Doing The Job To Win The Job: Exploitation Or Good Idea?

hard working outside computer
flickr: creatingkoan

We covered this idea a while back from the employer perspective—basically, the idea that an employee who proves him/herself on a tryout or by doing unpaid work is one an employer can be sure about.

In this week’s Ask The Headhunter Q&A, headhunter Nick Corcodilos says a reader wrote to tell him that this advice is “intended for the exploitation of the less mentally adept.”

We wondered, too, which is why we’re throwing the question out there. It totally sucks to put together a bunch of writing samples or marketing materials or whatever and then still not get the gig. And it’s certainly true that at lower levels of the job spectrum, it’s common for “employers” to solicit samples with the worst of intentions. But does “doing the job to win the job” encourage the same behavior in otherwise legit companies?

Corcodilos’ rejoinder is that one doesn’t expect to be paid for going on an interview. It’s treated as an investment, and so should doing the job to get the job.

His readers seem to agree, but do you?