I sent my portfolio as part of a job application for a small software company. Everything seems to be going well and we've arranged to meet.

They've asked for additional sample work in the languages they use that my portfolio doesn't have too many examples of.

However, they've also asked for some art-based work, which is listed on my CV, but the job doesn't include any artistic- or media-based requirements.

What reasons could they have for asking for that kind of work? How should I ask them why they want that kind of work without coming across in the wrong way?

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    perhaps they occasionally need art done and are thinking that if they hire you, even though the specific job you've applied to doesn't ask for that skill, they will be able to give you art work to do from time to time. Why would you not want to provide samples? Are you prepared to do a bit or artwork for them should they want it? – Kate Gregory Jun 15 '15 at 14:35
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    I'd say it's likely they are just testing you. As Vietnhi said, if it's on your resume it's fair game. – NotMe Jun 15 '15 at 14:41
  • This way I can post on my resume that I can speak 40 different languages fluently, read 20 pages of text per minute and have a perfect memory. When somebody will ask me to speak in Mandarin, I would say: 'hey, this is not relevant to my programming related work, I would not do this' – Salvador Dali Jun 15 '15 at 21:56
  • @SalvadorDali Hopefully few people would hire you for that role based solely on your polyglotism (of non-PLs). – OJFord Jun 16 '15 at 1:10
  • @OllieFord if a guy can fluently speak 40 languages and have a perfect memory, who know what he can learn in just one month. Anyway, my point is that if you wrote something - you should be ready to prove it, otherwise no point of writing it. – Salvador Dali Jun 16 '15 at 4:24

If you listed it on your resume, it's fair game. If you don't want to be asked about it, don't include it in your resume. Send in samples of your art work and ask them if the samples are what they are looking for. If that's not what they are looking for, they should tell you.

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    Being part of the hiring team where I work, we like to get a good overall picture of the candidate. As a programmer, who is not very artistic, I really like working with people who are, so while it may not be relevant, they may just be fascinated. – Bill Leeper Jun 15 '15 at 15:42
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    My last job was similarly fascinated by my brewing experience despite it having nothing to do with the job itself, and they spent almost as much time quizzing me about that as they did asking questions related to the job. They didn't ask me for "samples of my work" until after hiring me though, which I'm sure was a restriction imposed by their HR department :p In all seriousness though I think it contributed to getting hired because it showed I wasn't just another boring applicant. – thanby Jun 15 '15 at 16:28
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    It's also possible that they could use someone with artistic skills, but didn't advertise for them. If they think your art skills are good enough that may get you the job over other developers. – DJClayworth Jun 15 '15 at 18:38
  • What DJClayworth said. I know that I would personally value that skill in a developer. I wouldn't hire a developer just for that, but I'd certainly value it as a useful ability and give them extra consideration due to it, even if it weren't listed as a desired skill on the job description (which it very likely would not have been, since most developers, like me, tend not to be very artistically talented.) – reirab Jun 15 '15 at 20:36

As far as specifically how to ask about this, just being straightforward should be fine. For example:

I have attached some of my sample artwork that you requested. Out of curiosity, is graphic design something that I might be involved in if I were to work for your company? If so, is there any particular sort of graphic design that you had in mind?

I don't think anyone would find that offensive and they'll most likely happily answer you with the reason for their inquiry.

Additionally, if it's true, you could also include something about how being able to use this part of your talent on the job would make the position even more desirable for you. If that's not true, however, then obviously don't include anything to that effect.

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