I was recently put into the position of needing to balance guaranteed prospects in my existing portfolio with navigating (and investing in!) the potential of another portfolio addition that may or may not have ended up coming to fruition. It’s a tough call to make when you’re all of a sudden contemplating whether a $2000 plane ticket is worth just a chance.
For job seekers, this same situation might present itself in interviewing for bicoastal positions after sending out hundreds of applications over months in specific fields. Sometimes, relocating to further your career might be the only answer, but when it comes to interview travel, how do we gauge the appropriate investment level for any given opportunity?
Spoiler alert: I don’t actually have the answer. The intangibles are too much to really give a definitive number, but there are definitely some guidelines to keep in mind that should make the process a little more palatable.
1. Research the travel investment before applying for positions.
Do some research on how much it would cost you to travel for any requested interviews before you apply for the position. Have an idea of what it is you are signing up for to prevent any surprises and focus your energy and your intent on positions that are workable for you.
2. Verify the job description (including salary!) before you accept a request to meet.
The only way to accurately determine whether or not an opportunity is worth the investment is to know what the end result would be if you were to succeed in winning the position. What is the salary, what are the benefits, and what is the potential for growth? Know as much as you can so that your decision to invest in the interview process is a fully informed one.
3. Research everything around the job too!
A $100K salary means a lot more in Tucson than it does in New York City. How much are you going to end up spending just to live where you work? What are the rents like, what will your commute be? Don’t invest in interview travel based on the wow factor of a number that ends up being unliveable once you’ve housed, clothed, and fed yourself.
Don’t miss out on a great opportunity just because you were hesitant to invest in yourself and in your own capabilities. Often in life, it’ll take a little bit of a sacrifice to get to where you want to go. So as much as I talk about financial responsibility and forethought, sometimes, you’ve just got to go ahead and charge it. With any luck and a few prayers into the universe, you’ll be good to go before that Visa bill shows up anyway.