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What happens when companies say they're going to pay for my interview?

 
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I've always wondered about this -- and it's probably a no-brainer for alot of people in here. But, I would like to know what to expect when companies say that they're paying for me to fly out for an interview.
For example, does the company arrange/pay for everything (e.g. rental car, hotel, plane ticket) up front? Or would the interviewee pay for everything up front and get reimbursed at some point? Anybody want to fill me in? I'd love to be able to convincingly pretend I've done this before should it actually happen at some point.
 
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It probably depends on the company. Usually in my experience they promise and don't deliver.
When they do deliver they'll ask you for receipts and pay out those.
What you're talking about seems to be more than a trainticket though, best ask them. I guess they'll make arrangements for you, many companies (especially large ones) often have special deals with hotels and transport companies.
 
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Legitimate companies will pay for the expenses incurred thruout the whole process. This is usually handled by HR people and the decision makers (supervisor/manager) won't even care about it unless you ask them (which i don't recommend). You shouldn't worry about this or mention it to them. After the interview process is done, regardless of the outcome, you can ask for procedures for reimbursement from the HR people if you have paid in front out of your pocket.
Good luck!
 
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I've had some book a plane ticket and hotel for me, although not meals--except the lunch they took me, too. In other cases, I save all receipts and mail them in. Sometimes they have a budget limit for your receipts.
For college recruiting (e.g. open house weekends), they will sometimes just hand you cash to cover expenses, e.g. they pay for your ticket and hotel and hand you $20 (this was back in the 80s) to cover your dinner.
Ask HR, they handle this. As Tony noted, it's rarely a problem with legit companies. I've never had a problem with small, medium or big sized companies in this respect.
--Mark
 
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I've done that once. My arrangements covered everything from departure to touchdown back home. Flight was paid for, I got a van ride to their office, lunch voucher to the campus cafeteria, van ride back, etc.
On the whole, if companies are starting to offer that in general it's a good sign. When companies are willing to spend that kind of money to acquire talent, it shows they are thinking carefully about choosing from the talent pool.
 
Nathaniel Stoddard
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What would you guys say to the following situation:
A company loves Joe (name has been changed to protect the hopeful) and wants to interview him for some position halfway across the continent. Company says they can interview Joe over the phone, but they may want to see him face-to-face before hiring. In such a case, Joe will have to pay to fly out there. If Joe ends up being hired, the Company will reimburse him. If Joe doesn't get the job, he doesn't get anything back. Oh, and the desired start date is all of 5 days in the future, so Joe has to pay quite a bit for a ticket.
Of course, Joe is actually just dealing with a recruiter. Joe is now wondering if that changes anything. You know, Joe thinks being unemployed was a lot simpler when he didn't have any leads.
 
Michael Ernest
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Mike thinks NathanielJoe should thank the company for their consideration, but remind them it's expensive to fly on a few days' notice. Joe should remind said company that it's customary for companies to offer at least partial coverage for such costs. Joe feels like he has to "bet" on getting this job when he's already travelling into unknown territory to present himself, and if nothing else reducing the costs would make him feel more comfortable about his chances.
Mike thinks Joe should also offer the company to keep relocation expenses to a minimum (assuming they're footing the bill) for some consideration on the interviewing expenses, which are not cheap.
 
Mark Herschberg
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I agree with Michael. It seems dubious--although I know some small/startup companies don't really have much of a budget for it.
The recruiter makes it seem more dubious. I would want to talk to the company directly.*
*I usually get little benefit from the recruiter after the initial introduction, but that's because I like to handle my own salary negoitations. Some recruiters want to handle everything themselves, and if you try talking to the company directly, they may feel threatened (i.e. cut out and won't get paid). If s/he is apprehensive just make it clear you are trying to expedite communications, but will keep him/her in the loop.
--Mark
 
Nathaniel Stoddard
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The recruiter did mention who the company was, and it isn't exactly some mom and pop place. I'm not sure if saying would/could come back and bite me in the bum, but it's certainly in the top 5 in its industry. So, I'm sure they have the money and could afford it.
Does that seem to imply I wouldn't have much to lose by insisting they pay for such an interview if they insist on having it? I'm basically fighting for a junior position here, so I'm sure Mr. Recruiter has about another zillion people he could make happy instead of me. Perhaps Joe's just getting a bit paranoid. If I felt I had a really good chance at getting it, and I had $500 sitting in my checking account, I guess I'd go for it. But as I said, I'm fighting for every bit here, and I'm poor. I'd hate to get over there only to get the "we'll keep you on file in case hell freezes over" speech.
 
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Why not accept the phone interview. If it looks like a good fit, you have better leverage to ask the company to pay for some or all of the cost of flying you out there if they want to see you face to face.
 
Michael Ernest
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In these kinds of talks, I think it's really important to reserve the power of "yes" and "no" for special occasions. Since this is effectively a negotiation, you should negotiate: present what you feel you need to make this interview successful and mutually beneficial. This company can signal their preliminary intentions to you by offering to cover expenses.
It will be your travel time to and from their business, and your time spent to prepare yourself for questions they will ask. These are non-trivial costs, in my view: your time is important to you and that's all that needs to be said. It's not unreasonable to say that if this company is asking you to sacrifice your time and come their way, that they cover costs.
I was in your position at one time, Nathaniel, but it was far enough from where I am now that I can only advise what to me, today, is the 'right' thing to do. Demonstrate your character and principles to yourself as well as others. Bottom line, your time can't be replaced. Their money can.
You might not even get this interview if you stand your ground on this matter of protocol, but you'll win either way if you can be candid, honest, and unwavering on what you think is right.
[ April 21, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
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I've been flown about the country 6 or 7 times on interviews. I never had any trouble getting reimbursed. Usually I did not have to put much money out. Just show identification at the airline counter or car rental counter and sign here. Often your last stop will be with HR. They will ask for your reciepts and cut you a check on the spot or give you cash.
 
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
In these kinds of talks, I think it's really important to reserve the power of "yes" and "no" for special occasions. Since this is effectively a negotiation, you should negotiate: present what you feel you need to make this interview successful and mutually beneficial. This company can signal their preliminary intentions to you by offering to cover expenses.
It will be your travel time to and from their business, and your time spent to prepare yourself for questions they will ask. These are non-trivial costs, in my view: your time is important to you and that's all that needs to be said. It's not unreasonable to say that if this company is asking you to sacrifice your time and come their way, that they cover costs.
I was in your position at one time, Nathaniel, but it was far enough from where I am now that I can only advise what to me, today, is the 'right' thing to do. Demonstrate your character and principles to yourself as well as others. Bottom line, your time can't be replaced. Their money can.
You might not even get this interview if you stand your ground on this matter of protocol, but you'll win either way if you can be candid, honest, and unwavering on what you think is right.
[ April 21, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]


well said --eom
 
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Nathaniel Stoddard:
- First, are you talking about a recruiter or an acutal company?
- Interviewing with a recruiter (head-hunter, job-agency) can be done over the phone. Head-hunters won't be flying you out just to get your resume.
- Regarding companies. They usually pick up the tab. Some pay up front, others want you to submit a voucher/travel form. Most will pay for the big ticket items (flight, rental car, hotel) up front and have you submit a form.
- Hewlett-Packard deviated from the norm, in that I had to pay for a $1500 flight w/hotel (last minute from Denver to Philly) up front. They called on Wed night, told be to be in Philly on Thur morning. When I arrived, I filled out an expense form and they had a check waiting for me before I left the interview.
- I would not have put so much $$ up front if interviewng for a mom & pop shop. But I knew Hewlett-Packard wanted to make a major move that day - so I jumped at the opportunity. Also know they would reimburse me with no problems.
- Ended up scoring a US$150K/yr job with them -- but laid off about 8 months later (Jan 2002). Was a great job - travel all over USA teaching Java, JSP, Servlets & HP-Bluestone server software.
---------
- Even in today's market - the Fortune 500 boys are still paying for interview expenses. Most, are still paying for relocation. You may have to be aggressive (after the offer), but can get the $$ for relocation.
John Coxey
 
Nathaniel Stoddard
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John,
They're all recruiters doing so for "real" companies. I get the impression that $$ that they spend flying candidates around the country to interview comes out of their profit. The upside to all this though is that I think I'm going to enjoy having the phone interview more. Flying all over the place would probably just freak me out. Oh, and I would have to buy a suit. From the sound of it, I think most recruiters would rather pressure employers into making a choice based on a phone interview rather than rule out a candidate for not being able to fly in for one.
We'll have to see how it goes. I'm looking forward to having a reason to change my signature.
 
John Coxey
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Nathaniel:
- In my past experiences, every company that made me an offer had me come to the office (suite & tie) for at least one interview.
- I've flown all over the USA for interviews. Actually, it's quite fun.
- I usually will ask to stay an extra 2 or 3 days (I will pay the extra hotel bill, etc) . I use the excuse that I want to check the area out/etc.
In reality, I bring my fly-fishing gear and hit up the local streams.
- Lots of times the air-fare will be lower for the company. Airfares go down quite a bit if you stay over a weekend and fly back the next week. The company will sometimes give you the extra money by picking up your entire hotel bill. Again, the HR folks (not the interviewing manager) will work out the details.
- Every company that I have flown out to interviews with, has let me stay a few extra days. And again, I use it as a "vacation" to do some sight-seeing and fly-fishing.
--------
- Have I ever gone on an interview just to go fishing? Not yet.
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- Regarding the suite & tie thing. Start saving some $$, because more than likely you will be going to the office for at least one face-to-face interview. Oh, don't foret you'll need $$ for a new pair of shoes and a haircut.
- Gotta run. It's 5:00AM Monday morning. Gotta drag myself over to work in a few min.
Later,
John Coxey
 
Jeroen Wenting
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It is also possible that the recruitment company is paying you for the trip and they're paying for this from the fee paid for by the customer (the company you'll be talking to).
In such cases the recruitment company may try a scheme like paying only if you get hired to get income over your back as their fee will usually be lower (or zero) if you're rejected by the customer.
By having you pay your own trip (which they will of course bill the customer for) and reimbursing you only if you get hired (thus they get paid) they make money always...
 
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