Work Etiquette Question

I’m am about to graduate from school and am in the early process of being hired by a company that has many branches all over the country. The first person I was talking to officially about this was the Western supervisor. Once we had narrowed down the state I was interested in moving to, she put me in contact with the state manager, to help me coordinate the specific branch I would be hired on to. The state manager is encouraging me to drive up and visit the place, which, under normal circumstances, I would be more than happy to do. The problem is, I am broker than broke at the moment. My school schedule this year prevented me from keeping any sort of regular part time job and my school loans are barely enough to keep the credit cards at bay and put cup of noodles on the table.

Would it be excessively weird to decline visiting the potential branch where I’ll be working and ask to start the meat of the hiring process directly? Would that set off alarm bells to the employer?

How far along with the hiring process are you?

Just starting? I think it would be appropriate to determine if the relationship between the company and you is mutually beneficial first. It is actually a bit strange for them to ask you to visit first unless this is some weird, illogical ‘test’.

If they have offered you or will be offering you the position, then it would send alarm bells to not visit…FOR YOU! I would be extremely cautious about accepting jobs to places sight unseen.

Assuming it is the first…I am thinking they are just ‘being polite’.

EDIT - On rereading I see YOU said you were interested in moving there…which means they do not usually look at out of staters for hiring. I revise my thinking above and delete the weird/illogical part. I think what they are saying is that you need to show up there to be considered a serious applicant.

Sorry for the lack of clarity:

We’re far enough along in the hiring process that they will be offering me a job. We’ve talked salaries and benefits and all that jazz. I just haven’t had an actual contract posted yet.

The job I’m looking at requires specific training that is only offered in a few states. This company is pretty used to recruiting new grads from one of the states with a school to work at a branch in a state that doesn’t have a school. So, the idea of working for the company in general came before actually picking out a location to work. I know it’s backwards. Let me know if that is still confusing.

I agree that it is risky for me to agree to work anywhere without actually visiting the place first. Like I said, I would visit if I had the cash. But, I won’t have the cash until I work the job.
And, I know my employer is going to find out about my money strapped situation one way or another. I just feel really awkward admitting it to the state manager, a guy I’ve only exchanged 2 emails with.

Graduating seniors at my engineering school typically interviewed with company recruiters on-campus through the placement office. If the company was sufficiently interested in the student, he or she would then be invited to fly out for a “plant visit”. This was an interview at the company’s offices or factory and the company would pay for the trip. (Typically, they would arrange the airline ticket and hotel room so that the student didn’t have to pay for this in advance.)

I don’t know what happens at your school but you might ask the placement office if students are typically asked to pay for the cost of onsite interviews.

I can’t imagine a hiring manager batting an eye at a new college graduate who’s strapped for cash.

That was my experience with about five employers, but then again, I was a computer science grad in 1979, a pretty high-demand major at that time.

I would not say the part about “let’s get cracking on the hiring process!” Remember that getting a job is like getting a date – for completely irrational reasons, we are more attractive when we do not come across as too eager. Interested, of course; but you are as much to be wooed by them, as they are by you. So nothing should convey “Trip, schmip – when can I start???”

That said, I see nothing wrong with very frankly saying, “I’d love to go to Toledo to see the factory, but I’m afraid my budget won’t allow the trip at this point.” They can then either say “Oh, we’ll pay for it!” or “Gee, that’s too bad.” As others have said, they should not be surprised to find a newly-minted graduate is strapped for cash.

But make no apologies and give no long excuses for why you can’t afford it; that’s none of their business. Nor do they need to know if you’re the “can’t go skiing in Switzerland this year” kind of broke or the “eating cat food” kind of broke. Just tell them you can’t afford it but reiterate your continued interest in the job, and see what they say.

Since the OP is really asking for informed opinions, let’s move the to IMHO.

Moderator, General Questions

I think Jodi’s advice is great! In most cases the employer would be paying for this trip, but in this economy you are wise to tread lightly.

Instead of saying that you’re broke, you might ask if the company will reimburse you for travel expenses later or you will receive a cash advance. (In other words, your assumption is that they company is paying for the trip and not you.)

So you have a verbal offer and you just need to pick a location before they do the paperwork? I’d also tell them that you’re confident that Toledo (or wherever) is the best location for you to live right now. If they see that there’s really no reason you’d pick any other office then they’ll probably let it drop. Most people respect personal preference when it comes to relocating.

If you picked that area because you have friends or family there then just tell them that, that’s generally seen as a perfectly fine reason to pick one corporate location over another. If your reasoning is a little more whimsical, like you’re a huge fan of the local college football team … well, maybe then don’t tell them that but say you’ve researched the area and you know it’s right for you.

Most large companies would allow a potential hire to expense a trip. If you’re a recent college grad, you probably have less money than an average eight year-old. I’m sure the hiring manager would understand.

Thanks for the advice everyone! I’ll let the state manager know that I would love to visit, but finances are tight, plus, the research I’ve done on the location and the close proximity to friends indicate it will be an excellent choice (all true statements, by the way). If he offers to comp the trip expenses, great. If not, ok.

'Preciate it!

No dice :frowning:
Manager strongly encourages me to visit, doesn’t want me to be trapped in a place on a minimum year long contract with people I don’t like, flights to Seattle are pretty cheap now, maybe he can have someone pick me up so I don’t have to get a rental car, yadda yadda.

I don’t think he understands exactly how broke I mean when I say I’m broke.


At this point I would ask if they could provide a travel advance rather than waiting for you to submit your receipts.

Maybe that’s their intention…


Of course, in this economy you might not have much of a choice…but my alarm bells are screaming loud in my head over this one.

No help with travel costs has been offered at all, not advances nor reimbursement.

I spoke with the guy for like 10 minutes, mentioning multiple times that, with the research I’ve done, I know we’ll be happy in the area and that I have serious expenditures that have to take priority.

I suppose I could ask outright for travel money, but that feels really awkward. Also, I’ve already outright asked his superiors with help moving, and they turned me down.

I hope you won’t mind if I say this sounds like me as a teenager ‘asking girls out’.
I would talk to them, but never mention a date. :o
And I never got one.

Since you haven’t got the cash, you need to ask directly for travel money. (If you can’t do that, how will you cope with any problems on the job?)
I like Jodi’s way of putting it: “I’d love to go to Toledo to see the factory, but I’m afraid my budget won’t allow the trip at this point.”

P.S. You mentioned credit card debt earlier. That’s expensive - pay it off as soon as possible!

I know, that’s why I’m trying to get a job :stuck_out_tongue:

But that’s essentially what I said. Me: “I understand why you are recommending a visit and, under normal circumstances, I would come without pause, but our finances are really strapped right now.”

I think this guy is thinking I’m “shouldn’t buy Starbucks this month” kind of broke instead of “one delayed student loan away from living in my car” kind of broke.

Should I be more blatant with him? Considering I’ve been turned down for moving help from his superiors, what are the odds that he’s going to be able to authorize me travel money?

I think you really have only two choices at this point: (a) scrape up the money somehow, if that’s possible and if you think it’s worth it (for me, it would have probably been a loan from the Bank of Dad; or (b) frankly tell the guy, “Look, I would really love to go see the facility, but I just can’t afford it. I’ve been over my finances, and I just can’t make it work. I’m very interested in the job, and I’m confident I’d love it and be a good fit, even if I don’t have a chance to visit first.”


Sounds like you’ll have to be more blatant, unfortunately. I wouldn’t ask for travel money, which it sounds like they won’t pay anyway, and you wouldn’t want it to seem like you’re crying poverty in order to have them pay for the trip. But it does sound like you’ll have to be even more clear that financing the trip yourself is just not an option for you. Not “our finances are really strapped right now” – which any nimrod should have understood, although I guess this one didn’t – but, flatly and without apology, “I simply can’t afford to go out, sorry.”