Preparing for the Cost of a Job Interview

Learn how to prepare for the unforeseen costs of a job interview

There's a lot to consider when preparing for a job interview – you might run through mental lists of professional accomplishments, plan answers to hypothetical interview questions, research the employer and jot down a few of your own questions to ask. And so it's common, while preparing for a job interview, to forget about a few of the expenses that often crop up along the way. Interview attire is the most common cost, but there are others to consider as well. Here are a few potential costs associated with job interviews, how to prepare for them, and why doing so may even increase the likelihood that you're hired.

Investing in job-search tools

From signing up for a premium upgrade to a digital networking or job-search system to working with a staffing agency or headhunter, many of the more involved job search tools will have some costs associated with them. You may also find you have to pay to set up a website or host your work on a high-end portfolio site to get noticed. If you're doing all you can to prepare for the interview itself, you may find it worthwhile to spend a little on the job search. It could also be beneficial to pay membership fees to an industry and/or networking group, as job opportunities may arise from your inclusion in the group - and it's a strong addition to your resume.

Preparing for job interview attire

Generally, when interviewing for professional positions, business-professional attire is the standard. Even if the office environment has a casual dress code for current employees, you'll want to make a good impression for your interview. For both men and women, this often means a pants or skirt suit with a dress shirt or blouse, which should be tailored, cleaned, pressed and conservative in color and pattern. Women may also choose to wear a neutral, work-appropriate dress and jacket. And don't forget accessories! A tie and dress shoes for men and jewelry and heels or dress flats for ladies are important to complete your look. A professional briefcase or bag can also be a standout piece, and it's a great way to store your resume, work samples and any takeaways from the company.

If you don't already own them, purchasing these clothing items can be a significant expense, but it's not something you should skimp on. Dressing well communicates a professional demeanor to a hiring manager. However, it doesn't need to strain your budget. To find a high-quality suit at an affordable price, set aside funds well in advance and buy your interview attire during your favorite retailer's annual sale.

Budgeting for travel and lodging

If you're searching for jobs more than a few hours away, you should consider budgeting for travel and lodging expenses. It might be tempting to leave early in the morning and drive to your interview rather than pay for a hotel, but getting a good night's sleep could increase your chances of performing well since you'll be rested and refreshed. If you are interviewing for a job in a different city, make sure to tell the company during the application and interview-scheduling process. Some employers will pay for applicants' travel expenses, including gas, hotel, airfare or rental car costs. However, they may do this in the form of reimbursement, so you could still end up paying out of pocket and will want to make sure you have funds readily available if needed. You should also keep track of your travel expenses as you search for a job since they may be tax deductible.

Paying for resume review and interview coaching

Professional job interview prep coaching and resume reviews are other potential expenses that are often overlooked by job-seekers. These services can be a great investment, especially if you're not a very experienced interviewer or it's been a while since you last applied for a job. Both services can provide excellent feedback and boost your chances of landing the job you're pursuing - and can be applied to job searches in the future. Before spending money on these services, check to see whether your college offers similar career services to alumni for free.

  • Interview coaching usually involves a recorded mock interview that allows you to review your performance and make adjustments. Coaches can help with things like presence, communication and how to respond to common interview questions.

  • Resume review services are offered by professionals who know what human resource departments look for in a resume. They'll provide various formatting and content tips, such as whether a particular work experience description should be expanded upon, or whether to include certain non-professional experience.

Budgeting between jobs

Whether you just graduated, are presently out of work or are looking for your next opportunity, you'll want to consider how you will fund your everyday expenses while you look for a job. Contributing to an emergency savings account helps make sure you're prepared for whatever comes your way during the in-between time.

You should also plan how you will fund your daily activities from the time you receive an offer until your first paycheck arrives. Perhaps you'll need to ask about a signing or relocation bonus. These can help make the transition go more smoothly; however, it's not advisable to ask about them during your first interview. It's usually best to wait until you have a solid job offer that you can negotiate - or at least feel you're well cemented in a contender spot - before bringing up the bonus pay.

Open a Citizens Bank savings account and track your progress

To start saving for the expenses associated with job interview preparation, consider opening a savings account with Citizens Bank today. Whether you're setting aside funds for a new suit or interview coaching, you can track your progress with GoalTrack Savings® to make sure you're ready on interview day. Review our different account options and contact a representative today to learn more about the savings account rates available as you prepare for job interviews.


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