It has become a norm in our industry for companies to throw art tests at pretty much every candidate that applies for an art position(and others for that matter). I personally got a bunch of them, some I've passed, some I've failed and some I've refused to take.
The argument is that tests are a good way for companies to filter candidates that would match their artistic vision, and to tell from thousands of resumes, who are the candidates that are the most serious about getting the job...but seriously, every other industry is doing just fine recruiting people without having to somehow test them, they also happen to have people that are confident about the hiring process and have a good eye in finding the right hires.
Case in point:
Let's say you are applying for jobs, you work fulltime and have a family. Let's say you get answers from 5 of the companies you've applied to, and the first thing they send you is a test that takes about ~35 hours to finish and to top it off you have to complete it within a week. That's about 19 days of work, working at a rate of 8 hours a day. This is simply impossible to do, and even if you can pull it off, your work will suffer. Your best options at this point is to drop at least 3 test and focus on maybe one or two, narrowing down your choices and options. Keep in mind that you haven't even been given the opportunity to talk to someone to even find out if this position is right and were bluntly asked to invest your personal time and effort into it. To me this is disrespectful.
On the other hand, I do not believe companies should totally stop sending art tests to all potential candidates, but I believe they need a radical change in the way they are handled.
Here are my suggestions:
- Tests should not take over 2 days maximum to complete, these candidate happen to have a life too.
- Tests should only be sent to candidates after they are given a phone interview with HR and an idea about how much their salary would be IF they get the job.
- Tests should only be used when the art director/lead is not completely sure about the candidate, but can see the potential in him. This especially applies to entry level positions.
- Only Art directors/ art leads should pick the candidates that need to take an art test and not HR.
- If the company rejects your application after you send the test, they should have the decency to give you some constructive feedback, instead of the soulless generic HR email..
I believe these suggestions can have a serious impact in the hiring process.
The main point I'm trying to drive home here is, there needs to be mutual respect in the hiring process. In an industry that is now flooded by desperate graduates who are trying to get their foot in the door, developers who were just hit by layoffs and companies that are overwhelmed by applications, all this in an industry that is pretty young and still trying to figure itself out, its time for this process to grow up.
I believe we all need to bring up these subjects more often, not just accept whatever is thrown at us out of desperation and I hope by engaging such a discussion the hiring process will "level up" for both parties.
Have you taken an Art Test? Share your experience in the comments.
Wishing you all the success in your career.