Travel Expenses for an Out-of-Town Food & Beverage Interview: Here’s What the Employer Should Pay

February 5, 2018 in Career and Job Search Tips, HR Best Practices, Interview Tips



The phone screen is complete, and it’s time for the employer and candidate to meet for a face-to-face interview.

This is great news! Except for one small problem:

The food & beverage organization is located 250 miles away from the job seeker.

During the hiring process, any conversation related to money can be a sensitive subject – especially if the topic comes up early. Posing questions or (worse yet) making assumptions about travel expenses can lead to awkward conversations or even tension between a potential employer and candidate. Neither is beneficial to a fledgling employment relationship!

So here’s the million-dollar question:

When there’s travel required for a food & beverage interview, who pays for things like airline tickets, lodging and meals?

While every organization has its own policies, Kinsa VP Laurie Hyllberg shares her insights and expert advice on what each party typically pays:

Travel expenses for an out-of-town interview fall into a few broad categories:

  • Lodging
  • Transportation: airline tickets, mileage (if the candidate is driving their own car), rental car, car service or taxi/Uber
  • Meals

In general, the employer should cover these travel expenses. Traveling out of town is a huge inconvenience for the candidate, who likely has to use vacation or personal time to accommodate the employer’s interview schedule.

That being said, the candidate should be flexible about how these travel expenses are paid. For example, while the employer should be able to charge a hotel room to their corporate account, it’s not practical to prepay certain expenses like meals and/or cab fare. The job seeker should expect to pay for these items and then be reimbursed by the employer within a few weeks of submitting receipts.

The finer points

  • The employer should prepay both lodging and air transportation. The candidate should not be expected to pay for high-cost travel expenses.
  • Unless it’s a short drive or short-hop commuter flight, the food & beverage employer should offer overnight accommodations to the executive.
  • In our industry, it’s considered good etiquette for the employer to pick up the candidate at the airport (by either sending a company representative or arranging a car service).
  • Candidates should exercise good judgment when expensing food and drink. While it may be tempting to itemize every bottled water and pack of gum, doing so may cause the potential employer to question the candidate’s “big picture” perspective.
  • Candidates should ALWAYS travel with a major credit card. Even if the employer is paying for a hotel room or rental car, the candidate still needs to present their own credit card at the counter (to cover things like incidentals and/or accidental damage).

Final thoughts

It’s a job seeker’s market. In fact, our recruiters are finding that the best food & executive professionals frequently entertain multiple, simultaneous offers when they are on the job hunt. In times like these, employers should cover certain expenses at a minimum. Expecting a candidate to foot the bill for everything can negatively impact their perception of the food & beverage organization – and prevent an otherwise ideal employment connection.

Related Posts:

The Literal Career Move: What You Should Expect in an Executive Food & Beverage Relocation Package, Part 1

The Big Move: Relocation Package Offerings

Knowledge is power!

No matter which side of the recruiting equation you’re on, Kinsa wants to help you succeed. If you’d like more information about out-of-town interview expenses, please contact our executive food & beverage recruiters.