I became unemployed in San Francisco and was looking for work doing product design.
I'm used to unpaid projects being a big part of the interview process. One potential client (a company that creates branded merch for various Tech companies), had me create 2 t-shirt graphics for a popular music festival. Then I had to create a tech pack for each design (measurements, pantones, other specs...).
I submitted the designs on a Monday and had the in-person interview on that following Tuesday. I thought it went fairly well, although it was a little weird.
Client: Hope you don't mind a bit of pressure. People cry at work here a lot.
Client: We like your designs. We'll get back to you soon.
In fact, they called me on my way home.
Client: Hey, we'd love to have you come in one more time for a full working day to see how you'd fit in and if you could handle different types of projects. Could you come in tomorrow?
Me: Hi! I would love to. However, I'm going to be out of town visiting my family. The trip has been planned for a while, but I'd be happy to do a project over the weekend or come in on Monday.
Client: Could you fly back on Friday to come in or cancel your trip? We'd really like to hire someone by Friday.
Me: Well, that would cost me a lot of money, but let me see what I can do.
I had no intention of actually doing that but I needed to buy some time to figure out if this was worth it. By the time I got home, I received an email from the company.
Client: Hi, we've agreed that it's ok for you to do this project for us while you are out of town. You have to submit this no later than Thursday for us to make a decision by Friday: There is a huge hackathon event happening and you have to create 3 different designs for merch for Company A, B, C, and D
All very different tech companies.
The merch should include t-shirts for hackers to wear along with fun giveaways and potential prizes. Include graphics and tech drawings. Please turn in no later than Thursday.
Keep in mind it is now Tuesday evening. I am flying on a plane tomorrow (Wednesday) and it is due Thursday.
I actually felt guilty turning down a job when I needed work but they were so disrespectful of my time I had to say no. Even if I did do it any I work I did in that short amount of time would have been crap...they didn't even respond to my polite decline email.
I found a much better job soon after.