You have applied for a really great job and the prospective employer calls and says it wants to interview you, but it won’t be willing to pay your expenses. What now?
This is a really tough question. On the one hand, I am always reluctant to pay out-of-pocket expenses. Normally, I would be insulted and think that I would not even want to work for a company that would not pay my travel expenses. However, with the failing economy, I have revised my thinking somewhat. Some employers use this tactic to help the local candidates and test whether the outsider candidates are truly interested in this job.
Here are some of the questions I ask myself before deciding whether to pay my own expenses:
1. Is it a great job?
If it is not a great job, don’t bother. If it is a fabulous job, you may want to consider it.
2. What are my chances or odds?
When discussing an interview, I always ask how many applicants are being interviewed? I like to know my odds. Usually the employer’s rep tells me. If you are one of ten or twelve, I would probably pass it up. This is really a preliminary screening not a final interview. If you are one of three or four candidates, I would say you have a good chance all other things being equal.
3. Is there an inside candidate?
The conventional wisdom is that the inside candidate has the inside track on any position. That person may have the experience and knowledge since he/she is the number 2 person or has been appointed as the acting person in that position. There is also the possibility that the candidate who already works for the company is being given a courtesy interview and is not necessarily the top choice at this time. There is also the possibility that the candidate who already works for the company is being given a courtesy interview and is not necessarily the top choice at this time.You may want to check the employer’s blog or local newspaper articles to see what you can find.
4. What are the actual travel costs?
Determine your actual expenses. Maybe you can use frequent flyer miles. Perhaps $200 may be worth the investment or expense, but $600 is not. You will have to make that assessment.
5. Ask the company whether it will pay part of the expenses.
See if the company will split the costs or you could pay the airfare and ask the employer to pay for your hotel and meals. I had an interview where the employer would pay $400.00. That basically paid my airfare and I paid all the rest of the expenses myself. I did not get the job, but I was glad I went. I had a learning experience and spent a night in Las Vegas.
6. Don’t forget the tax deduction
If you decide that you are willing to pay the expenses, remember to keep good records so you can claim a tax deduction for job hunting expenses.
If you follow these tips, you will be interviewing like a pro