I am looking for a job and have applied to a number of positions. One employer 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 the test was estimated to take between 6 and 8 hours and that, provided the results met with their approval, I would be paid for my work.
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. Additionally, they want SVG icons to change color on certain data values, and some data represented differently than how it's structured in the database.
Loooong story short, this took a 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).
I was told that after completing the test I should commit my changes to source control... Hmm, OK. I followed directions. And after committing the changes, I was emailed a response. The SVGs weren't colored right, there was 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 the employer comes back with more bug fix requests.
All my work is apparently going into a production application. I noticed a few anomalies in the code where it looked like others had coded all of one functionality but hadn't touched anything else.
Am I just being used for cheap labor? Even if they pay me the promised 50 dollars an hour for 6 hours, I have committed about 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, but I have never taken one during which I worked on code destined for production. I have never taken a test where I implemented a feature that was in the pipeline for development, and I have never taken one that took 4 rounds and a total of 20+ hours. I get the impression they are using their developer test to field some of the functionality on the cheap.
Do I have the wrong impression? And is this testing protocol appropriate?