should you be paid for the time you spend interviewing internally?

A reader writes:

Quite a few years back, I was assisting my manager with interviewing candidates for an office manager position. One of my colleagues, a non-exempt employee, interviewed for the job. She was told she did not have to clock out for her interview. I asked my manager why that was, because I thought that we were essentially paying her to interview, which might give her the wrong impression that she was going to be offered the job. (She ended up getting the job.)

A few years later at a different organization, I was going to interview for a promotion to a management position within my department but for a different team. My manager, who was not on the hiring committee and who was very supportive of my potential promotion, reminded me to make up the time I was missing to interview by working extra that day or at a later date that week. I was an exempt employee.

I was hired for the management position, and a year later I had a non-exempt employee who was interviewing for a position within the organization but outside our department. Several days before her interview, after helping her with her interview skills, I wished her luck and reminded her to clock out before she left the afternoon of the interview. The interview was at a different site, so she would probably be upwards of two hours gone. She said she didn’t understand why she had to clock out because she was still at work, so I explained it was because she was leaving for a couple hours to go to the interview. She ended complaining to my boss who told me that I should not require her to clock out because she was interviewing internally. I quickly conceded (I liked my boss and wasn’t going to argue) but expressed by confusion because I had to make up my hour for interviewing for that very job.

Was I in the wrong to ask her to clock out for an internal interview? Is it common to pay an employee when that person is interviewing for an internal job or should the employee be required to clock out/make up the time? I suspect you may tell me that it depends on the manager, so I’m also interested in hearing you (and the readers’) opinions. Finally, could the employee get the wrong idea if they are being paid to interview?

Yep, it depends on the employer. Different employers and different managers do it differently. I’d never ask someone to clock out for an internal interview, though — I think it’s a bit petty and sends the wrong signal. The signal I want to send is “we value you,” not “we’re going to nickel and dime you even though you’re about to spend time helping us determine if we can use your skills in a different area of the organization.”

I don’t look at internal interviews as being all that different from any other business meeting; the fact that it’s an interview doesn’t set it so far apart from that that I’d want the person doing it unpaid.

I don’t think that getting paid for the interview time will give reasonable employees the idea that they’ll definitely get the job. That’s more dependent on your own messaging — like whether you’re making it clear that you’re interviewing multiple candidates, that the interview isn’t just a bureaucratic hoop to jump through, and that you support their professional development even if they’re not ultimately selected for this particular job.

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. CMT

    Hi Allison,
    Do you mean to say in the first sentence of the last paragraph that you *don’t* think it will give them the impression that they’ll definitely get the job?

    Reply
  2. AW

    My manager…reminded me to make up the time I was missing…She ended complaining to my boss who told me that I should not require her to clock out…

    Wait, is this the same person? Is the manager that said you had to make up the time the same person who said not to do the same thing to your subordinate?

    …expressed by confusion because I had to make up my hour for interviewing for that very job.

    I’m confused too. You may want to follow up and ask if there’s an official policy on this or if this varies based on whether or not the employee is exempt.

    Reply
    1. Koko

      The manager who made her make up the time was manager of her old positing when she was still interviewing for the promotion. She got the promotion, so her current boss would be a different person.

      But boy, that old manager sucks to make an exempt employee make up hours over this. The only thing that makes being exempt not a raw deal for the employee is that in exchange for sometimes working long hours, weekend, and late nights, you occasionally can take a 38-hour week as long as you get all your work done. I can’t imagine nickel and diming an EXEMPT employee over a couple of hours if they were otherwise able to get all their projects completed…unless maybe this is a “billable hours” issue.

      Reply
      1. Stranger than fiction

        If old role was support or sales perhaps old boss was thinking “well there’s an hour she’s away from her desk and unable to take calls etc” still petty and kinda jerky but maybe the rationale

        Reply
      2. Ad Astra

        Oh I can’t stand managers who try to nickel and dime exempt employees by “making up” an hour or two every now and then.

        Reply
      3. AdAgencyChick

        Yeah, it seems a little silly to ask for an employee to make up *hours* for the sake of hours. I can imagine a manager saying “make sure all your work gets done” but not “your butt must be in the seat extra to make up for the time spent interviewing.”

        And I would never ask an employee to clock out for an internal interview. She’s exploring whether she can do more for the company in another role. That benefits the company, and I agree with Alison that it’s nickel-and-diming to ask the employee to forgo pay for that time.

        Reply
      4. Sans

        I’ve had bosses who wanted exempt employees to make up 15 minutes. I have had many bosses (including my current one) who have no problem when you stay extra, unpaid hours, but then insist if you leave an hour or two early for a doctor’s appt, you should take it as PTO.

        Which is ridiculous. It goes both ways or neither way. Either you work unpaid sometime, but also get to take an hour or two off “free” when you need to, or you’re non-exempt and get paid by the hour. This is definitely a pet peeve of mine!

        Reply
        1. The Cosmic Avenger

          Yeah, after the first couple of times being asked to make up an hour or less, most employees will start watching the clock to make sure they clock out exactly on time and not one minute later.

          Reply
      5. OP

        Correct, different managers. Thanks for clarifying, Koko.

        Not a billable hours issue! It was more of a customer service type job and no one was missing me for that hour. I had no reason to think that there was something odd about that which is why I turned around and asked the same of my direct report.

        Reply
    2. Stayc

      I read it as the manager she reported to before she got the promotion required her to clock out. I do agree she should see if there is a policy.

      Reply
      1. OP

        You’re correct, Stayc. They were two different managers. As a matter of fact, the second one didn’t know the first. There was no policy, oddly enough. I’m glad we’re having this conversation now because if it were to come up again in the future I’d be much more understanding of both sides of the story. I was new to management and was only doing what I had known! Little did I know that it wasn’t fair!

        Reply
        1. AW

          I appreciate the clarification. I thought perhaps that even though you were promoted you might have still been below the same manager (multiple rungs between your position and their’s or they manage multiple groups).

          Reply
      1. OP

        I completely agree! It’s a large company (several thousand) so I’m sure there are a lot of different practices.

        Reply
    3. Ama

      Yeah, it seems like the main problem here is that OP’s company doesn’t seem to have a standard policy (or at least that there’s a lot of confusion about what it is).

      Reply
    4. OP

      Sorry for the confusion! My (old) manager told me that I had to make up the time for interviewing. I got the job and then my new manager (a couple years later) said that I should not have the subordinate clock out. Same company, different managers.

      Reply
  3. AW

    OP, is this a job where you need to be able to log billable hours? That’s the only other reason I can think of for your boss to ask that you “make up” time spent interviewing.

    Reply
    1. hermit crab

      Oh yeah. We’re expected to “make up” the non-billable time spent going to all-hands meetings, packing our desks before an office move, listening to informational presentations from other teams, working on proposals, etc. etc.

      Reply
    2. OP

      AW, no, it’s not. It was a customer service type job and they didn’t miss me for the time I took off for the interview. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t uncommon that I completed my responsibilities early so it wasn’t as though she needed me to make sure I was catching up on work. I pretty much just sat around for that extra time.

      Reply
  4. hbc

    I realize that the employee isn’t contributing to their regular job when interviewing, but if the company wants to be taken seriously about offering opportunities for growth, you absolutely can’t dock people’s pay for internal interviews. That’s the message I’d be worried about, and it seems like penny pinching to boot.

    As for assuming the job is theirs based on not being forced to take PTO/unpaid leave, I just can’t think why these would be tied together. It’s not like they’re being handed a gift card or something–and even if I was given a wad of cash for my trouble, I would consider it a nice sign that they value people’s time and not a down payment on my new salary. The company simply is being reasonable by not making the employee clock out, move their car to guest parking, change into interview clothes, and sign in as a visitor at the front desk.

    Reply
    1. hbc

      Oh, and it stinks to be told to make up your time, but I think that may come down to the exempt vs non-exempt worker difference. They can’t just come and run the drill press in an empty facility to make up the work they missed.

      Though phrased as “make up the hour” doesn’t sound like you were being treated as exempt, and I’d bristle if I regularly put in extra time and then had someone get picky about an hour or so. I’d have no issue with “Make sure you still get all your work done.”

      Reply
    2. LQ

      I agree completely with this. I’m kind of surprised at the idea that a company would want me to clock out to interview internally.

      To me going through all those steps (even just clocking out) says, nah, just stay in your current position until you leave the company because we don’t care at all about the company as a whole, we only care about this one job.

      It is really about the company as a whole, and for them it should be a big benefit to be able to interview internal candidates, they are known quantities, you already have a good idea of their work, if they fit in with the culture, if they think the benefits are ok etc. And you don’t lose that chunk of institutional knowledge when they move within the org.

      Reply
    3. TootsNYC

      Especially because the company should have screened resumés, and therefore the company is *asking you* to interview for that other job. Their request, actually.

      Submitting a resumé (whether internally or externally) simply says, “I’m interested in that job.” It’s the interview-ER who says, “Please, will you give me some of you time?” They are the ones that make the appointment for the interview; they are requesting.
      That’s why some companies pay candidates to travel to them for the interview. (mine doesn’t, and wouldn’t)

      Reply
  5. Laurel Gray

    Such an interesting topic! I have always taken internal interviews as falling under “career development” even if the employee doesn’t get the job so I assume it is paid time. After all, they are (a) formally speaking with someone in a different role about a role at the company and (b) discussing and considering career growth and goals at the company.

    Reply
    1. Charlotte Lucas

      Agreed! I like the way Alison phrases it as a work meeting. That’s the perspective that employers should have. Even if the employee doesn’t get the position, it’s still a meeting that can be of benefit to both the company and employee. (Otherwise, you could make the argument that people should make up time for any meeting they attend that ends up not being useful to them. Some people would never leave work!)

      Reply
    2. Rebecca whitcomb

      Where I work almost any optional career development is considered on your own time. I’m pretty sure I remember our interview document saying that interviewing was on our own time as well. Most weeks I work more than 40 hours so I don’t really worry about it.

      Reply
  6. The Other Dawn

    I have no idea what the policy is at my company, but I would never ask someone to clock out for an internal interview. It just seems petty and like I’m nickel and diming them, just as Alison said. I could understand, though, if it was an all-day interview, or a half-day at another site. That’s more of an interruption than an hour or two within your own building.

    Reply
  7. BRR

    I think this is a very interesting question.

    I completely understand the logic behind clocking out but I probably wouldn’t ask my employees to do it. In the same way you don’t have to treat all employees the same (except if your reasons are illegal) you don’t have to treat all the candidates the same. I think it’s a gesture of good will not forcing them to clock out. I also agree with Alison (or what I think she meant to write) that it doesn’t give them the impression that they’ll definitely get the job. If they think that is a signal they will get the job, I would imagine they might try and read the tea leaves about many things.

    Reply
  8. AnonyMiss

    I worked in government labor law, and this question came up, because a department head was wondering if allowing employees to interview for internal openings would be a “gift of public funds,” something prohibited under the California constitution – because they are not working in their normal position to earn that compensation.

    The legal opinion was that it’s OK to pay them, because the county would still benefit from them during that time, whether by hiring them into a position where they can excel or by knowing for sure that they’re not suited for it.

    Reply
    1. CheeryO

      At my (non-CA) state agency, internal interviewing gets its own billing code (not that we bill clients, but we do keep track of our hours for accountability purposes). If you’re interviewing at another location, you can even take a car from the vehicle pool and use the state card to pay for gas. I think it’s okay because (in theory at least) an internal interview means that you could potentially be shifting an employee to a position where they will be more effective, or where their talents will be put to better use.

      Reply
    2. Steve

      In the government of Canada, you put in a request for “Leave with Pay– Personnel Selection” if you are going to an internal interview, competency test, or whatever. There’s an annual limit to how many hours of that you can take, but it’s high enough that it is unlikely to be an issue unless something odd is going on.

      Reply
      1. L Veen

        I work for the Canadian federal public service and I’ve never heard of this type of leave! I’ve interviewed for internal positions, needed time out of the office for training or taking Public Service Commission language tests, etc. and none of my managers have ever told me I had to request leave for that.

        Reply
  9. Kate M

    I like how Alison phrased, “we’re going to nickel and dime you even though you’re about to spend time helping us determine if we can use your skills in different area of the organization.” Because this is exactly it. It seems like OP is of the opinion (that many people have) that employers are doing people favors by interviewing them, and that it’s always to the benefit of the interviewee. (Which is why it might seem logical to make people clock out, because you’re doing them a favor to advance their career.)

    But really, the company does have a problem – they have an open position that needs to be filled. This is a two-party meeting to see if there is a good fit, not a one-sided interview where the employer gets to make all the decisions. If this team called your employee to come help them fix some problem they’re having, would you make your employee clock out to go help another team? I don’t think so. So I don’t see this being any different. Plus the fact that, like Alison says, it gives the impression that you’re just being petty and nickle-and-diming your employees.

    Reply
    1. Decimus

      I’d also look at it as the company is paying for a known quantity in a candidate. Because the candidate is internal, they KNOW the employee’s work abilities and can get reliable input from the current manager, something that can be problematic with exterior candidates. Because of that, it’s worth paying the interview time. Even two hours of time can’t cost more than $40-50 for most candidates (hourly) so why not?

      Reply
      1. Ros

        And also because, in most cases, if you hire internally, you’re hiring someone who knows the company, culture, HR, basic business and functioning, and likely some of the roles and internal systems. As an employer, that’s a good chunk of stuff you don’t have to train them on. The advantages of hiring internally…

        Reply
  10. Mike C.

    I really don’t see interviewing internally any differently than any other sort of internal professional development. You don’t clock out for trainings, and you’re still at work doing work things, right?

    Reply
    1. Bee Eye LL

      Right…you wouldn’t make somebody clock out to use the bathroom! I have heard some places will penalize people if they stay in their more than a few minutes, though.

      Reply
      1. AnonaMoose

        Yes, we get those managers write in on occasion, ‘she’s using the restroom 6 times a day, EGADS!!’. *eyeroll*

        Reply
        1. OfficePrincess

          I almost got written up for using the bathroom “too much”. Thankfully, all it took was pointing out that it was because of a medical condition and I was happy to provide documentation for an ADA accommodation. I’m not sure if my IBS and frequent UTIs would have held up technically, but it got OldBoss to back down.

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          1. esra

            As a Crohn’s sufferer, I feel you. I’ve only had an issue with one manager though, he backed down when I asked him if he really wanted the gory details about my chronic disease.

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      2. Saturn9

        At the call center where I work, they do make customer service reps clock out to use the bathroom. I still don’t know if they actually remove those minutes from their paychecks (I’m not in management so I don’t do payroll and I haven’t been a customer service rep since before the policy started so I can’t check my own hours to find out for certain). I also still don’t know whether it’s legal because by my reading of the relevant labor law is that any breaks under 20 minutes must be paid breaks. It wouldn’t be the first time this call center was sued for labor law violations.

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    2. Juli G.

      100% agree on this. Managers here are often judged on their ability to export talent here so internal interviews are very supported. Almost every manager I’ve had has either offered to do a mock interview with me or find someone else to do one for each internal role I’ve gotten to the interview stage on.

      Reply
  11. tango

    Well I’ve had two internal interviews for my current company. The first one the job/supv/dept was located where I was already working. My supervisor said go interview, good luck, no need to make up time. That was a 2 hour interview process. The 2nd “internal” interview was at a different location requiring me to drive to another office. Which is where the actual job would be located. That interview would require me to be gone quite a bit of the day – allowing one hour to drive there from my office (or more direct from home) and the 3 hours they scheduled for meeting with numerous people. Then an hour plus to drive back depending on traffic. So at least 5 hours already not including lunch time. And so my supervisor said for off site interviews, even internally, time must be made up. And since I had no desire to make up 5 hours in a week, I would’ve taken vacation time instead. But being I worked a flex schedule of 4 ten hour shifts a week, I just moved my weekly day off to when I was scheduled to interview.

    I don’t know if my companies policy matches what my supervisor stated. She was quite a stickler on time so unsure if it was more her policy rather than company and if I pushed it with HR, I would’ve gotten a different result. But I had vacation time to burn and the ability to switch days off during the week so it was not important to me to verify.

    Reply
  12. Brett

    Think of it this way… do you require the interviewers to clock out to give interviews?

    Both the interviewers and the interviewee are performing the general work function of finding the best person for the position to be hired. They have different tasks and goals in that function, but they are still both carrying out that function. External candidates are not paid, of course, but they are not employees of the company doing functions of the company when they interview.

    (Think of this especially from the perspective of when a manager orders their direct report to apply for an internal position.)

    Reply
  13. lamington

    if i had a boss like this, that would make me start looking and harder outside of the company. I would feel not valued.

    Reply
    1. The Other Dawn

      Agreed. My boss at OldJob tried to nickel and dime me and it took about 5 seconds for me to feel devalued. I think she sensed it because the following day she apologized and said she “didn’t mean to nickel and dime me.” But the damage had been done; it was already a poor fit with her and that just reinforced my impression of her.

      Reply
    2. Sarah

      Yes, me too. If the employee is obviously looking for a promotion, and they turn out to be the no. 1 candidate, or someone who isn’t the exact match, but the company can see other possibilities for, the employer should want to encourage them to take the job if they’re offered/stay and apply for another.

      If I were wanting a promotion, and my company was giving me signals that they weren’t supporting me to interview (which is how I’d interpret it), I’d start looking elsewhere, right away.

      Reply
    3. Ros

      Me too.

      In all honestly, if I was interviewing internally and told I had to clock out and clock back in, and/or “make up” the extra time, I’d assume that:
      – The company was going to be nickel and dime-ing everything
      – That my skills/assets/knowledge weren’t being valued, and that my time was less respected than my interviewer’s
      – That I had better start looking for work outside that company, stat

      That said: I’m generally a person who goes above and beyond at work, and who would stay at the office late and work 60+ hour weeks to get issues fixed, on salary, without overtime. The quickest way to get me to start job-hunting is to nickel-and-dime me on hours, and so this question hits right on my sore spot. (Actual example from my last job: “Why did you come in at 10am??!” “Because I was here until midnight assuring that this IT issue was fixed so that 60 people could do their jobs at 8am this morning, and I needed to sleep.” “That’s unacceptable!!” Guess who quit 2 weeks later? Yeah, that’d be me…)

      Reply
      1. Sans

        I remember once, our dept was responsible for getting our yearly catalog out. We were understaffed, a lot of changes were happening beyond our control, and the deadline, to put it mildly, was going to be a challenge. But we were willing to put in extra hours and work hard to make it happen.

        Until … the CEO was asked to give us a pep talk. His idea of a pep talk was to rant and rave at us that the catalog BETTER be done on time and he didn’t care how long we had to work to get it done, he didn’t want to hear any excuses. I remember our manager and HR rep sitting there, pale and shocked. The point was not to blame us, but to support us. But the CEO was an ass, obviously.

        I sat there, calmly. But inside I vowed that I wasn’t doing one more moment of unpaid overtime for that company. Ever. I was in my 20s, had low expenses, and really didn’t care if they fired me. And I know his rant was a bluff. They needed us too much to dump all of us. I was right. None of us did overtime from that day forward. And none of us lost our jobs.

        Appreciate me, and I’ll go the extra mile. Treat me like crap, nickel and dime me, or threaten me, and I’ll do the minimum required and polish up my resume for a hasty retreat.

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    4. OP

      I’d like to clarify that I had spent time to help her with her interview skills and had supported her interest in applying for this new job. I was supportive. Also, I was told that her interview was simply professional courtesy. She did not have the required experience for the job but because she had been with the company for some time and because they knew me and I was able to vouch for her being a hard worker, they were willing to give her an interview. I didn’t want her to go in unprepared and I knew she was excited for the interview so we sat down to prep together. I am sharing these points because a few commenters have alluded to the fact that I was devaluing her by asking her to clock out. This was not my intention at all. I had only gone with what I had known from my previous manager and am now seeing the other perspective that I hadn’t considered when my manager had told me to make up my hours.

      Also, she was pretty convinced she was going to get the job, which is why I asked about the misconception aspect. She was very upset when she wasn’t offered it.

      Reply
  14. Bee Eye LL

    I would never ask someone to clock out for an internal interview UNLESS they were going to lunch with their potential new boss or something like that. Otherwise, I’d treat it just like they were going to an internal meeting.

    Reply
  15. Ad Astra

    I’ve never heard of an employee being told to clock out for an internal interview, and I’d be pretty peeved if it happened to me. Honestly, though, I’d be annoyed as an exempt employee if my manager asked me to “make up” the time I spent interviewing internally — and it sounds like that experience is what gave OP the impression that this is normal practice.

    To me, an internal interview is part of an employee’s assigned duties for the day. It’s something the company asked this employee to do during the course of her work day. Why wouldn’t she be paid for it? I assume the thought behind it is that the company is somehow doing the employee a favor by interviewing her, when all AAM regulars know that it’s a two-way street.

    Reply
    1. Hlyssande

      That first paragraph is what I thought. The OP was told, by her previous manager in the same organization, that she had to make up time spent interviewing internally. Why, then, would she assume otherwise when it was her employee interviewing internally?

      Yeah, it’s a crappy thing to do and the employee obviously wasn’t happy about it, but that’s what the OP was essentially told was the culture when her former manager in the same company did the same thing.

      Reply
      1. OP

        Yes, Hlyssane, I was only doing what I knew and I was a new manager at the time. I didn’t know any better! I look back now and I realize the old manager had a lot of red flags. She was the type who would ask where so-and-so was when that person wasn’t at his/her desk (could be in a meeting, in the bathroom, etc.). That was always a strange question to me because she’d walk out of her office and scan the cubicles and ask, “Oh, where’s Jane?” in a not-very-casual tone. My co-worker would jokingly answer, “I don’t know. It wasn’t my turn to watch her!”

        Reply
        1. Sparkly Librarian

          I’m gonna start using that line when patrons ask where another staff member is. a) We’re not supposed to give out information like “she’s at lunch” or “she might be in her office because she’s scheduled off-desk right now.” b) This is the first thing out of someone’s mouth? Hi, I’m right here filling the position behind this desk/in this section. I would be happy to help you! c) I have no idea! The other staff member is not accountable to me, and I can’t see her whereabouts from this location any better than you can.

          Reply
  16. Alternative

    Goodness gracious, if my company made me interview unpaid and/or make up the time, I would immediately start interviewing…outside the company. And I cannot imagine anyone thinking that this means they will definitely get the job. That would be quite a logical leap to make.

    Reply
  17. Colette

    It never would occur to me to clock out for an internal interview, just like it wouldn’t occur to me to clock out to meet with a department I don’t normally work with about a problem they hope I can help with.

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    1. AndersonDarling

      And I’d never think to clock-out to read the job board in the breakroom or fill out an application for an internal position.

      Reply
      1. Colette

        When I moved from contract to permanent at my last job, I filled out all of the paperwork on the clock, with my manager’s full approval. It took two hours. (There was a lot of paperwork!)

        Reply
  18. Artemesia

    It would never cross my mind to ask an employee to clock out or ‘pay back’ time taken for an internal interview. That just seems mingy and petty and sends a really nasty message about how you value the employee. One of the morale boosting things a company can do is seriously consider current employees for promotion; even when they don’t get the job, being interviewed and taken seriously can be reinforcing. Being asked to clock out negates that and leaves a bad taste. It would be in the stack of reasons I might start looking for another job whereas simply failing to get a promotion I was considered for would not unless it were a long pattern of failure to progress.

    Reply
  19. INFJ

    I completely agree with Alison’s perspective of treating the interview like any other business meeting.

    For all the internal interviews I’ve had (non exempt), I never clocked out, and nobody ever told me whether I should or not. I guess my company at the time didn’t have an official policy about it, which is surprising, since they were definitely the nickel and diming type.

    Reply
    1. OfficePrincess

      When I internally interviewed for my current position, my boss made a point to make sure I had already clocked in before we started since I came in early to interview. I have no idea if there’s an official company-wide policy on it, but I’m glad my site treats it just like any normal work meeting.

      Reply
  20. Q

    I work for a massive organization so there are usually a lot of internal interviews going on. Usually the person just counts that as their lunch break for the day and its not big deal. However, most of the time they are only gone about an hour (same as for lunch.) If they were going to a different location and would be gone 2 hours or more, then yes, they would be expected to make up that time.

    Reply
  21. Chalupa Batman

    Call me naive, but I legitimately didn’t realize interviewing on company time, even internally, was an option. I interviewed twice for internal positions at my last job, and both times I scheduled it midday and took lunch at that time. That was partially because I had a very prescribed schedule, but it also never occurred to me that I could schedule an internal interview during paid time. Thinking back, I know other internal candidates interviewed outside of lunchtimes, but I have no idea if they had to take vacation to do it. I guess it doesn’t seem as far fetched to me as it seems to for others, so it’s good to know that this is a thing. *cue The More You Know rainbow*

    Reply
  22. Gareth Keenan Investigates

    I imagine it’d be going too far, however, to request compensation for a long drive to interview internally? We’re typically reimbursed for travel between offices but I recently drove 5 hours roundtrip to interview at another location and imagine it’d look pretty bad if I tried to put that on my expense report…

    Reply
    1. Ad Astra

      I don’t think it’s too far at all. This is still a business meeting called by HR and/or the hiring manager. If the company would reimburse an HR rep or a hiring manager for travel to visit the applicant at another site, the company should reimburse the candidate for travel to visit the HR rep or hiring manager. All parties involved are performing company business.

      Reply
  23. Megan

    I agree that internal interviews should be paid. However the OP noted that it was offsite. There is more time lost driving/commuting between locations that needs to be taken into account. One or two hours, fine. But if the person is going to be gone upwards of 3 or 4 than I think it’s not unreasonable to ask them to make up atleast *some* of the time.

    Reply
    1. OfficePrincess

      But if the employee were going to the other site midday for a meeting, wouldn’t the travel time be paid as well? She’s not driving across town or whatever for kicks, it’s a necessary part of getting the job done.

      Reply
    2. Sarah

      But if it’s a multi-site company, surely people have to travel between the sites regularly? Even in my most awful call centre job, with terrible penny-pinching rules, we had to go to the other site for training & were paid for travel time

      Reply
  24. Student

    I think this is mainly a manager-by-manager issue, and that it says something important about your manager’s perspective.

    I think people who are thinking about the well-being of the whole organization are going to be inclined to pay you for your internal interview time. They’re thinking about what’s best for the whole organization, even if it may inconvenience them personally. People who are looking out for only their own kingdom within the organization are going to want you to clock out – to those managers, they don’t want to pay you to leave. They get no benefit from your interview; it’s a loss of personnel if you take a promotion, and it’s a loss of your morale if you don’t get the job. If you get the new job, they’ve saved their department a few bucks.

    Reply
    1. themmases

      I think this is exactly right. It sounds like the manager OP was leaving was the one who told them to make up time. If a soon to be former manager told me that, I would think they were taking my potential leaving personally and trying to punish me.

      Also though, there is a big difference between telling an exempt employee to make up time, which could equate to work they need to get done– I made up time frequently as an exempt employee and just worked independently in my office on things I needed to get done– and telling a non exempt employee to clock out and make up hours.

      Reply
  25. Cassie

    My dad works for local government and they don’t have to take personal time (i.e. vacation time) when they go to take the civil service exam or go to interviews. There’s a time limit – say 1 hour travel to and 1 hour travel back (plus the length of the exam or interview) – but it’s one way to encourage employees to continually advance through their careers. Of course, some employees don’t want to let their supervisor(s) know that they are interviewing or taking the exam (e.g. in case they do poorly) so those people just take their personal time off.

    Reply
  26. Mr. Petty

    I understand allowing someone to interview while on the clock, but what happens when the interview is out of town. Does this change things? Suppose you have to fly across the country would you pay then a full day’s pay along with the Per Diem and possibly even overtime?
    I have done that in the past and used PTO and paid for my own meals.

    Reply
  27. ReanaZ

    Wow. It would literally never have occurred to me to clock out when hourly or make up with exempt time spent in internal interviews. Never. I was pretty floored by this question. It has never ever come up for any internal interview I’ve had in 12+ years of working; it’s always been treated as just an internal meeting. In fact, I’ve had to do ‘assignments’ for interviews in other departments, and explicitly been told they could be done during work hours. When leaving a fixed-term Americorps position years ago, I was also even allowed to interview with *other* companies during work hours.

    This never made me think I for sure had a position (or for sure didn’t–seems completely unrelated). But I’m with the other commentators in saying I would begin immediately looking for a new job outside the company if anyone ever tried to financially penalise me for interviewing internally. Wow. That’s just outrageous.

    Reply
  28. Willow Sunstar

    The company should have a policy for internal interviews. Mine pays us for them as long as we are on the normal clock.

    Reply
  29. Elizabeth

    I just went through some internal interviews for a promotion at my company and it never occurred to me or my managers that I should clock out for them. The interviews ranged from a formal 90-minute interview with my manager to more informal discussions with higher-ups. At no point was I asked to clock out. I also had no expectations that just because the company was paying me to interview that I would get the job. It was, as Alison put it, just another business meeting (on a positive note, I got the job and I’m loving it!).

    If I went to another site to interview, that would be getting into fuzzier territory, but I don’t think anyone would object if I was on the clock. I suppose the tough question would be if I had to fly/drive a long distance to get to the interview- at that point, the faraway business unit would cover travel expenses, but I don’t know if they would pay for the time. But if my current unit knew, I’d probably be paid for it- a day’s pay in the grand scheme of things is just not a big deal- especially if it’s to improve the company’s and my position.

    Reply

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