how to handle an out-of-town interview

featured-on-usnIf you’re invited to interview with an out-of-town company, you’ll need to do more preparation than if you were interviewing locally. Over at U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about seven things to think about as you prepare for an out-of-town interview. You can read it here.

(And yes, I totally stole the idea for this topic from the first question posted in last month’s open thread.)

Speaking of out-of-town interviews, they’re often incredibly hard to get, because employers often prefer local candidates when they have the choice — and in this economy, they often do have that choice. Long-distance job-searching can be a huge pain in the ass, so here’s an older column with some advice on how to job-search long-distance.)

{ 6 comments… read them below }

  1. JM in England

    Most definitely agree with 1,2 & 7. Being currently unemployed and hence on a limited income, if an employer won’t cover travel expenses then I sadly have to decline the interview. For long distance travel, I always arrive the day before so that any rail or road delays won’t impact on my stress levels (also has the added advantage of my suit not being creased by sitting in a car/train for long periods). Also, arriving the day before gives me an opportunity to explore the area and evaluate living costs such as house rental etc.

  2. Elizabeth West

    Re #5 – might they suggest something as far as hotels? My last company had deals with local hotels for out-of-town visitors and executives. We were often asked which ones those were, and I do believe our managers suggested them to traveling execs, since they were told to ask for the company rate.

    I’m keeping this bookmarked. The way things are going, there is NO telling what may happen.

    1. Jamie

      Absolutely they can/should suggest hotels. When we’ve had people come in to interview we put them up in the hotel which is safe, convenient, and easy for our driver to shuttle them back and forth.

      Funny story, we put a consultant up once and we were paying for the hotel – straight up on our card not reimbursing – and we reserved a room at a nice hotel nearby – he thought it was much too fancy and tried to insist on one he found online which was a much cheaper rate.

      The reason the other rate was cheaper was because the neighborhood was so bad none of us would volunteer to pick him up. The sentiment of trying to save the client money was great, but at some point just know that the locals know more about the area than you can learn online and follow their lead on stuff like this.

      Oh and on a related note when they buy lunch don’t try to find someone with whom to share a sandwich because you don’t want them to waste money as you won’t finish a whole one.

      Being careful with their money is great and leaves a good impression. Acting as if a whole Italian beef per person will bankrupt the place isn’t so great.

  3. Kelly

    My tip: Stay cool under pressure, a lot could go wrong! I’ve have one out of town interview where I had to stay in a hotel (complete opposite side of the country!) Unfortunately my luggage did not arrive with me and my interview was the next day! I called right away and explained and said I could come to the interview anyway even though I just had my travel clothes on and no portfolio. I was mortified. Thankfully they were able to reschedule for the following day and I received my luggage in time. I think they might have respected my offer to come in anyway and roll with the punches. Go figure it was the only time I’ve ever NOT had my bag show up!

    Otherwise it was a great trip, besides wearing the same clothes for 2 days. And I did get that job.

    1. Anonymous

      Stories like this are why it’s always a good idea to keep a change of clothes in your carry-on! (Not ragging on the OP, just stating the obvious ‘moral of the story’ for those like me that miss it sometimes)

  4. steve branson

    Hello there,
    If an applicant receives an email from the HR manager after 1st interview regarding travel/ parking expenses (<$100) instead of invitation for 2nd interview, does that mean he is out of the game (not getting hired) ?

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