I have been a freelancer on UpWork since 2017. I recently applied for a freelance opportunity in which the employer seeking to fill the role required a few assignements as part of the interview. Is this allowed by UpWork?
re: "Is this allowed? Employers to ask for sample work assignments from freelancers as part of interview?"
It is not allowed.
re: " I recently applied for a freelance opportunity in which the employer seeking to fill the role required a few assignements as part of the interview. Is this allowed by Upwork?"
It is a violation of Upwork ToS for a client to ask a freelancer to work for free.
But: I believe there are TWO possibilities here.
Not just one. The possibilities are:
a) This client is very new to using Upwork and does not understand all of the rules. This client is not necessarily a bad person. She simply made a mistake.
b) This client knows full well that she is doing something wrong. She doesn't care. She is trying to trick freelancers into working for her for free.
As a freelancer, how can you know for sure which type of client you are dealing with (a or be)?
Answer: You can't know for certain.
The good thing is:
It doesn't matter.
As a freelancer, I can respond the SAME WAY for either type of client.
Yes, I could do those tasks. I understand that these may be preliminary to starting the main work. Would you like to create an hourly contract for me to do this work? Or would you prefer to create a fixed-price contract for $50?"
The client will then do one of two things:
The client WILL create a contract to pay you for this work, or the client will NOT create a contract.
If the client is simply a scammer, the client will probably disappear immediately.
If the client is not a scammer but still doesn't understand the rules, or if the client is a particularly persistent scammer, the client will again ask you to do some tasks WITHOUT a contract. The client may claim that this is how she always hires freelancers. Or that all the other freelancers agreed. Maybe the client is lying about that. Maybe not. It doesn't matter. YOU don't work for free.
Anyway, if the client doesn't create a contract but persists, then you may explain:
"Yes, I totally understand. But those are Upwork's rules, not mine. Upwork prohibits clients from asking freelancers to work for free, and that includes test work. I don't want either of us to get in any trouble. Don't worry, though. The task is small and with my hourly rate it won't cost very much."
If the client hires you, then that's great. You are going to get paid to do work that you are interested in.
If the client does NOT hire you, then use the "Flag as inappropriate" link button the job posting page to REPORT the client for asking freelancers to work for free.
You may not go through all of these steps. You are NOT REQUIRED to go through all of these steps. In fact, you don't need to talk to the client AT ALL if you don't want to. You are NOT required to "give the client the opportunity to do the right thing."
This is what I personally do and what I recommend. But if you want to jump directly to reporting the client using the "Flag as inappropriate" link button, you may do that instead.
Regardless of exactly how you handle it (giving client the opportunity to do the right thing or immediately reporting) I STRONGLY URGE ALL FREELANCERS who are asked to work for free to ALWAYS do one of the following in the end:
- Get hired
- Report the client
If YOU personally do not end up getting hired, then you SHOULD report the client/job posting.
Clients should never be able get away with asking freelancers to work for free. It is ultimately the fault of freelancers if we let this happen. Upwork is UNABLE to police this on its own. It is necessary for freelancers to make sure that this doesn't happen. If clients are allowed to ask freelancers to work for free, it worsens the platform for freelancers. More importantly: It drags down the platform for real clients.