Out-of-Town Job Interviews: Who Pays for Travel Costs?

Going on far-away job interviews are worth the effort, but who pays for travel costs? If a company contacts you and requires an out-of-town interview, the company should pay for all your travel costs. If you made the contact, however, the issue is murkier. A cool way to find out who will pay travel costs for you to travel for a company-site interview is to finesse the question.

Here are two examples of questions you might ask the company:

  • Should I contact your company’s travel department or do you use an outside travel agent?

  • Will your company be making the travel arrangements for me?

If you’re on your own for travel costs, your decision may be difficult. Here are some possible solutions to make the best of the situation:

  • If the interviewing location is in a pleasant spot, consider combining your trip with a little vacation (ask your tax adviser if the travel is deductible).

  • If you’re a starving college senior or a new graduate, you can get away with pleading poverty, saying you’d love to come see them in a city far away but that you spent your last dime getting the quality education that qualifies you as a candidate for employment by the target company. They may just decide to pay for (or help you with) your travel costs.

  • Take stock of your situation and determine whether you can make the trip work: Do you have a friend or family member who will welcome you as an overnight guest? Can you get a cheap flight? Can you interview with other prospective employers in the area?

Schools and nonprofit organizations may have a policy requiring all candidates to pay their own interview travel expense. Don’t reject the interview invitation outright; accept it. You can always cancel later if you find that you are unable to make the trip.

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