Recently, I met with a panel of 4 men. They had access to my resume, and an extensive application I had submitted. They began the interview in an accusatory fashion were insulting with me, and ended it abruptly, based on some information in my application. I ended up taking a day off work, and drove 150 miles each way for this meeting. My wife also attended (they requested she be there), and took a day off work, both of us were unpaid for the day.

Would it be completely unheard of to submit a bill for lost wages, mileage, and time spent, or simply for expenes when the issue could have been avoided by simply asking a question 3 weeks earlier when the plans were made?

The reason I'd even consider it is that I have had another organization pay me for my mileage traveling the same distance. I don't know that it's unreasonable to find them responsible for asking me to travel that far, incur the expenses I incurred for a position I had no hope of obtaining, and they could have simply said that from the beginning.

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    Why the hell would somebody require the presence of a prospective employee's family member at an interview? Mar 8 '19 at 16:45
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    I have to say that some of the questions here leave me gobsmacked. In what universe does an interviewer insult an interviewee? In what universe is a spouse or partner asked to attend an interview? This is not a universe that I'm familiar with. What country are you in? Is this a standard practice where you live?
    – joeqwerty
    Mar 8 '19 at 17:07
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    @joeqwerty it's a non-profit where the spouse would have a visible role, although not as a paid employee. In some leadership positions it's not uncommon. That's about all I can really say. It's not necessarily an interview for a software developer at a megacorporation. It's just a different type of thing.
    – Keith
    Mar 8 '19 at 17:22
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    This sounds like something like a religious school or similar organization where there's a lot of emphasis on shared thinking and values which staff and their spouses are expected to model in their personal lives. Irrespective of what tradition that thinking comes from, if there isn't an alignment on it down to particular doctrinal flavor, then there really isn't. Just be glad those four angry elders aren't going to be conducting an ongoing inquisition into the minutia of your lives. Mar 8 '19 at 18:08
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    Sounds to me like it was an interview for a pastorship or something of the like. It wouldn't be strange at all for a church to want to meet the pastor's wife as well as the pastor himself.
    – user1602
    Mar 8 '19 at 18:19

This sounds like a truly awful interviewing experience. As for your question:

Would it be completely unheard of to submit a bill for lost wages, mileage, and time spent, or simply for expenes when the issue could have been avoided by simply asking a question 3 weeks earlier when the plans were made?

It would be unheard of to bill them for the interview.

It is, however, very strange that you traveled to this interview on your own dime; when companies want you to travel for an interview, it's normal that they pay for it. I'm not sure what the negotiations were like for you to travel there, and it's also very strange that they requested your wife be there. Your best hope to recoup some money from this - which is slim - would be to ask for a gas reimbursement.

It also wouldn't be wrong for you to review them online (on appropriate sites) and share that you were summoned for an interview and then dismissed immediately for something visible on your application.

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    Just a clarification, the point of my wife being there is relevant to the nature of the position. Hard to explain, but it just is.
    – Keith
    Mar 8 '19 at 16:49
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    @Keith that's fine, although very rare.
    – dbeer
    Mar 8 '19 at 16:50

Could you bill them? Certainly. And they may very well ignore you.

I think that you made a mistake in getting so involved with the interview in the first place. Whether you decide to bill them or not, this should be a learning experience for you.

Don't commit to creating "an extensive application" unless you know who you're dealing with (perhaps after you've had a phone interview, which goes well).

Ask to be compensated for travelling expenses, and maybe reconsider going if it's too much of a burden time, or money wise.

And lastly, demanding that your wife attend the interview when the position is for you, is not simply "weird", it is aberrant to the point of worry. That should be reason enough to refuse any further contact with these people.

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    Could you bill them? Certainly. And they will absolutely certainly ignore you. Mar 8 '19 at 19:45

While billing an interviewer for their time is pretty unheard of- it is normal for many companies to compensate people for travel expenses. If they do not make it clear that travel will be paid for when setting up the interview- it is up to you to ask them if they would be willing to either pay for travel or to do an alternate interview (I've had many companies offer to do a Skype interview rather than in-person to avoid paying for my flight).

I do think its unreasonable to not be compensated for traveling such a far distance but if they don't say they will compensate you- you should assume you will get nothing for your travels. Next time- ask them beforehand. Based on the body of your post- them not compensating interviewees for travel seems to be just one of many issues with their interviewing practices


Short answer: It would have been entirely reasonable to ask for some sort of compensation before the interview (expenses at the least, per diem rare but not unheard). After the fact, it’s entirely unreasonable. On par with me sending you a bill for this answer.

Long answer: You need to determine your desired outcome, the cost associated with the pursuit of that outcome and the probability of success.

If you wish to send an invoice as a protest against their unprofessional behavior, then your goal is to protest not get money. The direct cost will be your time and direct expenses, an indirect potential cost would be a possible reputation loss which may be offset by a possible positive reputation gain.

If you wish to get actual cash money, then you will need to sue, and in my non-lawyerly opinion, your chance of success is nearly negligible. If you want to pursue that talk to an actual lawyer, while I don’t think you have much of a case, it’s not entirely frivolous if they had made up their mind before inviting you out.

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