Interview tips on saving money when going to job interviews

student finance notes

Youth Ambassador Harvey explores the cost of attending interview and gives some handy tips and insights to interviews.

Many graduates are often held back from attending and travelling for job interviews due to the costs involved. Recent news emerged that banking giant, Barclays will step into offer job-hunting graduates’ free overnight stays in Manchester, Birmingham and London. The month-long initiative will give recently graduated university students the chance to stay free for up to two nights in a centrally-located apartment in London, Manchester or Birmingham.

Research published by Barclays, shows that graduates usually spend £506 attending an average of 3.3 job interviews before securing their first full-time graduate role, based on the costs of clothing, travel and accommodation. That’s a lot of money that you haven’t even started earning yet.

Not many employers cover travel costs for job interviews…

I think that offering to cover the costs is fantastic for any job-seeking students who may struggle to attend those highly sought-after interviews with employers in the UKs largest cities. Through working with Youth Employment UK, The Prince’s Trust and speaking at many universities across the United Kingdom over the last two years, I’ve heard many stories about students being stung by the costs involved when having to travel long-distances for job interviews. It’s a collective problem. You finally get a job interview and you’re so excited about the prospect that you zip across the country to attend.

I only know of a few employers that cover travel costs for those attending job interviews, so, of course you will feel disheartened if you arrive at your highly-anticipated interview to find that it is in-fact, a pre-interview or worse still, you are told that you are unsuccessful after spending such a large amount of your own money on travelling – it’s awful being left out of pocket and disappointed.

Make sure the job interview is one you really want to go to

Before attending long-distance job interviews, ensure that you have all the facts before you book those all-important train tickets. Moreover, if you are successful in applying for a job and you do gain an interview with the employer, read and re-read the job advert to make sure it really does appeal to you and is something you’d like to move into. You don’t want to waste their time or your own. One student I worked with earlier this year had travelled to Edinburgh for a job-interview with another large banking organisation, only to find that when she arrived, it wasn’t the job that she had imagined it to be – envisage how discouraging an experience like that would be.

Coming from far away? Check if you can do a long-distance video interview over Skype

It’s useful to know that many employers will agree to do long-distance initial interviews over Skype or FaceTime, it’s worth asking before you agree to visit them. I’m not saying that graduates should turn down job interviews but if you don’t feel you can justify spending vast amounts on travelling to interviews, ask the employer if they will cover or contribute towards your travel costs or interview over Skype or FaceTime in the first instance.

If you are having an interview over Skype or FaceTime, don’t forget to prepare in the same way as you would for a normal interview – it’s easy to forget that these are still serious interviews, dress to impress.

Travelling at peak times? Ask if it’s possible to change the interview time or date

If the employer is asking you to travel at peak times, don’t be afraid to ask for a different date as most will understand – if they don’t, is that really the company you want to be working for?

Youth Ambassador Nadia agrees that this is a good approach, adding that she has  always been a strong advocate for stating it’s not the tuition fees that is one of the main issues for students – it’s the cost of living and the prospect of being ‘skint’ after university ends.

Youth Employment UK standpoint:

This is an interesting new approach and it is fair to say more needs to be done to promote social mobility. At Youth Employment UK we would like to see more activity taking place to support all young people in to work, more organisations considering the costs for school leavers, apprentices and graduates.

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