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I am a professional web developer that currently works full time doing just that. Recently I decided I wanted to expand my portfolio and do a little freelance work. I found an ad on Facebook for a local small business looking for a web manager to work part time on their site. I put in my application and later received an interested email back as well as a number that I was asked to text to follow up and set up and interview as the person was leaving the office. Due to my full time job hours being difficult to work around we decided to just do a FaceTime interview as a preliminary before later doing an onsite one if it goes well.

I was then asked to look through the website before the interview so we would be able to discuss what direction I would like to take it if I were hired. While looking at it I immediately saw large design changes I would like to make so I am considering doing a few quick mock ups and emailing it the interviewer so they would have a visual aid for the upcoming FaceTime interview. However as you can tell this is a very informal very preliminary interview. Would it come off as going to far or trying too hard or something like that to do that work and send it before the interview? I don't want to turn something that started as an informal critique of their site to a complete rewrite before they even hire me.

Note: It would not be much/hard work for me, I would actually enjoy it. So I'm not worried about the potentially wasted time, just how it will come across.

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    "I was then asked to look through the website before the interview so we would be able to discuss what direction I would like to take it" - Since they asked you to do this, then coming in with ideas does not sound "too far". Of course, if you propose to rewrite their entire site, that's also potentially more expensive for them. If possible try to show a priority to your changes - high-impact/critical stuff first. – Brandin Mar 11 '16 at 9:13
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Make the mock-ups, but don't email them, bring them with you on the interview.

You don't want to give them free consulting services, which is actually a VERY common dirty trick that some places use. BIG NAMES do it as well as small companies.

  • Well that is the issue, I would normally bring in a hard copy for the interview but this interview is over FaceTime video calling. So I can't give a hard copy. The next interview (if there is one) is with the boss, no longer the web manager, so the mockups would likely be useless for that one. – DasBeasto Mar 10 '16 at 19:51
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    I believe you can share your screen over face time, I would just share your screen during the interview. That way you can talk through your ideas and field questions. – Professor Allman Mar 10 '16 at 19:55
  • If you can't share the screen for some reason, be prepared to also send the files on request, e.g. through email or through a built-in file transfer system in the chat program. – Brandin Mar 11 '16 at 9:11
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    I went with this strategy, glad I did too. The interview was very informal and it would have been very out of place to have sent them already. – DasBeasto Mar 14 '16 at 14:41
  • @DasBeasto Good luck, I hope you get it! – Retired Codger Mar 14 '16 at 16:17
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Keep it to yourself until further in the interview process. Describe some of your potential changes to them before actually handing over mock-ups.

Most of all, however, listen to their expectation for the role before you jump to conclusions. They may be looking for someone to maintain their site, and not be interested in redesigning it at all. You don't want to jeopardize your chances with them by taking too much initiative.

Wait for the interview to happen and see how it goes. Get a feel for their expectations, and whether they're being fair/honest with you. Once you know more you may choose to disclose your ideas.

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