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Engineering Engineering, should I show off work from my current job in an interview?

  1. Apr 8, 2012 #1
    Have kinda of an ethics question here. I work for company A and have an interview with company B. Company B would like to see examples of my work, which is mainly 3-D models of designs and technical drawings. However these things are technically the property of company A. Also I don't want to tell company A I'm looking for other jobs so I can't just ask them for their opinion on this.

    Would it be unethical for me to print some examples of the work I did for A to show off to B? Also its worth saying that the two companies are in separate industries and do not compete with each other in any way.

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2012 #2


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    The work that you have performed in the present organization (Company A) is proprietary to that company. You may not legally or ethically disclose proprietary information to another company (without permission of company A). If you have published any work in the public domain, then you may provide examples from that work.

    It is inappropriate for company B to request proprietary information from company A.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  4. Apr 8, 2012 #3
    It's probably not legal for you to do so. Company A owns the work, so you can't do it. If you can quickly come up with something that illustrates your abilities, then that would be useful.

    Also anything that you wrote for Company A that is publicly available should also be OK.
  5. Apr 9, 2012 #4


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    What astronuc and twofish said, but there may be a way to get around this. For example your company might produce sales catalogs or technical brochures (check out the company website!) which include detailed graphics. You could use material from there to help explain the specifics of the work that you personally did. If you get really lucky, you might some of your own graphics work has been published.
  6. Apr 10, 2012 #5
    I don't mean to hi-jack the thread but it sparked a question on similar lines. I have presented work from my previous positions (company A) in interviews, however, my work does not fall under the same design category. I've done a lot of work instructions and process descriptions generally for craftsman. i.e. These aren't new ideas, but descriptions of upkeep and maintainence for 50 year old equipment. Nothing that should be proprietary per se, but not necessarily publicly available. However, after reading this thread, it seems to me that the documents are still be the property of Company A. So would it still be considered unethical to disclose that sort of document in an interview?
  7. Apr 18, 2012 #6


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    I'd say print samples out, bring it to the interview, and let them browse over them, but don't let them keep them, and don't give them electronic copies. I don't see anything unethical about that. You could redact certain information if you deem it necessary.
  8. Apr 18, 2012 #7
    I wouldn't.

    One thing to remember is that if you are sloppy about revealing internal information from company A to company B, then company B is going to be worried about what happens when you move from company B to company C.
  9. Apr 18, 2012 #8
    If it's something that you can't let them keep a copy of, then it's probably better that you don't show the information at all. One other thing to remember is that the company you are interviewing for may prefer not to know the details of what you are working on.
  10. Apr 20, 2012 #9
    Whatever is generated on company time with company (intel, hardware, software, internal memo, documents, discussions, etc.) resources is a work product the company owns. Whatever information you learn from working at company A is theirs do release or not. I think company B would respect your insistence on maintaining the propriety of company A's product. Remember that your verbal discussion of company A work is as much a problem as written leaking. e.g. Imagine the response from an Apple, Microsoft, DoD, etc. if you discussed work you were doing that wasn't put into the public domain by the "owner." Remember the fuss over the leaked details of each of the iPhones, iPads, etc.? Information you leak (yes, it would be a leak) that isn't in the public domain can be used by company B to the detriment of company A. I would be surprised if you joined company A without signing a nondisclosure agreement, which is binding with force of law.

    Having sounded doom and gloom, there are things you should be able to safely discuss. In general terms you could discuss public domain work you've contributed to, skills you mastered, papers you've published or done the research for, etc. I have developed software products on my own time at my home and used them at work, as such, those things are mine, and I am free to discuss them. However, how my application is used at the company is still private. IMO, the bottom line, if you aren't sure, fall back on wanting to protect the proprietary nature of your work at company A. As twofish-quant said, you don't want company B to worry about you being a future leak.
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