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Would you pay to fly yourself to a job interview?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Relevant info:

-Not a big-timer position, but not entry level either
-Found out about the position through an agency, would be temp for ~3 months then full time if all goes well
-They contacted me, having been provided my resume through an acquaintance
-They did not know prior to contact that I'm currently out of state, but I made them aware of that fact in my initial response
-I am told that it is currently myself and one other person being considered for the position, though of course they are still open to receiving new applicants

My current situation:

-Am now in the middle of a contract position; initially was set to run through the end of January but I've recently been extended an additional three months (through end of April) with an offer of full time employment likely at that time
-Since I'm a contractor, obviously I'm already losing out on a day's pay to go on the interview.
-I gave them a salary range ~20-40% higher than my current position. Based upon a salary range from another posting I found for the position (after having done some digging online), I expect the offer to be on the lower end of the request. Cost of living is higher in the area I'd be moving back to (worth noting that I do still have a house there, which is currently on the market.)
-It is my intent to eventually move back to the northeast, though I'm happy with the current position and would have no issues staying where I am for a few years.

My thoughts:

-Am confident in my ability to get an offer should I go on the interview. Obviously, a $350 flight weighed against the potential for a 20+% pay increase is a net positive expected value. However, this company has a reputation of being a bit....frugal, and the fact that they're not willing to pay for the flight does nothing to change that impression, and causes concerns about what else they won't be willing to pay for should I become an employee.

-That aside, my thinking is that it's the agency that should be paying for my travel - if they're being paid to fill the position, travel expenses for applicants should be built into their fee structure. I don't have much experience here, but the agency that contacted me regarding my current position paid to fly me down, not the company where I work.

Thoughts/experiences/suggestions?
post #2 of 56
Do it! I once did not, and the regret still eats away at me.
post #3 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemagic View Post
Do it! I once did not, and the regret still eats away at me.

+1. $350 is not chump change, but the interview/offer could open up an opportunity for you to consider.
post #4 of 56
Think of the $350 as a good night a a strip club!
post #5 of 56
I did it on my second job, when I first moved to Melbourne. I got the job and never looked back. I figured that it was me looking to move (as opposed to the company looking to move me) therefore it was on me to get myself to where they needed me. Later roles that have seen me move countries and cities, the company has always covered my travel costs for interview and relocation, but in those cases, it has been companies seeking to bring me in, rather than me looking for ways out.
post #6 of 56
The $350 is probably deductible from your taxes for that year as job-search expenses. http://www.job-hunt.org/article_tax_tips.shtml This is from a few years ago but you get the idea.
post #7 of 56
Do it. You do not want to regret it years from now.
post #8 of 56
I would do it, but I would also ask if they will split the cost.
post #9 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyquik View Post
The $350 is probably deductible from your taxes for that year as job-search expenses.

http://www.job-hunt.org/article_tax_tips.shtml This is from a few years ago but you get the idea.

I thought that was changed and you now actually have to be unemployed at the time of your expenses for them to qualify.

Anybody here an accountant or tax attorney?
post #10 of 56
I am neither a tax attorney nor an accountant, but here's some info: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p529/ar02.html
Quote:
Job Search Expenses You can deduct certain expenses you have in looking for a new job in your present occupation, even if you do not get a new job. You cannot deduct these expenses if: * You are looking for a job in a new occupation, * There was a substantial break between the ending of your last job and your looking for a new one, or * You are looking for a job for the first time. Employment and outplacement agency fees. You can deduct employment and outplacement agency fees you pay in looking for a new job in your present occupation. Employer pays you back. If, in a later year, your employer pays you back for employment agency fees, you must include the amount you receive in your gross income up to the amount of your tax benefit in the earlier year. See Recoveries in Publication 525. Employer pays the employment agency. If your employer pays the fees directly to the employment agency and you are not responsible for them, you do not include them in your gross income. Résumé. You can deduct amounts you spend for preparing and mailing copies of a résumé to prospective employers if you are looking for a new job in your present occupation. Travel and transportation expenses. If you travel to an area and, while there, you look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct travel expenses to and from the area. You can deduct the travel expenses if the trip is primarily to look for a new job. The amount of time you spend on personal activity compared to the amount of time you spend in looking for work is important in determining whether the trip is primarily personal or is primarily to look for a new job. Even if you cannot deduct the travel expenses to and from an area, you can deduct the expenses of looking for a new job in your present occupation while in the area. You can choose to use the standard mileage rate to figure your car expenses. The 2009 rate for business use of a vehicle is 55 cents per mile. See Publication 463 for more information on travel and car expenses.
Looks like it needs to be a job, relatively, in the same career field/occupation. This presumes he itemizes his deductions anyway (a big presumption).
post #11 of 56
Fair enough, good research skills, sir.
post #12 of 56
I wouldn't do it. I run a professional IT recruiting and staffing agency. I have placed over 300 candidates all over the US, since 2005 and all in IT. (Salary ranges between $50-$150k with avg about $75k. I never had a candidate ever pay for his or her own travel and hotel expense. In every case my client paid for the interview visit. Its total bullshit for an agency or an employer to not pay for you. period. Good candidates are always in demand despite the recession. True, there are a lot more mediocres in market, but if you made it to the final two, than you must be good. I am sorry to tell you but the recruiting business is a pretty sleazy one. Most agencies are greedy and don't give a shit about you. You are just a number, a number on the recruiter's list of sendouts/interviews/placements sheet. Sorry, but its a sad fact.
post #13 of 56
When I was interviewing for jobs about a year and a half ago the companies all flew me out to their locations and paid for hotel/car rental/expenses where applicable. There seem to be no advantages to the new position. You spend money for a possibility of a temp position? That's no better than you currently have, in a position you (seemingly) like. I don't see why you should spend the money to go out there when the prospects of your current position seem pretty good.
post #14 of 56
A candidate should NEVER pay for interview travel. Period.

Even a "cheap" company recognizes this to be a virtually universal standard. If they really refuse to pay for your airfare, then you may have to consider the possibility that the hiring manager doesn't consider you to be a priority candidate after all. If you travel on your own dime, you reveal yourself to be overly eager (euphemism) to get hired, which definitely works against you in the selection process. Even if they decide to give you an offer, you can count on that offer being lowballed due to your enthusiasm (again, euphemism).

Finally; if this is how they treat candidates, just imagine how cheap and small they treat employees once they're in the door. The interview process is courtship - in both directions.
post #15 of 56
Thread Starter 
Thanks to those who have shared their experiences. Have to say I was a bit surprised that so many (at least at first) were strongly in favor of paying. The tax deduction is something I hadn't considered.
Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T View Post
I did it on my second job, when I first moved to Melbourne. I got the job and never looked back. I figured that it was me looking to move (as opposed to the company looking to move me) therefore it was on me to get myself to where they needed me. Later roles that have seen me move countries and cities, the company has always covered my travel costs for interview and relocation, but in those cases, it has been companies seeking to bring me in, rather than me looking for ways out.
Fair enough; I view my situation as being much more similar to your second paragraph than to your first. I agree that someone hoping to make a move and applying for a position that a company has only advertised for locally should expect (potentially) to have to pay. Since they reached out to me, I expected otherwise in this case.
Quote:
Originally Posted by asimbaig View Post
I wouldn't do it. I run a professional IT recruiting and staffing agency. I have placed over 300 candidates all over the US, since 2005 and all in IT. (Salary ranges between $50-$150k with avg about $75k. I never had a candidate ever pay for his or her own travel and hotel expense. In every case my client paid for the interview visit. Its total bullshit for an agency or an employer to not pay for you. period. Good candidates are always in demand despite the recession. True, there are a lot more mediocres in market, but if you made it to the final two, than you must be good. I am sorry to tell you but the recruiting business is a pretty sleazy one. Most agencies are greedy and don't give a shit about you. You are just a number, a number on the recruiter's list of sendouts/interviews/placements sheet. Sorry, but its a sad fact.
This response is more along the lines of what I expected when I posted the thread. That you posted the salary ranges is helpful as well. Has it been your experience that it's more likely for the agency or the employer to cover travel? If the other candidate is from a competing agency (I don't know whether this is the case or not), I suspect that with a bit of prodding the agency will cover my flight. I presume they will make substantially more then $350 should they place me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
When I was interviewing for jobs about a year and a half ago the companies all flew me out to their locations and paid for hotel/car rental/expenses where applicable. There seem to be no advantages to the new position. You spend money for a possibility of a temp position? That's no better than you currently have, in a position you (seemingly) like. I don't see why you should spend the money to go out there when the prospects of your current position seem pretty good.
You're correct that my prospects in the current location seem good. That said, if given an offer withing my requested range I'd likely accept the position back home. It's worth noting that as I have a home/family in the area, my travel costs are limited to the flight (won't require a hotel or car). My plan at the moment is to contact the recruiter tomorrow and reiterate my interest in the position, but express my surprise that travel is not covered, as this has been standard in my past experiences. I'll remind them that I'm happy to sacrifice a day's salary, but that I'd like to see a similar commitment from the agency/employer. edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by medtech_expat View Post
A candidate should NEVER pay for interview travel. Period. Even a "cheap" company recognizes this to be a virtually universal standard. If they really refuse to pay for your airfare, then you may have to consider the possibility that the hiring manager doesn't consider you to be a priority candidate after all. If you travel on your own dime, you reveal yourself to be overly eager (euphemism) to get hired, which definitely works against you in the selection process. Even if they decide to give you an offer, you can count on that offer being lowballed due to your enthusiasm (again, euphemism). Finally; if this is how they treat candidates, just imagine how cheap and small they treat employees once they're in the door. The interview process is courtship - in both directions.
These are my exact concerns.
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