SINGAPORE: After a Gen Z jobseeker refused a task as part of his job application process, his would-have-been employer posted part of the conversation on X (formerly Twitter).

The employer, who goes only by m.stanfield on the platform, posted the following on April 23. In the conversation, the employer tells the applicant to take the financial modelling test, which is the next step in the process.

The employer claims that the Gen Z applicant answered, “This looks like a lot of work. Without knowing where I stand in the process, I’m not comfortable spending 90 minutes in Excel.”

The employer then replied, “Well… I can tell you where you stand now.”

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Needless to say, the applicant did not continue with the process, much less get the job.

The conversation posted online has since been viewed nearly 8 million times and received over 1,500 comments. When he received pushback from commenters, m.stanfield defended his position by explaining the test.


– build a DCF (Discounted Cash Flow)

– tell me if you like/dislike the investment

If an analyst can’t hammer that out in 90 min, they’re not the right person,” he wrote.

He was also asked whether the applicant knew the modelling test was part of the process. To this, he replied, “Absolutely. One of the first things discussed in the interview is the steps in the process.

I’m hiring an investment analyst. Underwriting potential real estate investments is the bulk of the job. No one was surprised when I sent the test.”

X users then came at the employer, saying that if he would not even pay for the 90-minute task, then the job was unlikely to be one where employees’ time is valued.

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Unmoved by people’s responses, m.stanfield wrote, “A response I would have actually enjoyed would have been: ‘I’m good at this and do it work for free. Give me $1,000 and I’ll break this deal down in amazing detail.’

Would have gladly paid and probably hired.”

Unfortunately, too many people said they have been burned by experiences wherein they’ve put in labour for free, only to see their ideas or work used uncredited elsewhere.

“I don’t mind doing work for free to show what I can do. But last time I did this, the company ghosted me after I spent a weekend on a take home. So I don’t mind this stance.

If you don’t like me protecting my time now, you’re not going to like me working for you anyways,” wrote one X user.

“Why would someone accept spending 90 mins of their time jumping through hoops when they might not even get the job? If you are interviewing this person they presumably already have sufficient education/experience, yes?” wrote another.

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Quite a number of X users expressed solidarity with the applicant, including one woman who wrote, “I stand with that applicant. I also congratulate them on their professionalism when pushing back on that massive red flag.

How hard is it for you to tell a candidate where they stand in a process before asking them to work for free?” /TISG

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