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I recently interviewed at a well known internet company. It seems like they made a request for free work. This seems like a red flag to me and I'm not sure if I should waste anymore time with them. They also made me sign a NDA so the specifics of the request have been altered to be quite generic, IE not the real text of buttons etc. The NDA itself seems kind of sketchy already. I was given a timeline of two days to work on this assignment. The following request was made as part of the "take home assignment":

Using any language/framework write a set of automated UI tests that goes to a random section on http://anactuaproductionlwebsite.com (meaning every time the test runs it goes to a different section) on the homepage and does the following:  Verify that the section name in the URL after going to the section matches the section card on the homepage Verify the following elements are present on the page:

  • “Sign Up” button
  • “Random Item” and “Next Item”
  • “Send Text” button​
  • ​Verify video content is playing
  • Click the “Random Item” button three separate times. Verify that each time the button is clicked the user is brought to a new page by checking something of your choice How the project is organized and how the test is broken up is up to you.  Please send us your project in an archive format, e.g. zip, rar, etc…, or a link to your GitHub repo.
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  • How long will it take you, and how much do you want the position? They're the only two questions, really.
    – PeteCon
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 3:29
  • Whether or not I get the job seems irrelevant at this point. If this was really intended to see if I would do free work, and I end up getting the job, would I still want to work for them?
    – Alex Ch
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 3:44
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    Does this answer your question? Being taken advantage of in an interview?
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 5:26
  • If you want to do it.. do it via a private GitHub repo and include whatever license you are comfortable with assigning to your code, e.g. non-commercial use.
    – JeffUK
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 12:08
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    You have my permission not to do it. Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 18:01

2 Answers 2

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It seems very unlikely in this case that they are trying to get some free work done.

The likely reason why they asked you to use their production website could be that they just needed some website to ask you to demonstrate your skills, and they just chose the one that they own.

Apart from that, those tests that you mention are pretty basic, that they would already have long before they promoted their code to production.

Also, if they are allowing you to choose any language and framework, that's not what someone who wants to get work done would typically say.

When I interviewed for ThoughtWorks, they had a take home assignment too. It is what it says, just a way to assess your skills.

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  • The thing is, they don't really have anything. The recruiter was asking me things about Cypress like "what language is it in?" They also were saying they might use selenium or nightwatch or something else. The site is quite old and doesn't use a modern framework. There are a lot of inline javascript functions with the main body also inline.
    – Alex Ch
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 6:36
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    @AlexCh if you're asking if you should continue applying to a company that you don't want to work for, that's up to you.
    – JeffUK
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 12:11
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How does the task commensurate to the position you interviewing for? Tasks you would take if employed?
If not at all, or very indirectly - its Free Work.

If directly, there may be an actual test.

But functionality seems like usable and very open ended (can be altered for any website testing) one with flexible and changeable conditions.

I would suggest - if you can do the task - do it, put it on GitHub and license it under your name and MIT type license

if you cant - create a mock project / script with comments for actual functionality :)

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