Location: Germany, Branch: Engineering


I've been invited for an interview at a company's main office. They offer a (fixed) travel reimbursement based on travel distance from your home address.

I had a trip planned to my parent's house that happens on the date of the interview, so I will travel from their place to the company. Their house is perhaps half the distance to the company (but still in the range of several hundred kilometers). Seen on a map going through their house would be a massive detour from my home address.


Is it ethical to not disclose that my travel distance happens to be shorter than expected?

  • The travel home was planned before the interview was arranged.
  • I would have needed to travel the longer distance had it not been for the trip that I have already paid myself.

3 Answers 3


Personally I would consider declaring my actual travel costs that directly result from the interview most honest and most ethical. Thus, I would seek reimbursement for the distance from my parents' home to their office and then back from their office to my home address [1]. A short comment on their reimbursement form might be appropriate.

I'm sure they would appreciate such honesty from a candidate if they notice. Probably the hiring manager won't notice, but if they do, it might give you a small advantage.

[1] I work in the public sector in Germany and my traveling is regulated by the Bundesreisekostengesetz. This is what would be reimbursed according to regulations based on this law.


Take the simplest and most honest option here.

Just declare the driven distance between your house and where the interview is taking place without any detours. This is your billable travel distance, so stick with that.

Anything else on top of that is your personal mileage, so keep it personal. If you end up in profit because of this, then it doesn't matter that much - the company's finance department will note where you live (if they happen to check), so the mileage claim will all add up.

Your travel expenses have already been budgeted and approved, so indicating that you've made a personal visit to make up half the journey and expecting your expenses to be cut appropriate will just confuse matters and might add too much complexity.


My opinion is that you are overthinking this non issue.

The company has policies, these policies set a fixed amount, take it and be happy you get out green.

Should you be hired you will likely discover that reimbursements usually even out, being sometime lower than actual expense, sometimes higher.

Many businesses has policy for reimbursement that are quite cumbersome and any deviation is a pain in an unpleasant place to be handled in a special way by someone: if you ask for an exact amount, the company may have to pay a couple of people to handle your special case and this may be an expense higher than the amount they save thanks to your kindness, so the company is not happy in the end.

If a tailored reimbursement makes you feel better go with it, but I would definitely take the fixed amount and leave ethics out of all this.

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