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I have a face to face interview with a company in a foreign country. The company will provide me with flight tickets, airport transportation, visa fees, hotels and meals for one day interview and 2 days extra, to explore the country(Thailand).

Is it professional to take your mother along (at my own expenses) and explore the country with her for the next 2 days or extend the period of stay(at my own expense)?

Should I inform the recruiter beforehand about a person being accompanied?

How can I professionally approach the HR, to book the return flight ticket of an extended date and inform her that I would be accompanying somebody with me, all the extra expenses would be paid by me?

closed as primarily opinion-based by BigMadAndy, gazzz0x2z, Martin Tournoij, gnat, Strader Nov 12 '18 at 22:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Just to clarify, HR has already arranges these 2 extra days for you? Have they offered to pay for any/all of your expenses during these 2 days? – Summer Nov 6 '18 at 10:53
  • @Summer, arrangements are not currently done. They have offered to pay and arrange all the above mentioned expenses incurred during the trip. – Advicediso Nov 6 '18 at 11:05
  • I have brought along my wife on a interview trip; the company seemed to expect it. I had to pay her way but it was expected. Bringing your mother is a tougher call. I would say, let them know with an embellishment like "She has always wanted to see Thailand and this is a chance we could not miss." and have a nice trip. Keep in mind that the interview is "work" and she will be on her own for the duration of the interview, no excuses. – user1683793 Nov 7 '18 at 2:28
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Is it professional to take your mother along (at my own expenses) and explore the country with her for the next 2 days or extend the period of stay(at my own expense)?

Should I inform the recruiter beforehand about a person being accompanied?

This is a bit tricky.

While it's perfectly reasonable to want to use the trip for multiple reasons, you never want it to come across as an "I need my mom with me" situation.

This trip is about business, not pleasure. Your focus needs to be solely on showing your potential employer what a great employee you would be, and convincing them to make you an offer. Dividing your attention could be less than optimal.

And you don't want to burden your potential employer with your mother's needs either. They are arranging to see you and have provided the means to do so. They aren't your family's travel agent.

If you decide to double up on the trip, do all the work on your own and don't even tell them about your mother. But you would be better served to take her with you on a trip completely separate from your interviews.

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    There's an astute comment by@Kilisi below ..... "if they're going to hire him it is in fact likely that they will both tour and host his activities somewhat during those 2 days. I do it with people I bring over. They're free to do what they want... but not if I want them to meet the team or go to dinner or anything else." – Fattie Nov 8 '18 at 3:23
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What is generally appropriate is having someone join you for an extended stay after all your pre-arranged activities are complete. Having your mother around during the critical portion (not clear to me if this is your plan) is less appropriate.

It is hard to answer generally, if someone has specific knowledge of Thai business culture they may have more insight on how this might be viewed. However, in regards to The two days of socializing, if they have any company employees join you it may be an informal part of the interview and critical bonding time with your future team, if it appears that way I would delay all your vacation plans until after that period and arrange for your mother to arrive from that point on.

However, Since the company arranges travel, you unfortunately must deal with them on at least one issue, but you may make this very specific.

  1. Departure flight

To minimize your interaction it is easy to explain an "extended stay" or opt to fund your own flight.

Otherwise you will need to request more adjustment, even if you plan to pay for everything this may be uncomfortable or confusing interaction

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    The second paragraph here is the critical one. They are spending some thousands of dollars on a "meet and greet" interview trip. It is incredibly naive to see the "extra" two days as for you to holiday. Of course there will be social-work meetings with the team during that time. It would be amazingly ridiculous if they said "well great come in all tomorrow morning and hang out with the engineering team" and the response was "oh I am sightseeing with Mom". – Fattie Nov 8 '18 at 3:22
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Having a person join you on your trip is not unusual. If there are days at the start or the end for you to explore the area, it is fine to do so with this extra person.

The key is to make it painless for the company, and not cost them any extra money or time.

If you aren't changing the departure date they don't have to know. You don't have to tell them. One thing to consider could be the size of the room. If the hotel room only has a single bed, then you will need an extra room. The person you are traveling with should either meet you after the interview day or be comfortable being on their own.

If you are extending the trip beyond the two days they give you for sightseeing The important thing is to change the departure flight yourself. Because they are willing to pay for two extra nights in the hotel, you should have the bill generated after the two extra days so that they don't see the rest of your stay. Many hotels can do this without any problem.

If you are concerned that the two days will not be free, then ask them. Tell them that you were interested in going to city x (a few hours away) and would like to know if there are any obligations you have to meet on those two days. Or tell them you are meeting a friend.

If they say there are no meetings, but then they fill those two days with meetings they have given a big sign about how they view work/life balance.

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How can I professionally approach the HR

It's best not to involve them at all. Instead organise everything around their booking. So long as they have notice they can get their money back on the flight home, or you can change the flight if you want, there may be an added expense, but these things are both transparent and easy to accomplish. It will be under your name.

If I'm going on a holiday I do not expect anyone to cover my expenses or go to any trouble over my holiday. So in your situation I would accept whatever is given and if need be pay my own fare home rather than bother them with it.

The implication otherwise is that if they send you on a business trip you will treat it as a holiday for your family instead of concentrating solely on their needs.

  • I do not see why OP wouldn't normally contact HR and inform them he wants to stay two extra days, at his own expense. Not saying anything and changing a flight they booked for you seems very sketchy imo and would raise some eyebrows with HR. It's very common to stay for ie the weekend somewhere, most people would do it and it's nothing to hide or to feel weird about. OP's mom or whoever hes taking doesn't even need to be mentioned. She's simply someone meeting him there, in his own free time. – Summer Nov 6 '18 at 9:08
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    (1) there's no "free time". It's a business trip. (2) Agree that it would be weird not to just ask them if you did want the flight changed. – Fattie Nov 6 '18 at 9:10
  • Why ask when you can change it yourself? – Kilisi Nov 6 '18 at 9:11
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    My point is, asking them "in general" ("I'm staying more days" Change flight! Extend the hotel! But let me pay! Here's my card number! Which hotel?" etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc) is just completely beyond the pale, and totally unprofessional. (You're right, in the abstract changing just a flight, yourself, is fine in such a case.) – Fattie Nov 6 '18 at 9:23
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    @Summer if they're going to hire him it is in fact likely that they will both tour and host his activities somewhat during those 2 days. I do it with people I bring over. They're free to do what they want... but not if I want them to meet the team or go to dinner or anything else. If they end up getting drunk and making a fool of themselves I'd find out as well. – Kilisi Nov 6 '18 at 11:08
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Ask for the extension to the trip, but don't mention your mother at all.

It is perfectly acceptable to ask to extend your trip, so long as you are covering the extra expenses. I have done it before and had no problem. (See also: Is it appropriate to ask for later flight return date for on-site interviews?)

It makes no difference whether you are extending and traveling by yourself or visiting a friend, or traveling with your mother, and the company doesn't need to know which it is at all. Just say that you would like to extend and ignore the rest. Now if an interviewer is making friendly conversation and asks about your trip, you can certainly share your plans if you want to.

The only thing I might be wary with are the visas. I don't know how the visas for interviews work, so there may be date restrictions. Make sure that your visa and your travel plans match before you leave for the trip.

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Is it professional to take your mother along (at my own expenses)

It's just NOT professional.

Your total focus during the whole trip should be the employer.

During the extra two days, there will be interaction with the company, particularly if you are seen as a good candidate.

In the specific case of Thailand I would definitely not do it.

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    I have to disagree, OP doesn't mention where he's from but here it's quite common for someone's SO to tag along during or after the trip. As long as any business meetings or work days aren't interrupted. Aside from this, the 2 extended days are free time, up to OP to spend however he likes, with whomever he likes. – Summer Nov 6 '18 at 9:03
  • It's not specifically about Thailand, but the country OP's company is based in is important imo. His mother can tag along after the trip, what he does in his weekends or free hours is not his boss's business. Perhaps edit your answer to describe your experience more, I don't see that in the answer currently. – Summer Nov 6 '18 at 9:15
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    Let me quote OP: 'and 2 days extra, to explore the country'. Please explain how this is not free time? – Summer Nov 6 '18 at 9:31

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