Final Arrangements

Your sponsor (or supporting person) will be taking care of setting your schedule and providing you with advance materials. If you have not already filled out an employment application, ask if one will be required. If so, ask to have it sent out in advance, so you can fill it out neatly and completely. Note that "See Resume" is not an appropriate answer on an employment application. Make sure you print your neatest, since you will be judged by your penmanship (and you thought your second grade teacher was crazy for giving you such a hard time about your sloppy writing skills).

Your sponsor will also have the responsibility of coordinating your travel arrangements to and from the company-site, although the actual details might be delegated to an office assistant. And yes, you probably will have to skip some classes to interview. It's allowed.

There are four categories of travel expenses that can be incurred in your visit to the company-site: travel (air, train, or auto), local transportation, lodging, and food.

In most cases, your arrangements will be made for you by the employer. The general rule is that the higher the expense and further the distance, the more likely the employer will be to make the arrangements for you. However, if you are just across town, it may be presumed that you will find your own way without any expectation of compensation for the minimal expense incurred.

Don't assume anything in your arrangements. Get all the details ahead of time.

If you are flying to the interview, the flight expense is usually booked directly through the employer. Your tickets will usually be e-tickets with a confirmation number delivered to you by e-mail. If you are traveling by train, you may be expected to purchase the tickets and fill out an expense report for reimbursement. If traveling by personal auto, you will usually be reimbursed a set amount per mile, so be sure to reset your trip odometer before starting on your journey. When you fill out the expense report, you simply double your one-way mileage.

If you will be taking a plane or train, know what your local transportation arrangements will be. The most convenient is to use a cab and save receipts, but if the company is not located in a large population center, they may have a rental car for you or may even have a company car or limo pick you up at the airport or station. If you are taking a cab, always ask for receipts. If the company is expecting you to initially pay for a rental car, you will need a credit card. Keep receipts for your gas and parking for later reimbursement. If the company is sending someone to pick you up, know the designated connection point and signals. Usually the pickup person will be standing with a company sign with your name on it.

Overnight lodging may be required, especially if you are traveling from a distant location. Again, this is usually taken care of by the employer, but you may be asked to put the expenses on your credit card and submit an expense report later. Many employers have arrangements with local hotels for out-of-town visitors. You may be required to use a credit card if you want to use any of the extra services in the hotel. It is not advisable to indulge in either the locked liquor refrigerator or the pay-per-view movies. Go to bed early and wake with enough time to fully prepare. Plan to take time to iron your clothes, which may have become wrinkled in packing. An iron is typically provided in the closet of most hotel rooms. If not, you can usually ask for one to be brought to your room. Food is always a covered expense while you are with the company representatives. However, other meals, including breakfast and dinner, may be on your own. Many hotels offer a continental breakfast included with the room. Always make sure you have eaten before your interview. You will need the extra energy for what can sometimes be a grueling schedule throughout the day.

Know where and when you will be meeting with the employer. Get accurate directions and a map if you need assistance. If you are arriving the night before, an excellent psych-up activity is to drive by the company location and visualize your interview the following day. Always plan for the unexpected, especially when it comes to traffic. Plan to arrive early. Keep in mind that it may take ten minutes to get from the parking lot to the front door and another five to ten minutes to get to the department location, so allow plenty of extra time. No one will fault you for being up to ten minutes early, but do not be earlier than that. Your target is five minutes early. If you have extra time, spend it reviewing company materials, your resume, and any additional information. Take a restroom break before you leave for the company, since many companies do not have restrooms available until you reach the inner sanctum. If there are restrooms available, stop by for one final visual and mental check. Look yourself straight in the mirror and say, "I am the very best person for this job. My job today is to convince the company of that fact."