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I sent a cover letter to a company that is far away from where I live. A few days ago, I got an email from them to come to their office for an interview. After considering my circumstances in last few days, I don't think it is possible to travel to the place where the company is located. The first thing I think of is the cost. Even if I come all the way to the city where the company is located, it is still not sure that I will be accepted at the company, even though I would have spent a lot of money for a plane ticket.

I am a bit uncomfortable asking them to interview me via Skype (it seems like I am dictating their interview process). Is it fine if I say: "Where permitted, I would be glad if we could interview via Skype?"? Will it undermine the employer's first impression of me?

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    Do they know where you are located? In my experience, companies will often cover travel costs for interview candidates. Has there been any discussion of this option? – yoozer8 Apr 10 '14 at 12:12
  • What industry are you in? It may be helpful to get feedback from others as to how common/uncommon it is for an employer in this particular industry to pay travel costs for a job interview. – PurpleVermont Apr 10 '14 at 22:53
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    I would add that you should be as flexible as possible and be ready to accept a webEx, hangouts, etc. as well if the company doesn't use Skype for whatever reason (it's fairly common). – user2813274 Dec 11 '14 at 20:02
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They do know you are in a different province? Normally in a long distance hire the interviewer would be picking up the expense of a flight (and maybe accommodation if required). This could be done either by the interviewer booking/paying for these, or you may need to pay and claim back. either way it shouldn't stop you going to the interview.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with asking if you can skype, but likely the interviewer is wanting a face-to-face as skype isn't the same (and can be more harrowing, trying to keep cool whilst the picture drops out etc) as a face-to-face. You'll probably need to do a face-to-face before the final decision is made, so you may be just delaying the inevitable.

If they aren't suggesting to pay, that's maybe a sign of things to come - by which I mean that if they are being tight with money at this stage, it may be worse once you are employed - so think before you move.

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    Probably taking a bus to client meetings. – Juha Untinen Apr 10 '14 at 10:43
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    It's possible that they don't realize that it's a long-distance situation. In my experience, some recruiters don't check addresses too carefully when following up on resumes/cover letters/applications and simply assume that the prospect is somewhat local. – alroc Apr 10 '14 at 11:10
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    It's so normal that companies pay for interview travel expenses they may simply not have thought to mention it. Absolutely ask the company before jumping to conclusions. – DJClayworth Apr 10 '14 at 13:38
  • Absolutely, that's why I initially questioned if they knew he was in a different province, they may have assumed he was close, and relocation could affect a hire decision. – The Wandering Dev Manager Apr 10 '14 at 13:41
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    @DJClayworth - while I agree he should ask, it's getting more common that to find companies that don't pay. – thursdaysgeek Apr 10 '14 at 15:51
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This depends somewhat on the industry, but in most industries, the company would normally be expected to cover the travel costs if they want to do a face-to-face interview with someone from far away. (However, it is my understanding that when hiring teachers, for example, travel is at the prospective employee's expense.)

You should find out what the standard is for your industry. If it is standard for the employer to pay expenses, you call HR and ask them, since you're located X miles from their location, whether they would typically pay for travel expenses for an interview. At that point, if they don't, they might offer to do at least a first round interview via phone or Skype, and if not, it would be reasonable for you to ask if that would be a possibility. Good luck!

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