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I am interviewing for 2 very interesting positons, for which the companies are okay flying me and have me stay for X days at their location.

Lets say that the travel costs involved are significant, and I would like to pay for these myself and get reimbursed for them to bump my credit tier. (I'm otherwise a very thrifty spender).

Is what I'm trying to do unethical? Companies will be spending it anyway, so I don't see what wrong comes by me paying for it. If its ethical what steps should itake to actuallu be paid and not berippedoff?

  • I'm a little confused, you're trying to use their expenses to create an added beneift for yourself and yet you're worried about getting ripped off? – cdkMoose Sep 10 '19 at 13:00
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    It is quite possible it takes them multiple months to reimburse you - you'd be surprised as to how complex reimbursements can be at a big company - would you be able to pay the credit card bill completely, even without their reimbursement. Otherwise, you'll be paying interest. – dan.m was user2321368 Sep 10 '19 at 13:29
  • Ethics or logistics aside, I'm not sure what you mean by "bumping your credit tier". If you are in the U.S., what you are proposing would (temporarily) negatively impact your credit score, due to increasing the amount of your available credit in use. – spuck Sep 10 '19 at 22:37
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I guess you could ask them and see whether that would be acceptable to them, so long as everything was above board, documented and all tax information provided. It's worth remembering that they may wish to do it themselves to ensure that they get the best deal possible, or they might be bringing in several candidates and it's cheaper to have you all travel together, or they may even utilise a 3rd party that books flights etc for them at a preferential rate that you might be unable to get.

At the same time, and you won't really know this until the provide the travel details, they might be rather lavish and spend more money on providing a really relaxing, positive experience for potential candidates which you may miss out on by paying for it yourself.

As for steps I'd speak with HR / recruitment and see what they think, if they're willing and you can get it in writing, then ask for a copy of their expenses procedure. Once you have that in place you can book everything and follow their expenses procedure to get your money back (how will vary between companies - hence the EP).

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    I would like to add that the interview stage is not the time to be testing the limits of what you might get away with. You absolutely do not want to run the risk of being thought uncooperative or difficult in any way, especially for such a small benefit. – DJClayworth Sep 10 '19 at 13:08
  • @DJClayworth agreed, worth asking but not worth pushing for. – MattR Sep 10 '19 at 13:41
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You can always ask and it may be fine for a smaller company, but it's not going to work with a larger tech company.

  • Larger companies have a "process" for this and typically book flights, hotels and cars directly for the candidates. They use standard providers and have discounts with them.
  • Going outside the normal process always is extra work and has increased risk of problems
  • If you book it yourself, you need to demonstrate that everything is at a "reasonable" rate. It's potentially a conflict of interest. If they book it for you, you have no say in the price (and sometimes don't even see it), so the company decides how much to spent on what.
  • re-reimbursement can take a long time. You need to make sure that you can front a larger expense for how long as it takes.
  • If things go wrong (delays, missed connection, car accident), who is on the hook of sorting it out? Typically the company uses a travel agent who can deal with this quickly and efficiently.

Example: when you fly into SFO to interview at Google there is a pool of cars specifically for this purpose. Instructions: "go up to isle 18 or 19 and take any car you like. Keys are inside".

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Recruiters look at how you comply with or challenge company processes as you go through their end-to-end recruitment cycle. If you're a pain the neck to work with, you will stand out — not in a good way. I'd go with their program as long as they're paying. If they're not paying, I wouldn't go at all.

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