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I applied for a role in the city I live. The role was announced on Indeed, and the location on the job description was the city I live. During the first phase of the interview, I heard that the role is in another city, say ThatCity. And that "although not mandatory, people are expected to show up 2-3 times, if not more, in the office", but they’re ok that I take time to relocate.

In that first call, I’d heard that the interview steps are all remote/online. No question about this-- I specifically asked and verified even the names I’m supposed to meet with with the ones I looked up on LinkedIn while we were talking.

In the following email which I received today, I’m asked for an in-person interview-- what is my availability this week, whether I can go to ThatCity for it. As if nothing talked the last time, and no mention of a reimbursement or anything near it.

The company and the role are interesting and I’m eager to take a project. I also can relocate over time. I'm thinking of responding with something like “..can’t travel this week, ..can we meet online”

What concerns me is-- isn't this all a bit too shifty? Things can change new decisions can be made, I'd understand that. But out of nowhere without a hint as if nothing happened before gives me an uneasy feeling. The way it's been carried on, I'd doubt my hearing abilities before I doubt anything they say.

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    Yes, it's super shifty. Trust your gut. If they keep on changing these minor details, they're going to change other details as well. Jun 16 at 2:13
  • Is reimbursement expected? I've never been reimbursed for any interview, even if I had to travel to other cities.
    – user25730
    Jun 16 at 3:45
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    It could be shifty, or there could be a couple of different roles on offer and there is a bit of confusion about which you applied for. Jun 16 at 4:30
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    @user25730: It depends. In the US, reimbursement of travel expenses to and from the interview is pretty routine, if the distance is sufficient to require significant travel. At the very least, mileage is paid. If the interview trip requires air travel and an overnight hotel stay, reimbursement is standard procedure. Jun 16 at 5:32
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    I agree with @GregoryCurrie, could be a mistake in the sense that there are more than one position open and the recruiter got confused between the two. Worth sending a polite reply to that email or even giving a quick call to confirm with them Jun 16 at 6:04
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Many times incompetence is seen as something more sinister. Perhaps the person interviewing isn't aware of the other communications that indicated a remote interview was planned, or they prefer to see their best candidates in person.

This company has clearly expressed a desire to have their employees central to their offices. If you can accommodate the relocation, then this job might be for you. Keep in mind that they're pushing you to accelerate your on-site interview right now, you can trust them to also push you to accelerate your relocation, something that will be easier to do after you've accepted the position.

In my opinion, a company that's willing to show you they're going to push you into a decision on this matter doesn't tell you much about why they are pushing you this way. They could be pushing you to relocated because of various reasons:

  • They are under a mandate to have all employees local, due to perceived or actual improvement in performance.
  • They have had a large number of candidates that were close to accepting, but backed out due to relocation due to something undesirable in the location.
  • They have a "direct observation" management model, where if you're not observably working, you're not working.
  • They have a "undocumented" verbal chain of command, where you'll be told to do things that they'd prefer not to communicate in email.

Generally, the push to have you relocate might not be shady, but the "2 to 3" times visiting the office is shady; because, it wasn't clearly scoped within a time frame. 2 to 3 times a week is a contract you can meet or break. 2 to 3 times a year is again a contract that can be met or broken. 2 to 3 times is a platitude which sounds like a little, but you can't be sure if you've ever met it due to the lack of time frame.

Maybe what they are worried about is harmless; but, it is clear they aren't sharing it with you. If you attempt to discover the issue, to see if you can handle it; remember they didn't trust you to handle it before. This likely means they won't trust you in other ways about the position, so I wouldn't expect them to come fully clean about the undesirable aspects of the position.

Trust yourself. If you think something's not right, odds are good that you are correct. People don't intend to; but, they often give away information that something is not right. You are detecting that.

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The first step may be to contact the HR of this company and let them know that the job description clearly stated that the job would be located in your city and not the other one, and to confirm the details of the job. It's likely someone simply copy-pasted something wrong and it's helpful for the company to know this.

Now, as for what to do about the current situation: Is ThatCity far from where you live? Is it unreasonable for you to go there for an interview? If you live in NYC and the job is in SF, that's an unreasonable distance to commute, on your own dime, for a job interview, and at that point I'd just say to the company: "I was under the impression that the interviews for this position would either be remote or local or be compensated, and if it's none of those then I'm not going to be able to do the interviews", and that's it. You may want to phrase it as a request: "I understand you have an office in XYZ city, can I do the interview there instead?", rather than a demand. I've had similar situations where attending an interview would be too arduous, and the company has usually made a consideration for me, by doing the interview remotely in one case or by having the interview at a different site that was more convenient in another case.

If the other city is convenient for you and you can reasonably do the interview, then go ahead and do it. I would let the company HR know anyway that you were expecting all this stuff to be in your city, as above, just so they're aware that there is an error in the job posting, but otherwise if you can accomodate, then go ahead and do it. I'm more likely to believe that someone copypasted something wrong by accident than that this is an intentional bait-and-switch.

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