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I have a job interview out of state, I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch, but I’m very hopeful. It’s a counterpart of our company, just in a different region, so I already perform the tasks they do their and know their specific industry. They called me before the job was closed and was impressed I was running an enterprise department by myself while they have a team of 6 (they are larger than we are, but at a company my size should have 2-3 people and a manager specific for that department, my boss had on many occasions said she doesn’t know anything about what I do). We are in the process of scheduling a time for me to come down for an interview, and I will be talking with them on Monday to finalize travel plans. I want to make it as easy and cheap for them. The hiring manager sent me an email that she would be unavailable Friday as she had interviews all day, but also went out of the way to tell me that they weren’t for the position that I applied. So my confidence is somewhat high at this point.

I have friends that live in the same city (I’m not looking to make this a vacation) who I can stay with after the interview. The interview is on a Thursday, so I would need to take three vacation days to go down for it. My question is:

Is it ok to ask to stay through the weekend and fly out Sunday instead of Friday so I can scout out the area? I would like to look at a few apartments and see what area I would like to live in, so I can arrange something if I’m offered the job without flying down again. I would like to use my last week of vacation to get moved in and to travel down with my car if I get the job so I don’t have a gap in pay.

The cost to fly back on Sunday is also considerably cheaper than to do so on Friday. I don’t want to sound presumptuous and act like I have the job and turn them off. At the same time, since I’m already there I can save vacation by having an apartment already picked out (it will likely be in one of those big complexes so if I’ve seen one I’ve seen them all and can sign a lease agreement and send it back).

The industry is laid back and tends to have very high job security and satisfaction.

Edit: I should note that the company would be paying for my lodging Wednesday and Thursday night. Friday and Saturday would be spent at a friends apartment who have limited space, if I were to stay through the weekend as I proposed.

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  • I can tell you're excited about this offer, but almost all of the first paragraph is irrelevant to your actual question. I'd edit it down to "I have a job interview in a city out of state." and join it to the second paragraph starting with "I have friends who live in the same city". – CJ Dennis Nov 5 at 1:39
  • Also make sure to mention that it will save them money. After that point your reason is /should be almost irrelevant to them. You could even just be taking a holiday in the area: they save money, they shouldnt care – Hobbamok Nov 6 at 10:32
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Is it ok to ask to stay through the weekend and fly out Sunday instead of Friday so I can scout out the area?

If you are paying for the flights, then there is no need to ask anything.

If the hiring company is paying for the flights, it's perfectly reasonable to ask if you can fly on the days you prefer, as long as that doesn't add any expense to the company.

The way you present it will determine if the company will find you presumptuous or not. If you say "I will be looking for my next apartment" that might sound presumptuous to some. If instead you say "I'll be hanging out with friends in the area", it probably won't.

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    I think it would also be reasonable to offer to pay for any additional expenses that the flight change would incur. I think if you said something like, "I'm really excited about this opportunity and have not been to that area before so I would like to spend a few days getting more familiar with the area." – JeffC Nov 4 at 15:36
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    If a company asked me to relocate to another city as a condition for the job, I'd consider it odd if they didn't offer to pay for accommodations for a few extra days to get to know the city. It's not exactly a red flag, but it could tip the scales against them if there are other questionable things that come up. – asgallant Nov 4 at 17:18
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    I think there is danger in saying you want to hang out with friends in the area. That may give the impression that this is the only reason you're doing the interview--free travel to see friends. So, for example, JeffC's suggestion ""I'm really excited about this opportunity and have not been to that area before so I would like to spend a few days getting more familiar with the area" would be an improvement that you could put in your answer instead. – msouth Nov 4 at 19:25
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    I disagree with "it's perfectly reasonable to ask if you can fly on the days you prefer, as long as that doesn't add any expense to the company." because there is no real way for you to know what the flight costs the company. Since your request could unpredictably raise or lower their costs, I would just go ahead and ask. – emory Nov 4 at 21:57
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    I'll also note, it's not just reasonable to ask, most major software companies I've interviewed with encouraged it (paying for a longer hotel stay, longer car rental, etc.). Remember, the interview isn't just you selling yourself to the company, it's the company selling itself to you, and part of that is deciding if you like the area. Even if the company doesn't offer this as a matter of course, I'd assume they'd usually view such a request as a sign of interest/seriousness. – ShadowRanger Nov 5 at 14:49
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This is one of those rare questions where the title captures it perfectly and the extra context doesn't add much at best and confuses things at worst.

is it ok to ask to stay a while longer to check out the area?

Yes, of course!

If I'd avoid anything, it's over-sharing personal details like your plans to visit friends, view apartments, etc. This stuff just doesn't matter, wanting to check out the area captures what they need to know in a few words. The only other relevant details are that you'll cover any extra costs yourself and that the flights are cheaper anyway (bonus for them!).

On the presumptuous concern, I don't view it as as anything to worry about. Flying you out for an interview and paying for accommodation implies there is a solid chance an offer could be made. Should that happen, of course you're going to want to know the area a bit, before you make a decision to relocate there.

Everyone knows it's not certain that will happen, but planning for it just makes sense. What else are you going to do - make the journey again on your own time, at very short notice, before responding to an offer? I don't imagine anyone reasonable would think it over-presumptuous to plan for this by checking the area out whilst you're there anyway for the interview.

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    I'd go as far as to say that wanting to stay and check out the area shows seriousness and interest and would instantly bump that person up in my list of "people to consider for the position" by a few points. It's not presumptuous, it's good sense. – Ruadhan2300 Nov 4 at 11:59
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    If the company is also paying for accommodation, flying home on Sunday rather than Friday would generally mean two extra nights in a hotel, which could be more than the saving on the flight. In that case, you would want to mention that you'd be staying with friends - rather than expecting them to pay for the two extra nights - so it's obvious that they are saving money. – Anthony Grist Nov 4 at 13:04
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    @AnthonyGrist I agree - that's in the 2nd paragraph - definitely tell them you'll cover the extra costs – davnicwil Nov 4 at 13:09
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    @AnthonyGrist They obviously wont pay for extra nights, mentioning that will just cause a raised eyebrow by the secretary. The only thing that might look fishy would be if they offered you a night stay after the interview, because there is no good connection back on the same day, and then you stay longer. That offer I would just decline. – Karl Nov 4 at 23:16
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    Also: Interviews are two-way things (and companies know that). They're evaluating you, but you are also evaluating them. And since the location comes with the job, staying to check it out isn't just sightseeing; it's part of the interview. – Lily Finley Nov 6 at 1:43
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I think it's about framing. If you say "I have some friends in the area I was hoping to visit soon anyway, and I've noticed that the return flight is cheaper on Sunday, would it be OK to fly back then instead?" then it sounds very reasonable and not presumptuous, in my opinion.

As an added bonus they may like that you already have some connection to the area.

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    The connection is massively important in terms of value for them! – Volker Siegel Nov 6 at 1:44
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It is ok to ask to stay longer to check out the area. Do not say you have friends there or they might conclude THAT'S why you said yes to the interview. Tell them you will pay for any extra on the flight costs incurred as well as take care of your own accommodation costs while in town. That's businesslike as it shows forethought, seriousness, and cost analysis fairness. Three things any company would appreciate.

Also, remember the people's names and be sure to mention them in any thank you correspondence-electronic or snailmail. People like to know their staff are working well, polite, and go the extra bit. If none do,don't add a thing-silence speaks too.

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If it's going to save them money, I don't think they'll care at all why you're staying longer, and I don't think you need to explain it.

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An offer to save them money while you also have the advantage of a longer stay is what's called a win-win situation. Both sides have a profit from this approach and thus you should present it as such - not begging, but offering something they (and you) profit from.

You should clearly point out that you will arrange for accomodation for the additional stay by yourself and expect no compensation for this, your only request is to move the flight date.

It may be that they (have to) refuse anyways, typically because of strict rules that don't allow for such leeways.

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Asking to stay some time longer is to your advantage.
Because it is to their advantage.

They want you to stay with them, and you can show that you want to do that!

What do they hope to get by hiring you?
Your competence, as fast as possible, and for as long as possible.

Hiring new colleagues it a really expensive thing. Because they need to train them, integrating them into the structure and culture of the company, whatever that means in the specific job. That they need to do it is just a fact of live, no need to care about that for you.

But they have a great motivation to have you with them for a long time, independent of how you do your job. The longer you stay, the longer they do not need to integrate somebody new. Which is, again, expensive, in terms of money and in terms of time others have to spend to get the next person integrated. And the longer they have the advantage of your knowledge and experience.

I would even think that it is "the professional thing to do". If they know before speaking to you that you like to stay for a couple of days longer, they know you are fully committed to the job, it's not just one of many jobs you are interested in.

It's to your advantage that they may feel a little obligation because you invested in the application. It would not fully professional to feel that, but it's hard to be 100% rational. Related to that, it makes them feel better as they do not have the situation that they wasted two days of you, especially if they reject you. That is not directly of advantage for you, but making them feel better in any way related to you probably does no harm.

I think it would be a good thing if they know you have a friend nearby, because it is a strong indication that you are bound to the location, which is, again, important. If they want you and are not short on cash, it is the professional thing to do for them to not even care what the changed flight costs. Even if it more expensive, you do not need to insist to pay the difference.

And do not forget you are their peer, on equal footing with them. As soon as they clearly want to hire you, you can be sure to have their full respect.

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