Interview expenses for on-site interviews
Be sure it is clear before you take an interview trip whether you or the organization will be responsible for your expenses and for making travel arrangements. Ideally the organization representative with whom you deal will explain the process. But if not, and if you have any doubts, ask your contact in the organization. You can simply say, "I know that I will have travel expenses for the interview. Is there any assistance that might be offered to offset these expenses?" Be prepared that the answer could be yes or no.
If the organization is paying for all of any portion of your trip, keep an accurate account of all expenses, such as meals, tips, cab fare, or private auto expenses. Receipts should be kept for all major expenses, such as transportation and hotel or motel accommodation.
Discuss timing and scheduling and whether there is a preference on your part or the part of the organization to have you travel by car, by plane or other. Obviously much of this will depend on the locations you are travelling to and from.
This is a business trip and you should only incur appropriate expenses. Excessive expenditures on the part of the candidate (like a large room service bill or a bar tab on the hotel bill) are viewed by employers as a serious sign of poor judgment; when this occurs (although it never should occur) employers immediately eliminate the candidate from consideration for employment.
Unfortunately there has been an occasion when employers contacted our office to complain about inappropriate behavior of Virginia Tech students during on-site visits. Fortunately this behavior occurred with a small number of students, and does not represent Virginia Tech. However, any misbehavior stains the reputation of Virginia Tech and damages opportunities for other students in the future. So although it should go without saying that your behavior should be appropriate, unfortunately it needs to be stated explicity: Don't run up a bar tab in your hotel. Don't bring a friend along on your site visit. Don't charge inappropriate expenses to the employer.
Refunds of expenses
Sometimes procedure is that the student/interviewee pays expenses up front and receives reimbursement following the trip. In that case, a written record of expenses including receipts must be sent to the employer before reimbursement will be made. Some employers may furnish forms for you to fill out when you return to the campus; otherwise, you should itemize expenses on a daily basis. In other cases an employer might book and pay for a flight for you, and/or book and pay for a hotel room. Procedures will vary by employer. Follow the instructions the employer gives you; don't hesitate to ask the employer if you are unclear about any detail; you can indicate this is a new process for you and you want to make sure you comply with instructions.