How to approach not getting paid for your work

I applied to a job where I got through to the next stage, which is a task. They asked for 3 campaign pitches that can be used in July along with social media content to go along side. I sent all that over and within 12 hours, I see a post on their instagram, with a caption that almost 100% follows one of my briefs and they've promoted it as an AD on Instagram.

How do I approach this situation?


  • I think @Rachelle Bruce said it perfectly. And to echo what others have also said: this is not OK. Unless you signed something that gave them permission to do this, then it's just downright bad behaviour.

    Try not to let the power dynamic stop you from standing up to this bad bahaviour. Just because they're offering work or a job doesn't mean they get to do whatever the hell they want. It's a delicate situation and we can't tell you exactly what to say, but certainly approach it with tact and confidence.

    The fact that they asked for free work as part of a hiring process is a massive red flag for me.

    Good luck with it all, I hope you get a result you're happy with.
  • It might have been nice if they’d said something like:
    ‘…we love this, could we use it in one of our Instagram ads?’
    The early launch is curious, it might be worth getting a clearer picture by innocently asking them to explain how this all works.
    I wouldn’t worry too much though; you’ll have a thousand more ideas.
  • Hi Giu,

    That is unacceptable. I hope you didn’t sign anything?

    Your reaction should based on what you want to achieve as a result. First things first confront them and you could let them know what you charge if they wish to use your work or simply ask them to take it down or you could offer that they are free to use as long as you got the job.
  • It sounds like they are being really cheeky and I think this is not ok. Did you sign anything? Maybe in the fine print they stipulated their right to freely use the delivered material. You should contact them and address the issue. And if there is no good explanation, maybe reconsider if you really want to work for them. Good luck!
  • Contact them and be honest. Say that you have seen just seen the post and explain why it's literally the same as what you did for the task. And say something along the lines of - I can see that you like my work but as I haven't received a job offer, I would like to discuss payment for this work or removal of said post (worded professionally of course). Good luck!

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