Should you get reimbursed for interview travel expenses?
I’ve helped a number of job searchers who had to travel a fair distance to get to an interview.
In most cases the hiring manager I was dealing with would cover reasonable interview expenses.
In some cases it was a fairly easy answer especially when it involved flying a person in. In this case, I have never had an experience where a company required someone to fly in for an interview and didn’t pick up the costs ie. I have never had a job searcher have to pay out of their own pocket to be flown in an interview.
A reasonable company would cover the costs for flying someone in for an interview, I believe, if they were really interested in the person and were interested in gaining a reputation as a reasonable company.
It doesn’t take long for companies to get a reputation for doing things the “wrong way” and this case, being cheap if they force potential employees to pay for their own airfare, hotel, etc!
But what if you need to incur interview travel expenses for out of town interviews that you drive to?
This is probably a case of dealing with this situation on a case by case basis.
Of course I’m not talking about requesting interview travel expenses for driving across town for an interview and expecting that the interviewing company will pay for your gas or parking. I wouldn’t expect that although I have heard of some hiring managers who offer to take care of parking expenses.
I’m talking about a situation where you have to drive a longer distance, perhaps several hours or longer, and one that might require you to stay overnight.
I had one client who was a 4 hour drive away from where I worked and since most of the job candidates I was sending this client lived in my city, most of these people were taking an 8 hour trip (return) to attend the interview.
Some had to go back for a second interview.
This company generally only covered driving expenses for people who had to drive back for a second interview since they tried to interview people over one day to avoid having to ask the interviewee to come back again.
Would I recommend asking a potential hiring company if they would pick up your interview travel expenses if they don’t offer to do so?
Unfortunately this question is not one that necessarily has a black or white answer because it really depends on specifics. The best thing you can do is look at things on a case by case basis and use common sense.
You don’t want to lose out on a job for asking to be reimbursed for $20 in gas, do you?
If the travel costs are significant and you’re working with a recruiter, you might ask them if their client picks up travel expenses and get their help. If you’re dealing directly with the company without a recruiter, it will probably be a judgment call on your behalf.
Mind you if these travel costs are significant and the company doesn’t offer to pay or refuses to pay for them, it might be a not-so-subtle indication of how this company treats people.
We don’t live in a perfect world unfortunately.
Certainly if you need to be flown in for an interview I’d be surprised if the company did not pick up the expenses but if you’re driving in, the company may treat things on a case by case basis or simple expect you to cover them.