I am looking for a job and have applied to a number of positions. One of them responded, I had a pretty lengthy phone interview (perhaps an hour +) and they then set me up with a developer test. I was told that this test is estimated to take between 6 and 8 hours and that, provided it met with their approval, I could be paid for my work on it.
That gave me some pause, but I endeavored. The developer test took place on a VM accessed via RDP. The task was to implement a search page in a web project that requests data from the server, displays it on the screen in a table, has a pretty complicated search filtering scheme (there are about 15 statuses and when sending the search to the server you can search by these statuses) in addition to the string/field search. They want some SVG icons to change color on certain data values, they want some data to be represented differently than how it is in the database, etc.
Loooong story short, this took one heck of a lot longer than 6-8 hours. Much of it was due to the very poor VM that I was running on (Visual Studio 2013 took 10 minutes to load, and another 15 minutes to open the 3 GB ginormous solution).
After completing, I was told to commit my changes to source control... Hmm, OK. I get an email back that they thought that the SVGs could have their color changed differently, they found a bug in this edge-case, there was an occasional problem with this other thing that I never experienced, etc. So I am 13-14 hours into this thing now, and I have to do bug fixes. I do them, and they come back with some more.
This is all apparently going into a production application. I noticed some anomalies in the code that was already in there where it looked like other people had coded all of one functionality and not anything else that I could find.
Am I just being used for cheap labor? Even if they pay me the promised 50 dollars and hour for 6 hours, I have committed like 18 hours to this thing now. If I bug fix all of the stuff they keep coming up with, I will have worked at least 16 hours for free.
I have taken a number of developer tests. I have never taken one where I worked on code that was destined for production. I have never taken one where I implemented a feature that was in the pipeline for development (it was planned for, and I implemented it through the course of the test). And I have never taken one that took 4 rounds and a total of 20+ hours. I get the impression that they are using their developer test to field some of the functionality, that they don't have time for in their normal team, on the cheap.