- being a carpenter and being interviewed to do a whole house remodel . . . .the client says, Hey, do my bathroom FOR FREE and if I like it, I will hire you to remodel the rest.
- being a photographer and being interviewed for a wedding . . . the client says, Hey, take pictures of my cousin's bar mitzvah FOR FREE and if I like them I will hire you for the wedding.
- being a doctor and doing a history on a new patient. . . .the patient says, Hey, repair my hernia FOR FREE and if you do a great job, I will let you take out my gallbladder.
No? None of these sound plausible? Well, if you're a freelance writer, you had better get used to it.
Oh yes, we are considering you for this job. Your resume is extensive. Your interview was flawless. BUT. BUT . . . we want you to write a sample for us. It will take you HOURS. You will spend the best part of a day working on it BUT . . . .you are also going to do it FOR FREE. Yes, and IF we like it, we will hire you. Will we pay for the sample? Heck, no. That is just hours you have to donate to prove you're worthy.
I understand that companies have to hire carefully and they have a LOT of applicants to weed through, I really do. But for me to make time to do your sample, I have to push aside paying clients and that seems a bit foolish. If you would offer to pay for the sample, even if you want to base it on payment only if I am hired for the job, that would be really professional.
Unless, of course, you know a carpenter that would be willing to come and do part of my remodel for free. Then, we can talk.