Who Pays For Interview Expenses?

airplane in flight

Should a potential employer pay to fly an interviewee across the country?

Our gut reaction is to say “yes, always,” but as usual, Allison Green shows the situation is more nuanced.

If an employer really wants to see you, the manager will absolutely pay for your travel expenses.

If you really want to see them, which is a possibility, you might be stuck paying for your own way.

Green says:

“I recently hired for a position where I had two out-of-town candidates come in for interviews. I never even raised the issue of reimbursement and neither did they. I simply said, ‘We’d love to interview you next week if you can get to D.C.’ It wasn’t a specialized job, I had more qualified local candidates than I could interview, and while I was happy to consider them as candidates, I didn’t have sufficient financial motivation to pay to do it.

“Now, in other cases, where my candidate pool is more limited, I assume from the start that I’ll probably have to pay to bring in non-local candidates. It really comes down to the nature of the job and the depth of options facing the employer.”

If you’re in this situation, she says, you’re more than within your rights to ask for a phone interview “to make sure that I’m a strong match” before you shell out for a plane ticket. Or to ask, “Could you give me an idea of how strong a candidate you think I am?” The answer could help you decide how much of a gamble you’re making.

Travel expenses: just another casualty of the recession and the employer’s market.

photo: JoshuaDavisPhotography