If you’re hunting for a job, expect to do this for free

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These assignments should take up to two to three hours to complete, recruiters said. It should be a task that’s reflective of what the employer would normally want if that person were hired.

“The takeaway from the candidate’s experience is an understanding of what they are getting themselves into,” said Solo. “The intensity of it has a lot to do with what you might expect as an employee.”

Companies can cross the line when it comes to requesting this work.

In one case Solo handled, a hedge fund requested a candidate to draw up a financial model — which can require extensive work in Excel — and to write a report to accompany it.

It was a 30- to 40-hour project assigned on Labor Day weekend, and the applicant needed to submit the completed product on the actual holiday, Solo said.

There was no pay for the assignment, and the candidate didn’t get the job.

Applicants facing a take-home project that’s onerous to complete need to think deeply about whether they’re a fit for the company.

An employer with unrealistic expectations in the interview process will probably be just as demanding on a day-to-day basis.

“That assignment gave them an indication of what kind of place this is,” Solo said of the hedge fund applicant. “But someone who really wants that job and feels it might be the right move for them will do it.”

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