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  #1  
Old 07-08-2018, 01:42 PM
royevans royevans is offline
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Default What's considered expensable for interviews?

Let's say a company flies you out on a Sunday afternoon. Interview lasts Monday till 1ish. You fly back at 4ish and reach home at night. What is considered expensable?

Obviously plane tickets and room are.... what about dinner the day before? what about breakfast the day of? What about misc travel expenses like water bottles or snacks?
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:54 PM
Westley Westley is offline
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Just submit it all. They can reject it if they want to. Person reviewing expenses is almost certainly not somebody you care about. If you're exchanging emails with HR, you might just tell them you weren't sure about the policy so you threw in everything and they can let you know if it's a problem (I wouldn't make this an email, but might tack it onto some other email about logistics or whatever). Only thing I'd consider questionable would be if you included dinner on Monday, but still expensable IMO.
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:26 PM
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I would say generally all meals/snacks while not in your home city. Debatable if food in your home airport counts but probably fine. Assuming you're not spending like $100 per meal.

This is generally what I go by when traveling for work because our expense policy is really vague and my boss just said be reasonable.

It's possible I guess that they only want defined 3 meals in a day and not ad hoc snacks or water but I've always charged those things on business travel (in reality, my business travel rarely ends up having many full sit down meals and is a lot of $5 sandwiches and Starbucks in airports and stuff while running to catch a meeting/plane, so usually more than 3 charges in a day but all pretty small).

In my past interviews, I have always done day trips rather than staying a night. I never charged food but that was because I wasn't really familiar with customary business travel expenses since I hadn't traveled for work before. I just expensed the train/plane. If I traveled for an interview now, I'd probably expense everything you listed.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:41 PM
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Colonel Smoothie Colonel Smoothie is offline
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I haven't done one of these in a while. But you should be able to ask ahead of time what's appropriate.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:52 PM
Dr T Non-Fan Dr T Non-Fan is offline
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Easier way is to eat at the hotel, charge to the room, and the company, which booked the room and has paid for it all, takes care of it.
Also, they booked the air travel.

If you are interviewing a company that makes you take care of all that, either they're too small to have a reimbursement department (HR or Finance), or it's a red flag imo

So, if it's small, then do what CS suggests, and ask what is reimbursable. I mean, you book a flight, do you go first class, expecting them to reimburse you? ASK!!
Just ask for a copy of their travel and reimbursement policy. You can read, it is assumed.
Again, if they don't even have one of these, red flag imo
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Old 07-09-2018, 05:53 AM
Father Flynn Father Flynn is offline
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For an interview, I would not bother submitting expenses assuming the company paid for the hotel and plane tickets already. While technically, I believe most companies would pay for your food, taxi, etc. since it's consistent with their T&E policy. I think it sends somewhat of a bad message given the monetary value of the expenses. This is of course assuming you are an external candidate.
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Old 07-09-2018, 07:23 AM
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actuarialgenes actuarialgenes is offline
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I mostly agree with the posters above. Be reasonable, and since you don’t have the job yet I’d err on the side of expensing too little rather than too much. One thing that I think can help your case when trying to get approval is to get detailed/itemized receipts for your meals - to show that you didn’t order yourself a four course meal, that burger and Coke at the airport really cost $26. I think roughly $60-100 per day for all food and incidentals is a good limit to target. Don’t expense anything that could be viewed as unnecessary: get your alcohol (if you drink) put on a separate check and pay that out of pocket, don’t charge the magazine you bought at the airport newsstand, etc.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:07 AM
Westley Westley is offline
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I think it sends somewhat of a bad message given the monetary value of the expenses.
Would be interested in hearing more on this. I mostly disagree I think. Presumably, your response is something about minor expenses and expecting the company to take care of everything and the pettiness or entitlement mentality (feel free to clarify, I could be way off). I do think the entitlement mentality is something to pay attention to, especially if you're a young guy interviewing at an old company.

However, a few counterpoints:
1 Most likely, nobody making decisions is bothering with the expense review and reimbursement. Unless you do something really abusive (say, expense a $200 dinner at a strip club), it's not affecting any decisions.
2 One message you might want to avoid is what I said above - that you're high-maintenance or entitled. The flip side is that the company is expected to pay for everything and to not expense it also sends a message perhaps, that you don't think you're worth their money. The basic deal for interviews is that you have to take time off of your current job to discuss with them, and they aren't paying anything to you for your time - so of course they are paying all the expenses.
3 "monetary value of the expenses" - I assume you think it's a small number? For the schedule laid out by the OP, and an interview in NYC, Sunday dinner, Monday breakfast, and taxis to/from LGA could easily be $150, which isn't small to a lot of young people.


I do agree I think with your belief that expensing a $2 granola bar or whatever isn't worth the hassle for me personally, but if you want to, go ahead.



ETA: And I certainly wouldn't have a problem expensing one beer with dinner. A bottle of wine or three Manhattans, I would get a separate check but still not really out of concern that they would somehow find out or it would affect their opinion.
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Old 07-09-2018, 08:39 AM
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This may be one of those things where the thing that you need to do in order to maximize your chances of landing a job varies from hiring manager to hiring manager or company to company so that most advice on what you need to do is meaningless - like sending thank you cards or writing a cover letter. Now, do you care about getting a job, or getting a job that you'd like?

Although, I think with expenses there's a bit less variance here and I think most of the time, the person approving your expense report isn't someone you care about.

That being said, I think you should expense whatever you'd normally expense on a business trip, and don't be worried about being rejected by a tightwad (my Bayesian prior here is that the chances are slim), because that's probably the best outcome for you.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:04 AM
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Maphisto's Sidekick Maphisto's Sidekick is offline
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Originally Posted by Westley View Post
Would be interested in hearing more on this. I mostly disagree I think. Presumably, your response is something about minor expenses and expecting the company to take care of everything and the pettiness or entitlement mentality (feel free to clarify, I could be way off). I do think the entitlement mentality is something to pay attention to, especially if you're a young guy interviewing at an old company.
Superficially, I would say that headaches over expense reimbursement are a sign of a corporate culture of bureaucracy that might make a company a less-than-desirable place to work.

Or it's a sign that you got carried away with your expense report.

I wouldn't let a headache over an expense report be the sole reason I would decline a job offer. But if I left the on-site interview with an odd feeling about the place, a hassle over getting a modest dinner reimbursed could be that one thing that makes up my mind.

On the general question of what is considered expensible: it might be better to think of it as "what should I expense" vs "what can I expense" given that you're trying to make a good impression.

Airfare and hotel are obviously expensible (the interviewing company probably buys the plane tickets directly)

Cab/Uber fare to/from the airport is expensible. Mileage and parking fees are expensible, although I'd be tempted to eat these costs unless, say, you were being flown out for several days of interviews, or if you have to travel an extended distance to the airport. If you're expensing parking, chose a lot charging the prevailing long-term rate, rather than an expensive garage.

Meals between departure and return are generally expensible, although company policies may vary. I would never expense a fast food / food court meal; nor would I put a breakfast on my report if I were staying at a hotel that claims to have free breakfast (even if the free breakfast is inedible for some reason). And dinners...be reasonable; think about what you might spend at a mid-range chain restaurant, and do that. Make the expense report look as unremarkable as possible (neither too outrageous, nor too thrifty).

Last edited by Maphisto's Sidekick; 07-09-2018 at 09:24 AM..
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