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I'm planning to move to a new location in the UK and have started applying there. I'm worried that when I start being asked for interviews, it will be very expensive and time consuming to attend them. It would involve a 10 hour round trip each time to get to an interview. Do I just have to bear and grin it as I take the cost or are there ways of reducing it?

  • How can I find out if the employer is really considering hiring me?
  • Is it ok to ask for any compensation?
  • Is it ok to ask for a Skype interview instead - and should I? Would it spoil my chances?
  • Usually in the UK you have to pay to attend interviews yourself. Perhaps having two interviews on the same day in the same city might help. – Ed Heal Feb 5 '16 at 13:19
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How they approach the interview process depends on whether you present yourself as being from out of town or not.

If you send your resume with a cover-letter explaining that you live elsewhere, but are moving there as soon as you get a job lined up then they will be far more likely to accommodate your requests.

- How can I find out if the employer is really considering hiring me?

Unfortunately there is no way to know that. Speak to them and judge it as best you can. Remember not to consider any deal final until you've signed on the line which is dotted. (kudos to anyone who gets the reference)

- Is it OK to ask for any (travel) compensation?

You can certainly ask! Whether or not they'll help you out or not depends to be seen. The smaller the business, probably the smaller the odds that they can bear the brunt of your expenses. Keep in mind that they won't consider it unless they're very interested in you. Just be polite about it and see what happens.

- Is it OK to ask for a Skype interview instead - and should I? Would it spoil my chances?

Since the distance is significant they will most likely request to interview you either by phone or Skype before they request an in-person meeting. At that point you can ask about travel expenses. If they don't want to cover anything then you may wish to reconsider seeking employment with them - at that point does even a Skype interview make sense?

If they do, however, then try to schedule as many interviews as close together as possible, and maybe go down for a few at a time. A company may accept delaying your interview a few days if they're really interested in you, and if they know you're travelling quite a long way to get there.

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  • nice Glengarry Glen Ross reference ;) – RSmith Feb 5 '16 at 14:49
  • Oddly enough, none of the lines on which I've ever signed has been dotted. – Joel Etherton Feb 5 '16 at 20:48
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Is it ok to ask for any compensation?

Yes. Any company that isn't going to pay expenses for interview candidates either isn't serious about hiring you, or has a penny-pinching culture that means you probably don't want to work there.

Is it ok to ask for a Skype interview instead - and should I?

I'd phrase this as "could we have an initial chat over Skype?" rather than "could we do the interview over Skype?". A company is going to want to see you in the flesh before hiring you, and you should want to see the company in the flesh before taking a job offer.

Would it spoil my chances?

We can't answer that, as it will vary from company to company. I'd say it shouldn't affect your chances with a good company, but there are some good companies out there with poor HR departments...

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  • Any company that isn't going to pay expenses for interview candidates... That will very much depend on the country/culture. Are you answering from a UK perspective? – user8036 Feb 5 '16 at 13:12
  • Yes, and I guess for knowledge workers in the UK as well. – Philip Kendall Feb 5 '16 at 13:15
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Firstly, be upfront. Despite what Philip Kendall has said actually many companies in the UK (even multinationals) WILL NOT have a budget to pay for you to come to interview. That said, if they know up front you are relocating there is the possibility they will be able to help, so by all means discuss it, but know what you'll do if they are keen but can't help you.

This can be a double edged sword, however, you may chase off some potentials simply by being based away, they may have doubts about your ability to move in a timeframe that suits (and will often just bin you, rather than actually ask), it can be good to be able to state your relocation plans and (even ballpark) dates.

Another thing if you get interest is to try and book a block of interviews, so say look to travel to your target location and stay for a few days, with multiple interviews booked over the time. The accommodation costs can be much less than a number of flights/train tickets/fuel etc.

Skype: - In a remote scenario I think it makes perfect sense to have some kind of discussion like this, maybe even multiple interviews, so by all means mention it, but make sure they know your remote first. It won't harm your chances, but make sure you thoroughly test your setup before the interview, no easier way to make you go off message than stuttering dropouts, and that can put them off.

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  • I think the key point is "in the UK" -- meaning that this depends heavily on where you are. In the US, paying reasonable travel expenses for a serious (as opposed to screening) interview is not at all uncommon. This may be related to "In the US 100 years is a long time; in the UK 100 miles is a long distance" -- American hiring often involves transcontinental relocation. – keshlam Feb 5 '16 at 13:46
  • In the UK, the last time a company offered to meet my travel expenses for an interview was in 1987. – Marv Mills Feb 5 '16 at 15:38
  • @keshlam - Yes, but the poster is in (or is relocating to) the UK – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 6 '16 at 19:07
  • Inderstood; I'm just pointing out why the expectations are different. – keshlam Feb 6 '16 at 20:54
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Over the last year I (based in Scotland) have interviewed individuals from Australia, Singapore, India, Switzerland and the US, and what works for me as an employer (and will no doubt also work for you) is to run an initial round of telephone interviews. This helps me get an idea of who I want to take further without spending too much. Unless I know you are a leader in your specific field I would not pay to fly you from a foreign country just for a first interview - I need to have a reasonable degree of confidence that you are right for the role.

Yes, it's an extra round of interviews, potentially, but those should not spoil your chances. In fact they should be a benefit for both candidate and employer - and if you can arrange it via video conferencing such as Skype then all the better, but plan for technological failure so that if video fails you can still continue with voice as time slots can be difficult to get.

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  • And communicating that plan for failure at the time you set up the interview would start them out with a good impression of your organizational ability. All you would need to say is something along the lines of "if we lose the Skype connection, so you have a phone number you want me to call to continue the interview in person or will you call my contact number?" – HLGEM Feb 5 '16 at 15:56
  • Absolutely. I have had many video calls fail, and having a fall back is essential – Rory Alsop Feb 5 '16 at 16:11

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