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Should companies reimburse candidates for travel expenses?

You’ve got the interview. The interview you’ve been waiting to hear back all week. The excitement and nerves are all slowly kicking into place, now all you have to do is figure out how to get there. You could drive, but that would be madness.The problem; you’re in another city and your interview is at 9am in London the day after tomorrow. Don’t panic. Keep telling yourself you will be able to sort this. You turn on your laptop, open up a new tab on Google and search for tickets on Thetrainline.com – up come the results. Sh*t. Look at the fares. It’s going to cost you more to get down there and back than your monthly Tesco run. What on earth are you going to do now?

It’s a question many candidates face when they get the interview for the job they want. Should companies reimburse candidates for travel expenses? 

I think they should.

Yes. I think a company should reimburse you if you’re travelling from a certain distance. If a candidate is attending an interview in say, London but they live in Manchester for example and their interview is scheduled for 9am, it will cost the candidate an average of £154 one way. Some employers can make it very difficult for candidates if they are far away. If they’re not willing to do a Skype interview, the chances of bagging a job is limited. I know it ranges from company to company, generally being the bigger the corporation the more likely they are flexible on their policies but I think this is a policy that all companies should have installed.

Usually the bigger organisations will be more open to honouring expense claims, especially when it comes to graduates – most graduates don’t have a spare couple of pounds, let alone hundreds of pounds, to spend attending interviews, while for the company, travel expenses could be a small price to pay if it means attracting the right calibre of candidate. Deloitte, for example, have a generous reimbursement scheme for graduates attending interviews, of up to £100 a time. The company says that interview times are flexible and candidates are given plenty of notice so they can arrange to have an interview when it’s a more convenient (read cheaper) time to travel.

‘But that doesn’t help me, if I’m no longer a graduate.’ 

Good point, I say. Jonathan Fagan, MD of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment says:

The standard practice regarding interview costs is for the candidate to bear them and it is increasingly rare for a firm to pay them. However if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Some companies may very well consider it should you approach them regarding travel costs. High street chemist and British shop favourite Boots say, they will ‘take into consideration any significant travel costs of an interviewee with regards to reimbursement, if requested to do so.’ The BBC says that ‘the hiring department should offer reasonable travel expenses (in line with the BBC Expenses Policy) to employees invited to attend a selection process. External candidates may also be eligible to claim reasonable travel expenses, depending on individual circumstances. Payment is at the discretion of the hiring department and must be approved in advance’. British supermarket giant, Waitrose states: ‘Our policy on travel reimbursement varies across our business and we will always look to consider the individual concerns of each candidate when inviting them to interview. Where candidates are invited to a second interview, we will normally reimburse their travel costs’.

I asked the question across LinkedIn and Facebook and have had a fair bit of different views. One person on LinkedIn said:

No, I don’t think they should. I think the feeling of entitlement is a barrier to some candidates employment if anything. I would claim for expenses if I were doing something actively that has some sort of ROI for the company- Client entertainment, travelling to a meeting, etc.

If it were for a senior international role then I think there could be a degree of flexibility on this, especially as preliminary interviews would have been conducted through Skype etc.

Another said:

Interesting question. As a job seeker, I’d say absolutely! Of course, my answer might be a little biased. Some kind of reimbursement is okay depending on the situation and feasibility of it. In one of my previous job interviews, I had to park in a parking garage for about an hour. The company gave me parking validations so I wouldn’t have to pay out of pocket.

However, if you think about college and university applications, you don’t get reimbursed for the application fees even if you don’t get in. I’d think of it that way. It’s a sunk cost. Besides, you’re still gaining something from every interview you go on: experience.

What do you think…should companies reimburse candidates for travel expenses?

[Source: Jobsite]

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Twitter on paper [infographic]

The online microblogging social network has no doubt become a huge part of our society. Since being created back in 2006, the service rapidly gained worldwide popularity, with over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billionsearch queries per day. It’s part of a lot of people’s lives, including mine and the numbers are staggering. Here’s a great infographic showing Twitter on paper.

[Source: http://gobieta.com]

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10 Worst Excuses For Taking A Day Off Sick

When you were at school and your teacher asked where your homework was, did you throw in the odd excuse that your dog ate your homework? Since we were kids, people all over the world have become more and more creative about the excuses we give for anything from homework to being late for work or calling in sick. In CareerBuilder’s survey “Out of the Office,” more than one-third of U.S. workers say they played hooky from work over the last twelve months. Thirty-five percent of workers admit to calling in sick when they felt well at least once during the last year, and one-in-ten say they did so three or more times.

Why are they calling in sick? The top three motivators for faking include attending to personal errands and appointments, catching up on sleep and simply relaxing. The reasons also include attending a child’s event, bad weather, making plans with friends and going on a job interview.

“Truth can be stranger than fiction,” Jennifer Grasz, the CareerBuilder spokesperson who ran the study, told The Huffington Post. “Sometimes the outrageous happens. Whether your employer believes you will depend heavily on your track record and performance with the company.”

The online survey conducted by Harris Interactive found just how loosely the term “sick day” is being used in the workplace. According to the approximately 6,500 hiring managers, HR professionals and workers surveyed, 34 percent of employees who call in sick just don’t feel like going into work, 29 percent feel like they needed to relax, 22 percent have a doctor’s appointment, 16 percent want to catch up on sleep and 15 percent need to run errands.

Although some companies might let a few days slide, most employers don’t let their staff get away with it. have fired employees for calling in with a fake excuse.”If an employer catches you lying, it can put your professionalism and reliability into question,” Grasz said. “Your best bet is to be honest.”

Here are the top excuses for calling in sick:

  1. Suffering from a broken heart
  2. Getting sick after reading too much
  3. Becoming too ‘upset’ after watching the hunger games
  4. Bitten by a bird
  5. Getting a toe stuck in the tap
  6. A grandmother being exhumed for police investigation
  7. Saying your dog was having a nervous breakdown
  8. Forgetting you’ve been hired
  9. Hair turning orange after home dying went wrong
  10. Sobriety tool wouldn’t let the car start

What are the worst excuses you’ve heard from colleagues, staff or others throughout the years? I would love to hear them…

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History of the Internet: 1969 – 2012 [Infographic]

AVG, the antivirus and anti-spyware security software company have created an infographic focusing on the major viruses and major steps the Internet has taken to arrive to where it is today. Most of us, especially kids these days take the internet for granted. I mean, I have a fit if my internet is down, God help Virgin Media when my broadband goes down, I turn into the devil.

There’s not a day goes by that I’m not tapping away on the internet, watching something on YouTube, tweeting about whatever or Facebooking my friends about whatever crap I had seen that day that they had to hear about. Apart from myself and my social friends [all my online girls and guy friends], my family aren’t that bothered about the internet but most of them don’t realise that emailing involves the internet.

This infographic brings us to a new level of awareness as it addresses the progression of the Internet. It is important that we do not treat it as an assumed luxury; however, it is incredibly difficult not to.

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The ULTIMATE history of Facebook [Infographic]

I love this infographic by my life, a social network service founded in 2002 by Jeffrey Tinsley after meeting his wife at their high school reunion. Facebook is a household name. From code on a dorm room window to a publicly traded company, Facebook has come a long way. This infographic gives you a fully in-depth look at the history of Facebook right from Zuckerberg’s experiment with Facemash to the announcement of Facebook Graph.

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Tea Break: Would you like a spot of tea? [Infographic]

I love tea. Tea for me all day, every day. I probably have about 6 cups of tea a day. It varies on the time of the year. More in Autumn/Winter, slightly less in Spring/Summer. It has been an obsession for many for thousands of years. Discovered in Ancient China, the art of making the perfect cup of tea continues to be debated to this day. Even the great George Orwell chimed in with his own tea wisdom, in a detailed essay instructing the masses on how to prepare a proper cup of tea. Some people love it with a splash or milk, two sugars or just black. The health benefits alone are reason enough to break out the mugs. Increased metabolism rates, cancer fighting antioxidants, and better moods have all been associated with this world-renowned beverage.

In fact there are actually 4 main types of different teas: 

Black Teas

Black teas get their characteristic flavour and colour from a natural oxidation process, which follows initial drying and rolling of the leaves after they have been picked. Tea Palace offers a wide range of single estate black teas including world famous AssamsDarjeelings and Ceylons and a range of bespoke Black Blends.

Green Teas:

Green tea is made from unoxidized leaves which are simply heated after picking to destroy the enzymes that cause oxidation. They are then rolled to release their flavour. Green teas are sweet and contain many of the vitamins and antioxidant properties of the fresh green tea leaf, making them highly regarded as a healthy, fragrant and delicious drink.

Oolong Teas:

Oolong, meaning Black Dragon, is usually from China and Taiwan (often called Formosa, its old Portuguese name). It is a semi-fermented tea, a cross between green and black teas, which is widely prized for its digestive benefits. Tea Palace offers a range of the finest oolong teas from both China and Taiwan, includingIron Goddess of Mercy (Ti Kuan Yin) and the highest grades of Formosa Oolong teas.

White Teas:

White tea is the world’s rarest tea as it can only be picked for a few weeks in any one year. Authentic white tea is only grown in the Fujian province in China where the exact method of processing is kept secret. What we do know is that white tea is made from a specific tea plant variety, as well as a particular processing method which raises small silvery hairs on the leaves and buds. White tea has seen a recent increase in popularity and has well-documented antioxidant and detoxifying benefits.

All of the above teas are great for keeping you in shape for your working day too. So when you’re next reaching for that cup of coffee, think if a good cuppa can put you right on the ladder where you want to be.

This great infographic gives you a little of everything about the benefits of drinking tea: