Sometimes you get a potentially great job opportunity, but you have to travel to go to an interview. Consider asking the interviewer to split some of the costs before agreeing to attend.
Photo by Alan Cleaver
Over at Ask the Headhunter they tackle the question of who foots the bill for a job interview: the applicant or the employer. Usually with entry-level jobs, this isn't an issue. But when recruiters contact you for a very specific skill set, things are different. These employers know you aren't local and travel usually comes later in the interview process. First interviews are usually over email or Skype these days, so the employer already has a strong interest if you are invited for an out-of-town interview.
They may decline to pay the expenses upfront, but just like every aspect of the hiring process, this denial is negotiable. When you pay the expenses upfront, you take on all the risk. If you've been out of work for a period of time, you may not have the money to pay airfare, hotel and meals. Ask the Headhunter has a nice compromise to propose to your potential employer:
Split the costs into portions that each of you pay up front, and settle the rest later. For example, make them this offer: If they pre-pay the airline ticket, you will pay for the hotel and meals and then submit for reimbursement. That way you don't get stuck holding the entire bag, even if they ignore your requests later. Of course, if they decline to front any costs for your trip, you must decide whether to gamble. My advice is: Don't. A company that won't pay to fly you out is trouble.
Check out the link for other ways to maximise your opportunities when interviewing for a position out of town.
Make interview travel pay off [Ask the Headhunter]