I have a client that is requesting that I complete a very small sample of the requested work to vet my candidacy. I wasn't sure whether or not this qualifies under the "test project" policy or not. I'm new and I don't want to accidentally break any rules. The job is **Edited for Community Guidelines**and the client is requesting that before moving forward with me, he would like me to complete a few second's worth of the project (1.5 minutes) to give him an idea of whether or not I can do what he needs. Can I do this?
What is a violation is not you doing free work, but the client asking for it.
Asking for free work is a violation of Upwork ToS. No exceptions.
And, bless those clients who tell a freelancer how long it should take to complete a certain task.
Kindly report the client using the flag as inappropriate button beside the job post.
But if you have the time, and if by a stretch you think the client is worth your time; if he asked for the free work in messages, you may simply remind him that in line with Upwork rules, you'll be happy to complete a test project as soon as a contract is set up (fixed price or hourly) to pay for the test project.
re: "From what I can see, if I am reading the posting correctly, this is the first job they have posted."
Then Daniel.... This means that it is your responsibility to help client understand how to use Upwork properly.
Please don't train this client to expect freelancer to work for free. Please let them know that they can get the sample work done for a small fee (such as a $5 fixed/price fee), or by using an hourly contract that allows for manual time, and you will log ten minutes of time. Your hourly rate is $30. If you charge for ten minutes of time, that would cost the client $5.
You may explain that it is a violation of Upwork ToS for client to ask freelances to do "pre-work" for free, and you don't want the client to have any trouble with their Upwork account for doing something like that.
If the client sets up a contract for you and pays you, then that will be fine. No need to report them.
If the client does not set up an official contract, then click on the "Flag as inappropriate" link in the top right hand corner of the job post and report them for asking for free work.