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What are your thoughts on making a company sign an NDA when asking you to do a case study for an interview? Really feel like these interview case studies are unfair towards applicants who spend time cracking their heads on original ideas that might be stolen, without a job offer.

likefunny
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Over 20+ years in business I have reviewed hundreds (possibly thousands) of spec cases based on actual problems at my company. I saw some great work and in some cases spectacular work and made some great hires. The number of times anything delivered during the interview was actually used by the company was precisely 0. Amazing work on an interview case is VERY different from the real world and rarely applicable. Great ideas are all relative and subjective based on candidate's POV. I can't tell you how many times candidates were convinced they had a novel solution - a solution our company tried and discarded years ago. As VCs like to tell entrepreneurs: "If you think you are the only person in the world with this solution... its either a bad solutuon or you haven't done enough competitive research to see who else has the same solution. "

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likehelpful
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Let’s call it what it is. Unpaid work. (20 years here, too.) I said yes to unpaid spec when I was young and didn’t know better. Today, I always say no to free spec. Any place that respects good talent will pay for spec. Are they unsure and want a test? Pay me to do the test. It’s not complicated. Time is money and I will not donate one minute of it for free. We work for businesses, not charities. If the business is an actual charity, they can get some free work. If my hard stance means I lose out on the gig, so be it. Better places always pay.

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Unfortunately I can't imagine companies looking at this very favorably. They'll likely think the candidate is going to be a high-maintenance employee and decide to move on with others who have no problem doing the work without any conditions in place.

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likesmart
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I think so too, which is why I'm thinking to offer 1 suggestion for free, then 2 more if they sign the NDA. Essentially, if you're the real deal, sign it and you'll get my other ideas.... otherwise, let's not waste each other's time.

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CD- thanks for sharing that is awesome and hits home

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I suppose I can make light of it. Prior to presenting the ideas, I'll serve up NDAs for a quick signature and go. No big deal. It's a quiet way of saying "here's my standard practice". If they refuse to sign, I'll proceed presenting anyway.

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I mean this is still a thing with full time employment. Any IP I create during my time with Uncle D is theirs per the employment agreement I signed. Unfortunately the firms can just say “Deal with it or find somewhere else to work”

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The situations aren’t exactly the same, agreed. The outcome still is though - employers have the power. No potential employer is gonna sign an NDA as a condition of your interview. They might if you ask, but not if you present it as a “sign this or I’m not interviewing” thing

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