Do Companies Pay for Interview Travel Expenses?
When you are interviewing for an out-of-town job, the company may, or may not, offer to pay your travel expenses.
When the job market is competitive, there are typically many applicants for every open position and the company may have a sufficient volume of applicants who live in close proximity to their campus. In this case, you may only be given an interview if you are willing to personally foot the bills for your travel and hotel expenses.
When Companies Pay for Job Interview Travel Expenses
However, for top-level / C-level positions, many tenure-track jobs in academia, or jobs where the company needs to actively recruit candidates, there is much more likelihood that the employer will arrange for travel at their expense or reimburse all or some of your expenses.
Check the Job Listing
Before you apply for a job in a new location, double-check the job posting. It may specify that travel and relocation expenses are not provided. If that's the case, don't expect (or ask) the employer to pay.
If you have been actively recruited by a company, as opposed to finding a job listing and applying yourself, you can expect the company to know where you are located and to cover the costs of interviewing you. This often happens when a company has hired an executive search firm or recruiter / “headhunter” to source the best talent for any given job.
For other applicants, the interview invitation you receive may mention that your expenses will be covered.
Asking for Reimbursement
Not sure who pays? If you don't have any information to the contrary when you are asked to travel for an interview, it is acceptable to ask if the company will be making the travel arrangements for you.
If not, ask if there is a possibility of being reimbursed for all or part of the costs you incur to get to the interview.
Alternatively, if you are deeply interested in the job but lack the funding to finance your own travel, you might also ask whether the employer would be willing to interview you through Skype. Online interviews are becoming more and more common, since they can save employers time and money while extending and optimizing their pool of top candidates.
Do keep in mind that if the company isn't paying your travel expenses to get to the interview, it probably won't pay to relocate you either. So, you may opt to decline the interview if you can't afford to get there or to move. Before relocating to any out-of-town or out-of-state job, of course, you should use salary and cost of living calculators to determine whether a significant move like this would be financially viable.
What Travel Expenses Are Covered?
The travel expenses that are covered depend on the company's policy.
In some cases, all your expenses including airline fights, hotels, and meals are covered. Another common practice is for a company to pay for your lodging as long as you pay for your transportation. Potential employees are more likely to be expected to cover their own travel expenses for entry-level jobs and jobs for nonprofit organizations.
Tax Deductible Travel Expenses
If the employer doesn't cover your expenses, some of your travel expenses may be tax deductible. If you travel to look for a new job in your present occupation, you may be able to deduct your travel expenses. Long distance telephone charges related to your job search may also be deductible. Here's more information on tax deductions for job seekers.
Job Search Tips When You're Moving
Need help finding a job when you're relocating? Here are ten tips for finding a job in a new city when you're moving. If you’re on the ball and begin searching for a new job well ahead of your move to a new city, you may be fortunate enough to be hired by an employer willing to contribute to your moving expenses with a relocation package. Such packages may include transportation costs to find a new home prior to the relocation, household moving costs, real estate commissions for buying or selling a home, real estate closing costs, and / or job search assistance for a spouse or partner.