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I've applied for a job with a startup - young but, judging by the number of job ads published, quickly growing company.

They invited me to an interview, paid me a flight in first-class, a really good hotel and booked me a chauffeur. I'm not kidding.

That's absolutely untypical in my country, especially given that I'm not applying for a job on a C-level. I've applied with big wealthy corporations before but even they weren't so generous, they weren't even close. My skills are ok I guess, but it's not like I'm the only person in the country having them.

What are the reasons for this generosity? I can think of the following explanations:

  • the company wants to show how generous they are so that I accept a lower salary than the salary expectations I gave them with a promise that I will get a raise quickly
  • the company hasn't learned yet to be careful with money and is doomed

What point does a company's generosity during the interview process have?

// Update //

I attended the interview and got an offer. It was one of these we-are-all-one-family-companies that expect you to have no life outside of work and identify with the company 100% - making company seem generous can help with that I guess. They stressed that they get free coffee and some (tiny) benefits other companies don't cover, but... The company expected their employees to work 12+ h/ day (which isn't even legal in my country)! And the salary offered didn't reflect the work times at all. Basically, it was what I expected it to be.

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    Is there a third possibility that this startup is a way for bigger company to generate loss? – SZCZERZO KŁY Nov 8 '18 at 12:28
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    And, how can we know? At least wait for an offer before... – Cris Nov 8 '18 at 12:51
  • Interesting question, but unfortunately any answer would be opinion based. So it's not suitable for the Workplace. – Steve Nov 8 '18 at 12:59
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    @Steve, not sure I understand your point. We aren't talking about the answers. We are talking about the questions. And yes, the other question is exactly the same. It's "why would my company do that?'". Mine is "why would a company I applied at do that?" – BigMadAndy Nov 8 '18 at 14:53
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    It's normal to analyse a businesses potential hidden agendas before taking a job. There are solid and widely used business reasons this or similar things may happen, not just opinion. Just because you don't know any and have no familiarity with the subject is not a good reason to close it as opinion based. I'm voting to reopen. – Kilisi Nov 9 '18 at 3:42
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The usual reason for being generous during a job interview is simply to leave the interviewee with a good impression. Job interviews go both ways, after all.

If they offer you the job: "wow, these guys didn't just offer me a job but sorted out my travel too, that's amazing! I like these guys - I'm definitely going to accept!"

If they don't offer you the job: "aw, shucks, these guys didn't offer me the job... but I'm going to tell all my friends how generous they were! My friends might then apply there too!"

It's simply good business for a company to treat interviewees well and leave them with a positive impression. And (unless your cynicism level is even higher than mine, which is normally pretty high) there's no reason to think it's in any way nefarious... you seem to be assuming their generosity is either based on idiocy or deception. Maybe they just treat their staff (and potential staff) well? Such companies are rumoured to exist...

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    Good answer. I’d like to add that OP should not make the mistake of expecting the same generocity in the future, if hired. Usually HR has is ruled by different budgets and people. When you are a candidate, they treat you like a king. On you first day the magic disappears. – Mateusz Stefek Nov 8 '18 at 17:24
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    @MateuszStefek, "Past performance is no guarantee of future returns"? – Nolo Problemo Nov 8 '18 at 22:49
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    It's not a guarantee, but I'd have hope that a company that treated me well at interview might still treat me well once I'm working for them. More hope than if they didn't treat me well in the first place, anyway. – BittermanAndy Nov 8 '18 at 23:03
  • @BittermanAndy True, but also a company might be more generous than the norm at interview time precisely because they have a higher than average need for new people and difficulty getting people to come - and stay. – Julia Hayward Nov 20 '18 at 17:56
5

A lot of the time it's because the company has a block-booking discount agreement with the provider, so they promise to buy up x amount of flights or limo trips, hotel rooms, or whatever.

Doing it this way saves money in the long run as long as the company is reasonably sure that they'll use up the allotment of the bought resource.

  • It may show you that company can spend money to make money, and if you have ideas and projects that will be supported if profitable. Also i will add that in case of extremely high income influx should always be capped with expenses. Perhaps this is one of the reasons. – Strader Nov 8 '18 at 15:16
  • @Strader That seems like an unrelated answer which should probably be posted as a separate answer. – Dukeling Nov 8 '18 at 18:22
  • @Dukeling imho, its just extending the Snow`s answer – Strader Nov 8 '18 at 18:58
2

There are several potential pure business reasons. Other answer has already outlined a possible reason which is to impress a candidate.

These things are not always about the candidate at all except incidentally. They can be done to support other businesses in terms of client relations and other benefits. It can all be budgetted for and a part of a businesses customer/supplier relations strategy.

For example,. I have an airline as a client and several hotels. It's win win for me to pay for the best available even if I don't take the candidate or get a discount, I get to visibly support my own clients which makes perfect business sense. I do so at their maximum cost if I don't get a discount all of which is great for both businesses and I have a specific budget just for this. I even time it so that it is at their lowest point of the year, which gives me even greater visibility while adding to their revenue stream at low peak (also usually much lower cost). This is beneficial in many ways beyond the obvious if you know how that industry works, and also ensures my person is getting plenty of attention.

I can also use this in my favour with govt and get some tax benefits and negotiation power in other areas (the other businesses get more out of it though in these terms). Business tourism is a real thing in some places. I'm also filling high value slots in a hotel and thereby boosting overall stats. These and others translate into very real if indirect benefits for my business.

Other businesses may have even more reasons. You never know what connections a business has or obligations. Many companies have a mutually beneficial outlook on business based on competition or even family ties. Does the candidate look like he'd be interested in watching some dancing girls? Yes? Great I have a client who's owners husband runs a high quality family friendly cultural show complete with food in a tasteful venue. Incidentally frequented by some of the most influential people in the private and govt sectors.

One candidate just got me some highly targeted marketing and warm fuzzy feelings all around.

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