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Interview Expense Reimbursement Question
Old 01-14-2010, 03:13 PM   #1
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Interview Expense Reimbursement Question

I am currently in grad school. In October, I drove 500 miles (250 miles each way) to interview with a company. The firm said that the mileage would be reimbursed; however they have not sent a check yet. Yesterday, I emailed the recruiter following-up regarding my remiembursement and I received a response from the accounting department saying I would recieve a check for $75. I was expecting more around $280 given the IRS deduction of $0.555/mile. Should I ask for more? I ended up not getting a job offer from this specific firm but have since accepted a job in another city.

Without including wear and tear on my car, I probably spent ~$45 on gas.
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:19 PM   #2
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Aren't you glad now that you didn't go to work for that cheapskate company? You got off easy.

They are under no obligation to give you more.

I say take what they offer and move on.
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Old 01-14-2010, 04:34 PM   #3
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Aren't you glad now that you didn't go to work for that cheapskate company? You got off easy.

They are under no obligation to give you more.

I say take what they offer and move on.
That does indeed seem a little, as you say, "cheapskate."

I haven't recruited in a few years, but policy at the MegaCorp where I toiled pre-FIRE was milage x our employee expense report reimbursement rate. The reimbursement rate was generally the same as the fed tax business milage deductible rate. So, rjpatt would have gotten the $280 he was expecting.

If an overnight stay was involved, we'd make the hotel reservation and the bill would be direct billed to MegaCorp by the hotel.

I can't remember the meal situation other than the hotel provided a continental breakfast and I'd, of course, pick up the tab on behalf of MegaCorp at lunch and dinner.

I agree though, little to be done about the mini-payment now. Take the $75 and move on.

Congratulations on your new job rjpatt!
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Old 01-14-2010, 07:26 PM   #4
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The recruitment process is akin to a courtship. Aren't you glad it didn't go further?

Thank your lucky stars that you have a job and when your current situation gets old (as they all do eventually) remind yourself that it could have been worse.
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The Devil is in the Details
Old 01-14-2010, 07:31 PM   #5
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The Devil is in the Details

One day while walking down the street a highly successful executive woman was tragically hit by a bus and she died. Her soul arrived up in heaven where she was met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter himself.

"Welcome to Heaven," said St.Peter. "Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we've never once had an executive make it this far and we're not really sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in." said the woman.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have higher orders. What we're going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in."

"Actually, I think I've made up my mind...I prefer to stay in Heaven", said the woman.

"Sorry, we have rules..." And with that St. Peter put the executive in an elevator and it went down-down-down to hell. The doors opened and she found herself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of her were all her friends - fellow executives that she had worked with and they were all dressed in evening gowns and cheering for her. They ran up and kissed her on both cheeks and they talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where she enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. She met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy (kinda cute) and she had a great time telling jokes and dancing. She was having such a good time that before she knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook her hand and waved good-bye as she got on the elevator.

The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the Pearly Gates and found St. Peter waiting for her. "Now it's time to spend a day in heaven," he said. So she spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. She had a great time and before she knew it her 24 hours were up and St. Peter came and got her.

"So, you've spent a day in hell and you've spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity," he said.

The woman paused for a second and then replied, "Well, I never thought I'd say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell."

So St. Peter escorted her to the elevator and again she went down-down-down back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened she found herself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and Filth. She saw her friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil came up to her and put his arm around her.

"I don't understand," stammered the woman, "yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable."

The Devil looked at her and smiled. "Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you're staff."
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:02 PM   #6
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Thank your lucky stars that you have a job and when your current situation gets old (as they all do eventually) remind yourself that it could have been worse.
I agree. I don't start my job until September/October but I know what I will probably like the job I accepted more due to the location and the people I met at each firm.

I wonder if they intentionally "lost" my expense report. Oh well, at least larger dollar amounts are not involved.
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:10 PM   #7
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I don't think it could hurt to politely and gently ask about it - just say that in your experience reimbursements rates were around the IRS deduction of $0.555/mile, and that you drove 500 miles for the interview, yet your check was $75.

Maybe they made a mistake, it happens. OTOH, if they claim that they only allow $0.15/mile, you got your answer and probably a lot of info about the company you would not have gotten otherwise.

-ERD50
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Old 01-14-2010, 08:41 PM   #8
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I don't think it could hurt to politely and gently ask about it - just say that in your experience reimbursements rates were around the IRS deduction of $0.555/mile, and that you drove 500 miles for the interview, yet your check was $75.

Maybe they made a mistake, it happens. OTOH, if they claim that they only allow $0.15/mile, you got your answer and probably a lot of info about the company you would not have gotten otherwise.

-ERD50
I agree.

I used to be an accounts payable manager at a Megacorp several years ago and I reimbursed mileage at 26 cents per mile. I think someone made a boo boo.
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:00 PM   #9
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I wonder if they intentionally "lost" my expense report. Oh well, at least larger dollar amounts are not involved.
Oh, probably not. Unless this was a small firm, saving a couple hundred bux on your expense report is not something that would perk up to the top of someone's to-do list. More likely, sloppy administrative habits or just low prioritization of recruiting efforts is to blame. None of these are good signs for a prospective employee.

Glad to hear your job is lined up for next Sept. Now, go enjoy these remaining months of grad school and focus on the important stuff! Your situation sounds like 99% good news and just a tad hint of bad, so make the most of it.......
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Old 01-14-2010, 09:41 PM   #10
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It is funny... the joke one seem appropriate from what I understand about Arthur Anderson...

I interviewed them in the city I lived... so no stay at a hotel, no dinner the night before I went in... no padding at all... had maybe 40 miles... the partner looked at what I put down and said 'that is not enough' and added a $50 dinner and said to have one on them....

I would ask at least... but if they say you got what was coming, let it drop..
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Old 01-14-2010, 10:43 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice. I am not upset about the situation as it's a relatively small dollar amount. I will probably not follow-up and just take what they give me.
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Old 01-14-2010, 11:11 PM   #12
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Thanks for the advice. I am not upset about the situation as it's a relatively small dollar amount. I will probably not follow-up and just take what they give me.
Aw c'mon, I was going to ask for a commission! - ERD50
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Old 01-15-2010, 10:59 AM   #13
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Follow up. Why not? Hassle them a bit for being so cheap. At least do it to hear the lame excuse from the HR rep.
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Old 01-15-2010, 03:39 PM   #14
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I wouldn't take the hassle approach but it delivers the same message if you follow up with the HR to "confirm" that there is no mistake as the invoice for your travel as could have been confused with another candidate. Go up the chain a little, skip the recruiter, shoot for the Division/Facility HR Manager.

An outside recruiter could be just blowing you off because they want to maintain a good relationship with their client, the employer. Internally recruiters don't have a lot of power. It could be that the cost of that recruitment exceeded their budget and they went the extra mile, so to speak, to bring you in from a distance or they made a mistake and don't want to own it internally.

Again, don't burn any bridges for a small sum.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:46 PM   #15
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Thanks for the advice. I am not upset about the situation as it's a relatively small dollar amount. I will probably not follow-up and just take what they give me.
Now that we're this deep into peeling back the layers of the onion.........

Were there any other expenses? You drove 250 miles each way. Did you stay overnight or actually drive 250 miles, interview, and then drive 250 miles home on the same day?

How about meals while traveling and once there?

When you were invited for the interview, did the invitation include along with the ususal date, time, etc., instructions a mention of reimbursements that would be provided?

Noticing your mention of your grad student status, it occured to me that you might contact your school's placement office to see if they have a relationship with this firm, if they know what this firm's interview expense reimbursement policy is and if they have any advice for you regarding your situation. At a minimum, you would at least add to the database of knowledge of the school's placement office regarding this firm.

My curiosity was tweaked beyond my original response because I had dinner with a pre-FIRE work chum yesterday evening. We were both involved with recruiting (a major issue due to rapid expansion during MegaCorp's "good times") and, thinking of your post, asked her to help me recall what our policies were.
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