An unreasonable request?
I was supposed to complete all the interviews yesterday, and technically I did. I finished up with two more companies, but one with which I had believed I was finished, emailed to ask for a presentation.
At 2:11 p.m. the following came in:
Our team really enjoyed meeting with you, and would like for you to go through one more step. This step will involve preparing a presentation with a voiceover, like a webinar, on how you will build a Developer program for [us], and your approach on the role, if given the opportunity.
The team is looking for no more than 25 slides, around 15 minutes in length. Please complete in video format and email to [the CTO] by end of day, Monday, 2/21.
Good decks don’t grow on trees
Anyone in Developer Relations knows a good 15 minute deck isn’t just something you dash off. And when getting a job rests on it, you’re going to be even more meticulous. At bare minimum you’re looking at a couple of days of work. I mean I have to do more research on their product and developer ecosystem, what their competitors are doing, and chew on that research to get a good idea in my head of specific actions I would take and programs I would enact. Developer communities are not fungible widgets. They are living organisms. You have to tread carefully or you’ll come off as untrustworthy. Being genuine and credible is the foundation for all Developer Relations.
Then once I have my ideas, I need to refine them, put them in a coherent structure, and ensure I have a good flow from beginning to end. Then I have to script it out; what text is on the slides and what I’ll say during each slide. Then I have to edit for time. Then I have to design the slides. Then a run-through to see how it sounds, then fixes to all the little bits. Lather, rinse, repeat, until I’m happy it all looks good, sounds good, and flows well. Then another time check. Then set up to record the presentation, possibly a couple of run throughs to get the best take. Then it’s done.
We’re looking at at least 2-3 days of concentrated work and basically 4 days in which to complete it.
It’s a goddamn holiday weekend
My kids are off for mid-winter break next week because Monday is Presidents Day in the U.S.
They come to me near the end of Thursday with this request to do 2-3 days worth of work by Monday… for free. They don’t even ask “hey are your kids off for the holiday weekend? Got any plans?” In fact they don’t ask if I have the bandwidth to do ANY project on short notice… for free… much less a big one. They just hand me an unexpected project, a tight deadline, and expect me to do it.
Is this reasonable? Is this respectful?
Is a last minute project a reasonable request? Does it become less reasonable when it turns out it’s a big project and they want it on a tight deadline? Does it become less reasonable when that last-minute big project on a tight deadline will eat into your holiday weekend? Does it become less reasonable when that last-minute big project that would eat into your holiday weekend isn’t paid?
Is it respectful that they simply set a tight deadline and hadn’t checked if I had availability to do it? Is it respectful that they didn’t even offer to pay given the potential value this document could have for their company even if they didn’t hire me?
Basically they’re asking me to deliver $3k worth of work on short notice… for free… and if they like it enough, they might give me a job.
So I told them to go fuck themselves
Let me expand on that.
To do this well, because I would not half-ass it, would be a 3-4 day job. You’ve given me 4. That not only includes giving up my weekend, but it is not respectful of any other commitments I may have in that 4 days, merely assuming I can drop everything and get right on this. Furthermore, you are essentially asking me to do a $3,000+ consulting job for free by dangling the possibility of being hired full time in front of me.
I find this all HIGHLY insulting. I would have been glad to have a 1 hour brainstorm session on it. But this request goes FAR beyond reasonable.
I withdraw my candidacy.
One thing I didn’t say was “if you’ll throw an assignment like this at me on a Thursday afternoon with a Monday deadline on a holiday weekend when I don’t even work for you, how badly will you treat me when you’re signing my checks?” Basically all the parts of this were red flags for one bad possibility or another.
So, am I overreacting or are they wrong? Feel free to comment.