are "tests" common when seeking employment?

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  06 June 2004
Quote: Originally posted by implicit
which company are you working for jaco? (just wondering because you're in london)

and what happens with those people who are hindering you now? firing them end of the month? can you tell more about how they are hindering? too slow or unable or what exactly?

my personal opinions remain mine only, absolutely unrepresentative, and I'd rather chew my own foot then make any names of some perfectly decent people just because they found themself in an alien pipeline.

if anybody who wasn't fit for the job (unless they lied, which is not the case here) slipped in, it's only human resources you can blame, not the artists or the company at large. and sometimes, especially during the last rush for a movie, you often have to get down and risk employing somebody you've never worked with (that also brings up the subject of how important your reputation is), and you have to stick to whatever you have, because another roll of dice could come up with an even worse figure or you simply don't have the time to swap people around.

here some people are slowing down the process simply because they just can't delivery the expected quality in the timeframe imposed (perfectly reasonable requests since other people are meeting much tuffer schedules).

it happens in ALL productions that, if you hire by CVs and reels only, you are gonna end up with a percentage of people that don't meet actual production expectations, and if 500 people shops only working long term can afford it, for facilities that hardly top 100 artists or less it's a real killer.

I went thru this in more then a company and hear the same thing from people who worked in ILM, DD, Weta, MPC and a lot of other facilities that delivered outstanding work.
and maybe one day somebody will say the same about me.

Very often it's not about being good or bad at what you do, it's simply not fitting a particular pipeline, and pipeline adequacy or not you can only determine it with a handsonwork test sadly.

there's a reason if small shops still survive and if reputation is so important for us freelances.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  06 June 2004
jaco, can you please answer my question?

(which company in london are you working for?)
  06 June 2004
no, sorry.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  06 June 2004
well, i found out where, mr. f.
dont worry, i wont tell.
  06 June 2004
I don't understand the attitude about not wanting to take tests. An artist can spend thousands of dollars on education, other training, equipment, software, and time - when does it become a big deal to spend time exploring the possible relationship between yourself and an environment that you may be spending lots of time at?

The primary marketable ability of any creative person is the ability to interpret and communicate what they experience. An artist is paid to "see" things. Business owners have a general idea of things they want communicated, how fast, etc.

Think of a program such as ZBrush. ZBrush is pretty much universally recognized as a really nice program, but I'd feel kind of silly if I threw lotsa money at Pixologic and ended up with a program that doesn't fit in my pipeline very well, because I'm not doing the sort of work that would be better if I owned ZBrush. So, I download the demo version and learn more about my possible relationsip to ZBrush. This is something that the advertisements/videos/etc on the website could not help me with.

Nothing wrong with business owners downloading a trial version of You Artist 2.0, just make sure that they don't use the trial version for their commercial projects.
  06 June 2004
Quote: Can anyone give examples of other industries that demand the applicants do unpaid work to prove themselves?

I think you'll find that this is standard for industries where employees need specific skills/talents. Look at the NFL: players that will be in the draft go to "combines" where they undergo a series of tests, such as bench press repetitions and a timed 40-yard dash. Free agents or players who will be traded often go to teams and have private workouts, where they showcase their stuff. Do they get paid for any of this? No. The teams simply want to make sure they are getting the right player that will fit in on their roster. It's the same way with the animation industry.. a superb demo reel isn't enough anymore because of people who pass off others' work as their own.
  06 June 2004
Actors have to do screen tests. When I first was hired by CNN as an editor many years ago I had to take an editing test. Needless to say though at no time should the results of said test ever profit the ones giving it. That is, a modeling test for example should be of something already modeled by someone in house that the test results can be compared with. The test should not be something that will actually be used, leaving you working for free and without compensation. That would be pretty sleazy.
  06 June 2004
i dont have a problem with a compny giving me a test, if its part of the process of gettign hired. so be it. granted what jason said about them taking some consideration into your available time... would be great. cuz it would realyt suck if you had to take the test during a time your family is over from another country or wife is giving birth.. or whatever.. Is it realy hard for them to change a date on a piece of paper that says when you recieve-do-submit your test? if so then its a lose lose situation if you aregood at what you do.. life is full of them lose lose deals.

on a lighter note. the this thread has helped open my eyes to more aspects of the field and the hiring proccess. thanks for the information all


ps ;adam crockett- haha i like your contributions to halo on your demo reel hahaha good times
Chad Fox
  06 June 2004
This thread gave me another perspective of how it's like out there. I'm still a student and personally would not mind doing a test assignment to demonstrate my skills and my efficienty. The thing is, I can only look at it from my point of you, because I haven't experienced having to do any tests yet and I still have everything to prove. Therefore I look at the professionals point of you and they've got a point, Jason Osipa's situation was very tough and it just put me on my guard for the future.

Follow the null and you will find the answer...
  06 June 2004
the real test is to see if you complain about the test or not...
Drop by for free arrogant post-modernism (and games):

Written words:
  06 June 2004
Quote: Originally posted by noisewar
the real test is to see if you complain about the test or not...

Yeah, the "chump" test.
  06 June 2004
Look at it this way: a pre-employment test where you click a mouse around for a few hours is probably somewhat less degrading than a pre-employment test where you have to pee in a cup.
Brian "balistic" Prince
"tessellaters gonna tessellate"
digital art / hi-tech soul music
  06 June 2004
Quote: Originally posted by balistic
Look at it this way: a pre-employment test where you click a mouse around for a few hours is probably somewhat less degrading than a pre-employment test where you have to pee in a cup.

Done both...


Gimme a cup.

  06 June 2004
Interesting discussion, all derision aside.

Here's another question:

How long would you spend on a test with the following requirements:

10,000 poly soldier model for 1st person shooter
UV Coordinates
Texture maps: Color, Bump, Spec, Opacity 1024X1024
Has to look good enough to get you the job, of course.

I'd say that would take me at least three 8 hour days.

How about everyone else?
  06 June 2004
I would say that to a large degree, performing try-outs and tests is related to your experience and portfolio level. If you are new to the industry, have little experience, and your portfolio seems sketchy, expect to be given tests.

On the other hand, once you have a bit of mileage under your belt and a well established body of work I would be find it very odd to be asked to do a test for an employer. More than likely, a company that asks a clearly well established person for a test may be sketchy themselves and indicates a type of environment you probably wouldn't want to be in anyway.

Some top companies have a cocky "we are hot shit and you have to jump through our hoops becuase you are lucky just to be here" vibe. But others treat potential emplyees with respect and assume that if you are a working professional and they dig you in the interview, they give you the benfit of the doubt. The way a company treats such things early on is a big indicator of the managerial climate of the company. One such company is ILM and one is WETA , but I'm not telling which is which

And yes, top companies DO steal artist's work and generally not play fair on occasion (both physical assets and intellectual property) . I know several people who did "tests" that wound up being used to pitch the companies' next potential projects.. of course they never got hired, and the companies weren't even looking to hire.. they just wanted free concept art and cgi..

- TJ
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