Author Topic: Paying To Go Interview?  (Read 606 times)

Daydreamingdonkey

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Paying To Go Interview?
« on: October 09, 2019, 06:07:35 AM »
I’m a PhD candidate on the market this year (liberal arts), and in browsing past posts and reading articles, I’m shocked to see that sometimes campus visit travel is expected to be paid for by the applicant and then later reimbursed. As someone working on a rather limited graduate income, this is worrisome. I’ve seen some people report that it’s taken months to get reimbursed for travel expenses after being ghosted (or hearing back and not getting the job) by departments looking to hire. It would seem to me that if a department is serious, they would pay for the campus visit travel, but maybe I’m incorrect about this. Can anyone speak to how often this occurs and under what circumstances it might occur?

Ruralguy

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 08:30:39 AM »
Its very common practice as it mirrors what they do for their own employees.
However, if you really are unable to swing this, just tell them, and they probably can manage it. With direct bank payments these can often take less than a month now.

Cheerful

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2019, 10:12:31 AM »
If you get a bunch of interviews that reimburse only, it'll be a good problem to have, better than no interviews.  You'll manage.  Try not to worry about such things now, all your visits might pay up front.

The subject line of your post suggests paying for one's own interview, no reimbursement.  I would NOT accept an interview request under those conditions.

Good luck!


RatGuy

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2019, 11:14:06 AM »
If you get a bunch of interviews that reimburse only, it'll be a good problem to have, better than no interviews.  You'll manage.  Try not to worry about such things now, all your visits might pay up front.

The subject line of your post suggests paying for one's own interview, no reimbursement.  I would NOT accept an interview request under those conditions.

Good luck!

My first year on the job market, I had a campus visit at a school in a different state (but within driving distance). They requested that I drive to save them money, and they promised to reimburse gas and lodging. They did neither.

in2ny

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 12:39:06 PM »
I’m a PhD candidate on the market this year (liberal arts), and in browsing past posts and reading articles, I’m shocked to see that sometimes campus visit travel is expected to be paid for by the applicant and then later reimbursed. As someone working on a rather limited graduate income, this is worrisome. I’ve seen some people report that it’s taken months to get reimbursed for travel expenses after being ghosted (or hearing back and not getting the job) by departments looking to hire. It would seem to me that if a department is serious, they would pay for the campus visit travel, but maybe I’m incorrect about this. Can anyone speak to how often this occurs and under what circumstances it might occur?

It's normal on many campuses is you pay for your own travel and then get reimbursed. This is true for job interviews, and also for business travel once you become a professor. The one exception is often the hotel, if it's near campus and they have an internal negotiated rate with the hotel. Frankly, given the amount of time it can take to get any kind of check issued at many universities, there may be no alternative. That is, by the time they go through the process to get you an advance for your trip the job search will be over.

Cheerful

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 12:52:21 PM »

My first year on the job market, I had a campus visit at a school in a different state (but within driving distance). They requested that I drive to save them money, and they promised to reimburse gas and lodging. They did neither.

That's awful. Public or private?  Did you have their pledge in writing?  Always get things documented on email.  Did you contact people up the chain or let it go?

pink_

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 01:15:02 PM »
On my campus, if you are a finalist, we pay your hotel and meals and reimburse your travel expenses. If you drive, you get mileage and if you fly, we ask that you book a reasonable ticket and we reimburse you when you turn in your receipt (you can do this electronically to the SC and they'll fill out the form). You don't have to go so far as to get the basic ticket that doesn't allow you to bring any luggage, but you also shouldn't be upgrading to the free drinks and extra legroom seats. It takes a couple weeks to reimburse, but our SC Chairs are usually very good about turning the paperwork in quickly so the process doesn't get dragged out. This is the same process for faculty when we go to conferences. We have to apply for funding ahead of time, and if it's approved, we turn in receipts and get reimbursed up to the cap per person. Anything over the cap usually comes out of pocket. This is pretty common among small private tuition-driven institutions.

Aster

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2019, 01:20:16 PM »
When I went out on my first face-to-face interviews over a decade ago, maybe half of them were not reimbursed at all by the hosting college. Everything was on your dime. Well, one of the colleges had a nice committee member who offered to buy me a coke from the soda machine.

Reimbursement is nice.

Hibush

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2019, 02:31:08 PM »
What many can do through their travel office is to pay the hotel and airfare directly. Those are usually the big dollar items, so just doing those two helps a lot.

Search committees are highly aware of graduate student finances. So you don't need to explain in detail. For example, "It would be helpful if you could pay the hotel and airfare directly. Is that a possibility?"

Hegemony

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2019, 04:42:55 PM »
I like paying myself and getting reimbursed, because then I get the frequent flyer miles.

pedanticromantic

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2019, 10:30:10 PM »
I like paying myself and getting reimbursed, because then I get the frequent flyer miles.

I agree, and it makes up for any interest payments you have to make on credit cards while waiting for reimbursement! Find an airline that works for you and stick with it! I've flown half way around the world business class on miles that I earned by paying for flights myself and then getting reimbursed.

Hibush

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2019, 04:32:20 AM »
I like paying myself and getting reimbursed, because then I get the frequent flyer miles.

I agree, and it makes up for any interest payments you have to make on credit cards while waiting for reimbursement! Find an airline that works for you and stick with it! I've flown half way around the world business class on miles that I earned by paying for flights myself and then getting reimbursed.
It may work for professors, but for a graduate student who needs to pay off the credit card to avoid interest charges, those could be extremely expensive miles that don't lead to any fancy trips.

polly_mer

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2019, 05:31:17 AM »
It would seem to me that if a department is serious, they would pay for the campus visit travel, but maybe I’m incorrect about this.

Part of the job search is deciding whether you will take the job as offered.  One consideration could be whether an institution has satisfactory mechanisms for expenses.  As Hibush wrote, you can ask to have certain expenses paid upfront for you.  Sometimes another possibility is to get reimbursement for incurred expenses before the trip, like the airfare since hotels aren't necessarily prepaid, and less commonly a cash advance for per diem.  The response from the institution is likely to provide you valuable information regarding what life will be like at the institution for the new hire.

If the search chair reacts negatively to the reasonable request to have the institution pay hotel and airfare upfront, then that's information related to how your possible future colleagues will respond to many standard requests that involve asking for resources.

If the response is a rueful "we can't do that", then that's also information related to how the institution has processes related to standard operations and/or the ability of colleagues to figure out ways to get things done when the system is not in alignment with the reality for individual needs.

If the response is an adherence to whatever process and a heavy sigh about how long reimbursement takes, then that's perhaps the time to ask additional questions related to estimated timelines and budgets for whatever it is you need to do your job.  If they can't figure out a way to pay upfront for at least airfare and promise a quick turnaround on reimbursement for the hotel, then what else can't they do that's a normal part of business?  Buying paper for the copy machine?  Scheduling for the next term?  Having new courses added to the curriculum in a timely enough manner that you aren't wasting 3 years for a new elective?
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Ruralguy

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2019, 06:57:47 AM »
I agree with Polly 100% on this. Ask...and then depending on response, make a decision, and store the response as a data point about that school/dept..

simpleSimon

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Re: Paying To Go Interview?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2019, 01:18:17 PM »
My first year on the job market, I had a campus visit at a school in a different state (but within driving distance). They requested that I drive to save them money, and they promised to reimburse gas and lodging. They did neither.

Something similar happened to be me once several years ago at a law school; I flew across the country to interview with them.  When I contacted them for reimbursement they actually wrote back and said they were not going to reimburse me because they never agreed to do so initially and I was “at fault” for assuming reimbursement.  I was not happy with that reply.  So I wrote a letter to the university President.  In the letter, I noted that I (and my colleagues) have always been reimbursed when selected for interviews and found it odd that his university would be an outlier; I cautioned that I would warn my colleagues to avoid applying to this institution in the future; I also indicated that my family had two students enrolled at the school and we would not be donors, now or in the future, based on this experience.  The President’s office wrote back, apologized for my experience, asked for my interview receipts, and immediately reimbursed my expenses.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2019, 03:13:02 PM by fast_and_bulbous »