Interview Tip: Be Careful How You Spend Money

Everybody should enter their big interview day much like Game Day (college football) with lots of excitement and preparation. Every prospective employer can spot an unprepared candidate a mile away and once you open your mouth and stare like a deer in headlights and struggle to answer to a no-brainer question you (and every other candidate) should know – it’s probably game over. Remember – winging it is never a good plan. Just remember that lack of preparation is a real deal-killer – but it’s not the only thing that will keep you from getting an offer.

In today’s tough economic environment you also need to demonstrate that you are a good steward when it comes to expenses related to your interview. Trust me – I know this one too well. Candidates who reveal poor judgment about their expenses to travel to/from the interview including out-of-pocket expenses may find that the only check they may ever receive is the expense reimbursement check from this hiring company with a note that says – “thanks but no thanks.” “We have big plans – and you are not part of them.” Adding an alcohol tab to a dinner bill, renting a premium automobile, being a big tipper or staying or requesting a high-end hotel tell a story about the way you value their money before you get any offer. This gives the prospective employer a peek of what it will be like once you are on board full time. Then you will be a faint memory and your resume will like have a entry or a flag in their candidate database (CRM) that indicates you are a D.N.U.DO NOT USE. The kiss of death!

Be smart and frugal (not cheap) when you prepare to travel for your Game Day. Spend their money as if it were your own. That tells them a lot about you prior to making you an offer.

If you fumble on the expense management side, while you may look great on paper, present yourself better than others – they may decide they just can’t afford to hire you!  I’ve seen it happen – firsthand.

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.