did the bare minimum: There are projects and there are projects. Some look like night and day. If you did the bare minimum and didn’t put forth much effort, it will show.
  • Didn’t review your work: Make sure that you focus and deliver quality work. It is expected that you review, spellcheck, re-read, and re-do weak areas. Don’t let these minor things slip through the cracks.
  • Lack of excitement: Are you not excited about the project and company? Your work will show this. Get excited about it and produce something great.

Should I Even Bother With The Job Interview Assignment?

You are probably asking yourself this question, “Should I even bother with the job interview assignment?” and yes, it is a valid question. Here are some things to think about to help you come to a conclusion.

How serious is the company: Have you done your homework on the company? Are they reputable? Read about them in the news, visit their site, read their blog posts, Glassdoor reviews and assess this.

What are the company’s intentions: Some projects requested by companies are very interesting whereas others are questionable. If the assignment seems too much like a consulting project (where you are doing consulting work for the company and really just providing them with solutions), this should be a red flag. Try to get a better understanding of what the assignment is, how it will be used, and how your work “could” be leveraged. Some companies give very interesting and well-thought-out projects whereas others are sketchy, and it seems like they are out for a cheap deal. The latter is what I call idea snatching. I have seen this a number of times in the market. The fact is, there is no position. The company is just fishing for ideas.

I’m not getting paid: If a company is looking for a comprehensive plan as an assignment, then this is a red flag and should probably be avoided. Normally assignments are outlines, and are framed at a high-level, so you are presenting assumptions and possible game plans, but once again, nothing too in-depth. Summarizing this point: if a company wants something super-specific, comprehensive, and detailed, this might be idea fishing.

Ask what the general goals and expectations are: Make sure to ask this. Having a second conversation or exchange of emails with the recruiter can help reveal their intentions, good or bad.

Trust your gut: If you feel that the company has been less than open and candid with you and you are still unsure, it might be best to turn down this interview process. Every situation is different, so do your homework, research, and trust your gut.

Structuring Your Project

First things first: read and re-read your instructions. The instructions will give you the best idea of how to start the assignment. As you read the instructions, try to get an idea of what they are looking for. Is it a pitch deck in Powerpoint with some slides, or are they looking for a Word doc a couple pages long? This may not be a hundred percent clear, and you can then choose which one you prefer as per the assignment.

Outline or In-depth: Normally, it is better to aim for something more high-level, so an outline would be fine. However, there is a caveat here. If you only do an outline, you risk being average. Average means all of the other candidates out there did something very similar to what you did. In other words, your assignment will not stick out.

Due Date: Make sure you ask when the due date is. A week is standard. If a company asks for something tomorrow, they are disrespecting your time and probably the position doesn’t even exist.

Easy to read: Nobody wants to read a jumbled Word doc. Spend a little extra time formatting and beautifying it.

Add your style: Feel free to add your own style and flare. Also, check to see what kinds of designs and projects are on their website. This can give you some good information on how to design it.

Get a friend to review it: Ask a friend or colleague to review your work. Get their opinions. It doesn’t hurt to have an extra pair of eyes to review it.

No more than two or three hours: Do not spend days working on the assignment. Try to do it within two or three hours.

No Assignment – Send One Anyway

This subtitle may have raised some eyebrows and that’s the idea. Why would I suggest this? Well, depending on the position you are going for, (say it is for a Jr Digital Marketing Analyst) if you send the company a breakdown of what you would do at the company and how you would approach things, you would probably get some real attention to your profile/ resume and get a call for an interview or subsequent interview.

How could you go about doing this? Once you have read over the job description to get a good idea of what they are looking for and what your possible future job would entail, you create an action plan of what you would do in the role.  Obviously, you are going to make many assumptions as you do not know exactly what the day-to-day is like at the company, and that is ok. With this particular approach, if you can explain what you want to do, how you would do it and why, this gives the recruiter a deeper look into your thought process. That is extremely important. It also conveys great interest on your part in the position and company.

Once again, following the previous tips, it doesn’t have to be a long project, but it should go deep enough to show your knowledge and thought process. Why should you do this? Well, although there are a lot of jobs nowadays in the US market, there is also a lot of competition for great jobs. The more you can stick out, the better.

Job interview assignments have become more and more common, and I know you will come across a few as you go through the interview process.  Make sure to do your homework, always! See if the company is the real deal and look for things that might seem off about the company and the assignment. Once again, trust your gut. If it seems like they are fishing for new ideas and solutions, they might actually be. Avoid these. Just make sure to do your homework to determine whether you should do the assignment or not. If you deem that the assignment is worth doing, do a good job. Do not do the bare minimum.

If there is no job interview assignment, consider creating a mini project. Whatever you can do to get on the recruiter’s radar and prove why you are the best candidate for the job is time worth investing in a short assignment or self-driven project. One thing to remember, everyone applies for jobs the same way: finds the job on the website or Linkedin; sends resume; hopes to get a response; etc. If you can go beyond the typical approach, and also hit it from another angle, you are increasing your chances of getting noticed and called in for an interview.

Have you been asked to complete a job interview assignment in the past? Tell the community about your experience. What was the activity? How did you approach it? Did you receive feedback? Did you get called in for another interview? What happened. Help the community learn from your experience.

For more job search and interview tips, check out the CareerPrep blog and for how-to videos, check out English Interviews and CareerPrep Youtube channels .

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Should you give job applicants an assignment during the interview process? Be thoughtful about the ask

Employers have to ask themselves whether they are willing to turn off a strong candidate by asking them to do additional work.

Hiring is a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. Companies need candidates who offer the right skills and experience for a given role, and who align with their organization’s vision and mission.

To find the best fit, many companies still lean on a strategy that continues to generate debate : the assignment. Some candidates believe their experience and interviews should give prospective employers enough information to determine whether they will fit the role. Employers have to ask themselves whether they are willing to turn off a strong candidate by asking them to do additional work.

Is the assignment valuable enough to the evaluation process that they cannot move someone forward without it? Sometimes it is—sometimes they help an employer decide between two strong candidates. And if they are necessary, how can employers make assignments fair and equitable for the candidate or candidates?

When done right, assignments help assess practical skills and problem-solving abilities, giving a clearer picture of a candidate beyond what their resume or interview reveals. But employers should be thoughtful about the ask. While it may make sense for roles that require specific technical expertise or creative thinking, it isn’t appropriate for all roles—so assignments should always be given with a clear reason for why they are needed.

Plus, they don’t just benefit the employer. For job seekers, an assignment during the interview process might also help them stand out from the competition. It can also offer a window into what their day-to-day in the new role might entail. Remember that the candidate should be interviewing the company, too. Having a test run of the work they’d be asked to do is a great way to see whether they believe the role is a fit.

However, there is a rift in how people perceive the assignment as part of the interview process. Workers today span many generations, each with unique values and expectations. Whereas older workers often prioritize stability and loyalty, younger millennials and Gen Zers are more focused on flexibility and work well-being, Indeed data shows .

This mindset impacts the amount of time and energy a candidate is willing to devote to each application. After multiple rounds of interviews and prep, taking on an in-depth assignment may feel like a bridge too far—especially if the expectations for the assignment are not clearly communicated ahead of time.

Some candidates are wary of providing free labor to a company that may use their work and not hire them. Hiring managers should be clear about how the work will be used. They may also consider offering compensation if the assignment requires more than a couple hours of someone’s time, or if they plan to use the work without hiring the candidate.

The key for early career candidates in particular is to ensure their time and efforts are respected. This is a win-win for employers: By providing clarity and transparency, they not only elicit the additional information they want from candidates, but they demonstrate that the organization is transparent and fair.

Equity is also imperative: Which candidates are being asked to complete assignments? Is the hiring team consistent in giving out assignments across ages, experience levels, and roles? There should always be a process and clear evaluation criteria in place to ensure fairness.

As we adapt to the rapidly evolving world of work, we must continue to think critically about each step in the hiring process. Candidate assignments can be a valuable tool, but only with appropriate respect for job seekers’ time and contributions.

With the right strategy, we can bridge the gap between generations in the workplace and build a hiring culture that values efficiency, talent, and integrity.

Eoin Driver is the global vice president of talent at Indeed.

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The opinions expressed in commentary pieces are solely the views of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of  Fortune .

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The Assignment with Audie Cornish

Every monday on the assignment, host audie cornish explores the animating forces of american politics. it’s not about the horserace, it’s about the larger cultural ideas driving the american electorate. audie draws on the deep well of cnn reporters, editors, and contributors to examine topics like the nuances of building electoral coalitions, and the role the media plays in modern elections.  every thursday, audie pulls listeners out of their digital echo chambers to hear from the people whose lives intersect with the news cycle, as well as deep conversations with people driving the headlines. from astrology’s modern renaissance to the free speech wars on campus, no topic is off the table..

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Vice President Kamala Harris thinks about everything as a lawyer first. That's an observation CNN Senior Reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere has made after many interviews with the Veep. Audie talks with Dovere about how Harris has deployed her prosecutorial skills against Wall Street CEOs, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and even President Biden in a debate moment that nearly derailed his campaign. And they talk about how she is using those same prosecutorial skills this election year, especially around the issue of abortion.

Dovere is the author of “Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump.”

Dovere: Harris is making unprecedented Black outreach efforts as Biden campaign looks to her to bolster support

© 2024 Cable News Network. A Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All Rights Reserved. CNN Audio's transcripts are made available as soon as possible. They are not fully edited for grammar or spelling and may be revised in the future. The audio record represents the final version of CNN Audio.

job interview assignments

8 Ways to Create AI-Proof Writing Prompts

C reating 100 percent AI-proof writing prompts can often be impossible but that doesn’t mean there aren’t strategies that can limit the efficacy of AI work. These techniques can also help ensure more of the writing submitted in your classroom is human-generated. 

I started seeing a big uptick in AI-generated work submitted in my classes over the last year and that has continued. As a result, I’ve gotten much better at recognizing AI work , but I’ve also gotten better at creating writing prompts that are less AI-friendly. 

Essentially, I like to use the public health Swiss cheese analogy when thinking about AI prevention: All these strategies on their own have holes but when you layer the cheese together, you create a barrier that’s hard to get through. 

The eight strategies here may not prevent students from submitting AI work, but I find these can incentivize human writing and make sure that any work submitted via AI will not really meet the requirements of the assignment. 

1. Writing AI-Proof Prompts: Put Your Prompt Into Popular AI tools such as ChatGPT, Copilot, and Bard 

Putting your writing prompt into an AI tools will give you an immediate idea of how most AI tools will handle your prompt. If the various AI chatbots do a good, or at least adequate, job immediately, it might be wise to tweak the prompt. 

One of my classes asks students to write about a prized possession. When you put this prompt into an AI chatbot, it frequently returns an essay about a family member's finely crafted watch. Obviously, I now watch out for any essays about watches. 

2. Forbid Cliché Use

Probably the quickest and easiest way to cut back on some AI use is to come down hard on cliché use in writing assignments. AI tools are essentially cliché machines, so banning these can prevent a lot of AI use. 

Equally as important, this practice will help your students become better writers. As any good writer knows, clichés should be avoided like the plague. 

3. Incorporate Recent Events

The free version of ChatGPT only has access to events up to 2022. While there are plugins to allow it to search the internet and other internet-capable AI tools, some students won’t get further than ChatGPT. 

More importantly, in my experience, all AI tools struggle to incorporate recent events as effectively as historic ones. So connecting class material and assignments to events such as a recent State of Union speech or the Academy Awards will make any AI writing use less effective. 

4. Require Quotes

AI tools can incorporate direct quotations but most are not very good at doing so. The quotes used tend to be very short and not as well-placed within essays. 

Asking an AI tool for recent quotes also can be particularly problematic for today’s robot writers. For instance, I asked Microsoft's Copilot to summarize the recent Academy Awards using quotes, and specifically asked it to quote from Oppenheimer's director Christopher Nolan’s acceptance speech. It quoted something Nolan had previously said instead. Copilot also quoted from Wes Anderson’s acceptance speech, an obvious error since Anderson wasn’t at the awards .  

5. Make Assignments Personal

Having students reflect on material in their own lives can be a good way to prevent AI writing. In-person teachers can get to know their students well enough to know when these types of personal details are fabricated. 

I teach online but still find it easier to tell when a more personalized prompt was written by AI. For example, one student submitted a paper about how much she loved skateboarding that was so non-specific it screamed AI written. Another submitted a post about a pair of sneakers that was also clearly written by a "sole-less" AI (I could tell because of the clichés and other reasons). 

6. Make Primary or Scholarly Sources Mandatory

Requiring sources that are not easily accessible on the internet can stop AI writing in its tracks. I like to have students find historic newspapers for certain assignments. The AI tools I am familiar with can’t incorporate these. 

For instance, I asked Copilot to compare coverage of the first Academy Awards in the media to the most recent awards show and to include quotes from historic newspaper coverage. The comparison was not well done and there were no quotes from historical newspaper coverage. 

AI tools also struggle to incorporate journal articles. Encouraging your students to include these types of sources ensures the work they produce is deeper than something that can be revealed by a quick Google search, which not only makes it harder for AI to write but also can raise the overall quality.  

7. Require Interviews, Field Trips, Etc. 

Building on primary and scholarly sources, you can have your students conduct interviews or go on field trips to historic sites, museums, etc. 

AI is still, thankfully, incapable of engaging in these types of behavior. This requires too much work for every assignment but it is the most effective way to truly ensure your work is human- not computer-written. 

If you’re still worried about AI use, you can even go a step further by asking your students to include photos of them with their interview subjects or from the field trips. Yes, AI art generators are getting better as well, but remember the Swiss cheese analogy? Every layer of prevention can help. 

8. Have Students Write During Class

As I said to start, none of the methods discussed are foolproof. Many ways around these safeguards already exist and there will be more ways to bypass these in the future. So if you’re really, really worried about AI use you may want to choose what I call the “nuclear option.” If you teach in person you can require students to write essays in person. 

This approach definitely works for preventing AI and is okay for short pieces, but for longer pieces, it has a lot of downsides. I would have trouble writing a long piece in this setting and imagine many students will as well. Additionally, this requirement could create an accusatory class atmosphere that is more focused on preventing AI use than actually teaching. It’s also not practical for online teaching. 

That all being said, given how common AI writing has become in education, I understand why some teachers will turn to this method. Hopefully, suggestions 1-7 will work but if AI-generated papers are still out of hand in your classroom, this is a blunt-force method that can work temporarily. 

Good luck and may your assignments be free of AI writing! 

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AI-proof writing prompts

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5 ai prompts for educators using chatgpt and google gemini.

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In a world of artificial intelligence, a new type of educator has emerged.

AI-savvy teachers are armed with the power of carefully crafted prompts for tools such as ChatGPT and Google Gemini. These innovators are quietly revolutionizing their classrooms. Curious to uncover the secrets of their success, I asked them to send me their favourite prompts, and I have picked five of the most potent.

Stick around until the end for a bonus sixth prompt that delivers crazy results.

Prompts For AI Educators

The educator prompt generator.

A big problem for anyone using AI is knowing what to ask it. We all need inspiration in order to unlock its full potential. Why not get the AI itself to offer that inspiration?

Matthew Wemyss , assistant school director at Cambridge School of Bucharest has developed a groundbreaking prompt that empowers educators to discover novel ways to integrate AI. Here's Wemyss' prompt:

“As an expert in AI-driven education with a specialization in formulating prompts for Generative AI, you recognise the profound impact and responsibility of implementing AI in educational settings. Keeping in mind the ethical implications. Ask me for the year group, subject and learning objectives for my lesson. You will then offer recommendations on integrating Generative AI prompts into my lessons to deepen understanding, ensuring transparency, fairness, and privacy. Your focus will be on platforms like ChatGPT and text-to-image generators. When creating scenarios where generative AI assumes the role of a character or object, you will also provide example prompts. These prompts are designed not only for effective role embodiment but also to maintain respectful and unbiased interactions during the session. You will encourage open discussions on the ethical boundaries and best practices when deploying these AI tools in the classroom.”

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Social and Emotional Learning has emerged as critical for student success, according to a comprehensive review by Joseph A. Durlak and colleagues. Many educators struggle with effectively incorporating SEL into their lesson. Dr. Marina A. Badillo-Diaz , a professor at Columbia University School of Social Work, has developed a simple yet powerful prompt to help teachers generate targeted SEL ideas.

"Generate a list of SEL skill lesson ideas focusing on [enter skill] for [enter grade] grade students."

Mock University Interviews

Putting AI into the hands of students is powerful. Amin Teymorian , head of Computer Science at Dulwich International High School Suzhou, has crafted a prompt to prepare them for the critical moment of college interviews.

"Your role is to emulate an Oxbridge/Ivy League professor specializing in [Subject]. Your demeanor is friendly and patient, yet traditionally academic, fostering a respectful and serious interview environment. Begin by discussing personal statements and then delve into deeper topics, in line with current studies. Your questioning style should encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, while maintaining a supportive atmosphere. In case of unclear queries, seek clarification first, then make educated guesses or suggest topic changes if necessary. After providing an answer to a technical question, you should naturally progress to a closely related issue within the same topic."

AI-Adapted Reading Materials

A huge challenge for many educators is trying to meet the diverse learning needs within a classroom. Jennifer Verschoor , an EdTech leader at Northlands School in Buenos Aires, has developed a powerful prompt that enables teachers to adapt reading materials to various levels.

“Provides strategies for adapting reading materials to different levels in a [specific subject] class for students of [student age].”

Transforming Traditional Assignments

The AI tools at students’ disposal now render many traditional assignments ineffective. Educators must change their approach and be more dynamic. Collaborating with AI to solve problems is a new power skill. Jason Gulya , an English professor at Berkeley College, believes in transforming traditional assignments into dynamic project-based Learning experiences. His compelling prompt empowers teachers to create student-centered projects that foster critical skills and motivation.

“[Role] You are an educator with a decade of in-the-classroom experience as well as a firm grounding in strong pedagogical principles. You believe in student-centered learning experiences that provide students with control. You are a follower of Daniel Pink's idea that people are motivated by autonomy, a quest for mastery, and a sense of purpose. You work those ideas into your assignments. [Instructions] I will provide you with a traditional assessment (such as a paper). You will go through the following steps, marked as [Step 1] to [Step 3]. Do not move on from one step until it is completed. Do NOT write [Step #] in any of your responses. Simply go through the steps, without telling me which one we are on. [Step 1] You will ask me for the traditional assignment. I will provide it. [Step 2] You will provide 3 ideas for a Project-Based Learning assignment, based on the traditional assignment I provided you in [Step 1]. You will write these exact words, "Which one would you like me to work out in more detail? Or would you like me to generate 3 new options?" [Step 3] If I asked you to generate 3 new options, do that and move on to [Step 4]. If I asked you to give more details about one of the 3 options you've already given me, then provide me with a full outline of the assignment. This will include a full write-up of the assignment for students and a grading rubric (use concrete, specific criteria. format it as a table). Then, you are done. Ask me if there is anything else I want. [Step 4] Keep going until I say I am satisfied with one of your options. Then, provide me with a full outline of the assignment. This will include a full write-up of the assignment for students and a grading rubric (use concrete, specific criteria. format it as a table). Then, you are done. Ask me if there is anything else I want. [Details] When generating the alternative assignments, you will stick as close as possible to the principles of Project-Based Learning (PBL). This means creating an assignment that is constructive, collaborative, contextual, self-directed, and flexible. Essentially, it should invite students to own their own learning and apply course principles to a personal project or passion.”

AI Is Here To Stay

AI's transformative potential in education extends beyond conventional tasks.

Harness the power of AI, design thinking and personality archetypes to create a virtual 16 person innovation group. Present a problem and watch as the AI embodies diverse perspectives to navigate each stage of the design process. The result? A detailed, practical solution that can help revolutionize the educational landscape.

“We are going to do a group design thinking process. I want you to act as all 16 people in the group and the expert facilitator. Each person represents one of the Myers-Briggs personality types (ESTJ, ENTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ, INTJ, INFJ, ESTP, ESFP, ENTP, ENFP, ISTP, ISFP, INTP & INFP.) I will present a problem and I would like the full group to go through all of the design thinking stages as a group. You do not need to present each stage to me. I want to see the one detailed solution you have decided upon. The problem: [Insert here]”

Never stop with a single prompt when using a tool such as ChatGPT or Google Gemini. Just like talking to a colleague, a conversation will always uncover more detail and understanding.

Share these powerful AI prompts to help educators and homeschoolers embrace the power of AI.

Dan Fitzpatrick

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