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Suppose a candidate gets invited to a job interview, which requires transatlantic travel booked one week in advance. Is it common for the employer to state that "expenses are not refunded in a case where an appointment is offered and then refused"?

Edit: I am talking about the situation where the interview is carried out as planned. After the interview, the candidate is offered a position, but the candidate ultimately decides not to take the offer.

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    Do you mean they did not show up for the interview or they went through the interview, got the job offer but did not accept the job offer? – cdkMoose Jan 21 '15 at 17:22
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    Wow, if that is stated up front then odd. If that only came up after the offer was declined then not right. – paparazzo Jan 21 '15 at 17:28
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    I can imagine a company being burned by "candidates" that apply, get a paid transatlantic flight and hotel, have a good time at the destination, then decline a job offer. After such an experience, a company may instate such a policy. – Stephan Kolassa Jan 21 '15 at 17:32
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    @Blam prescreening. Phone interviews. Skype interviews. Emails, etc, etc. – DA. Jan 21 '15 at 18:25
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    @Blam I'm not aware of this even being a 'thing'. Is this some widespread scam? People applying for jobs and attending lot of interviews and being a perfect match only to get a free trip to some suburban office? Point being that I believe most normal employee hiring screening processes will make this a rather moot concern. If, for whatever reason, it happens to be a problem for some particular hiring manager, perhaps they should stop doing on-site interviews. :) – DA. Jan 21 '15 at 18:36
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As I read the question: a prospective employer is saying to a candidate: we are offering to pay for you to make a trip to visit us, but our willingness to pay is contingent on your accepting the job if we offer it. In other words, the possible outcomes are:

  1. no offer -- reimbursement
  2. offer rejected -- no reimbursement
  3. offer accepted -- reimbursement

The prospective employer has every right to present these terms, and the candidate has every right to reject them. In my experience, I've never heard of such a thing, for what that's worth.

If I were the candidate, I'd need a written commitment with a great deal of detail before I'd accept this proposition. The only case in which it makes sense to me is one in which a great deal of communication has already happened at a distance and the in-person interview is a sort of pro-forma ritual. Still, it's pretty unfair for the employer to retain the right to reject the employee and refuse that right, effectively, the other way around. So I'd characterize it as a jerk move.

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    Unless it is entirely clear in advance what the terms of employment will be are and they undertake not to alter those terms, add further conditions, etc. then you should be very cautious about incurring significant travel costs: if the employer makes an offer you're unable to accept (pay too low, expectation of out-of-hours work which conflicts with your domestic commitments), then you're stuck with the travel costs. – user52889 Jan 21 '15 at 18:15
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    Indeed, these reimbursement terms could be used as a negotiating tactic to create incentive for the applicant to accept a lower offer than otherwise. – John Wu Aug 15 '18 at 20:16
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If the hiring company initially agreed to pay for the travel, then they should stand by their word.

I'm sure they didn't promise the candidate a job before the interview, so why should the candidate have to promise to accept the job(and the company). The interview process is for both sides to be able to evaluate the opportunity and freely decide whether to go further.

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If I was going to pay a candidate to travel for an interview with my company and that candidate decided to decline the interview or otherwise not appear then there would be no way that I would reimburse them for the travel costs.

I'm paying for that person to show up. Doesn't matter if I ultimately decide to hire them or not, as long as they hold up their end up the bargain to appear for the interview then I'll pay.

Now, if I (as the employer) cancel the interview for whatever reason then I would still reimburse them.

update

To add a little bit: If the candidate does show up then I will provide the reimbursement check during the interview. My payment for their travel would NOT be contingent upon them accepting an offer. Only on that they appeared for the interview as agreed.

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  • I don't mean to decline the interview; I mean to decline the position. I have edited the question to clarify. – gerrit Jan 21 '15 at 17:21
  • @gerrit: I've modified the answer for that situation. – NotMe Jan 21 '15 at 18:05

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