Being Flown in For an Interview + 24 Hours in Baltimore
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Earlier this year I experienced something that had never happened to me before. I was reached out to by a recruiter on LinkedIn. Yes, that had occurred before, buuuut what hadn’t happened was that I ended up being flown in for an interview. All expenses paid and everything! Nowwww, I had to make it past 3 interviews before the in person interview, and no I didn’t end up getting the job, BUT overall it was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. To be honest, I almost didn’t accept final interview, because after further researching the company and talking to people who worked there I wasn’t sure I wanted to work for them anddddd I wasn’t sure I wanted to move to the location of the job. Overall, it all worked out and I am thankful for the experience.
Waiting to take off to Baltimore, Maryland.
I want to dive into why I didn’t really want to take the on location interview… it just felt weird knowing that I wasn’t 100% interested; however, both Nick and some friends of mine convinced me to go to gain experience. Taking interviews in general is a best practice to keep you on your toes. PLUS when you interview, though it may feel like a one way street and that the employer holds all the power, you too have power my friend. It is as much of an interview for you as it is for them! Plus It reallllly isn’t taking advantage of something if they are offering, right? I digress.
Sun rise and sun set from my room at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.
SO, if you are being flown in for an interview, here are some of my tips and tricks for having a great trip.
Days Off. The sometimes annoying thing about interviews is that that happen during business hours, so you have to take time off from your current job, to make time for a new one. Call in those personal days and limit time where you can. Obviously I wouldn’t suggest leaving co-workers and meetings high and dry, so block off your calendar asap. If you can, try to schedule it out, so you have time to move other things out of the way. I would also suggest spending as little time on location as possible. I wanted a day trip, but I flew to Baltimore, Maryland. There are only a few flights at a time, so my flights options were limited. I flew in on a Sunday early afternoon, and out on Monday evening, after my interviews. This was as quick as I could make my trip and man was it exhausting!
Rewards. They should let you pick which airline/hub you want to fly out of, so use that to your advantage. We fly American, so that’s what I selected. I made sure they booked me with my known traveler number and rewards number, so I reaped my pre-check benefits and got my rewards points. Make the most out of the trip and apply it to other future trips!!
Pack Light. If you have a day trip, lucky you! Obviously only bring your essentials. If you have a night trip, it can get a little more tricky. You should pack as light as possible, because it is only going to be a night or two, anddd because you’ll end up having to lug your luggage to the place of the interview. I was so glad I only brought my backpack and a small purse, as I had several interviews within my interview, and they were all over the place. I had to bring my stuff with my each place, so the lighter the better. Plus, not having to check a bag makes flying a lot easier! I wore the same shoes both days and just had one extra outfit, to save space. I did bring a pair of tennis shoes in case I had time to work out, but wished I hadn’t, as I didn’t end up using them.
Research. I cannot stress this enough! Trips like this where there is a lot at stake and it’s a new place, I am a lot more on edge and well, more stressed. I researched what everything looked like from the airport, to the hotel, to the office where I was interviewing. The night before I spent reading more and more about the company, listening to podcasts, and preparing, etc. I knew the routes and when I should leave, anddd probably more than I needed to, but all in the name of being prepared! I also looked up what to do in the city and fun things I could do within my timeframe. Ie I looked into taking the train to Washington DC (as I have never been), but decided there wasn’t enough time. I looked up places to eat and things to do and was so glad I did, so I didn’t really have to think once I arrived.
Expenses. Send them asap and don’t be afraid to follow up if no one responds. The company I interviewed with had a desired budget per meal and such. On some I was under, on others I as a little over. I submitted them all, and they ended up paying it in full. The person who I submitted my expenses to left the company and never submitted them before doing so. I spoke to my recruiter when I hand’t heard back and she handled it for me in record time! Definitely stay on top of this!
The long line at Attman’s Delicatessen.
My sandwich and berger cookie at Attman’s Delicatessen.
So what did my trip look like? Here’s some insight in my 24 hour+ visit to Baltimore, Maryland.
10:30 am My flight was at DFW airport around 10 am. I of course flew through security and had time with my thoughts, which was dangerous. I also saw someone from my then current employer, which was realllllly interesting. Keep that in mind if you don’t take the day off and just “call in”… You never know who will see you / who you might run into. It’s better just to take the official day off and is more respectful to your current employer as well.
2:30 pm I landed early afternoon in Baltimore, so I had some time to kill. I took an uber to my hotel - they booked me at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront and it was great! Like I mentioned above, I thought about taking the train to DC, but didn’t want to risk it with the small window of time I had. Instead I opted to walk around the city.
4:00 pm I had a late lunch at Attman’s Delicatessen. When I researched Baltimore it was one of the places TO EAT. I thought I’d get there at an off time, but there was still a long line, and I waited around 45 minutes to get a sandwich! It was really good though and worth the wait. I was also able to get their version of a Berger Cookie. I wanted to go to the well known bakery that distribute them (DeBaufre Bakeries), but didn’t have time. Side note - I walked from my hotel to the deli. I probably shouldn’t have done this, buuuut I did. I never felt unsafe, but wouldn’t do it alone again.
8:00 pm After my late lunch, I walked back to my hotel and enjoyed the water, then took a nap. Initially I was going to go out to dinner, but I was super tired and decided to eat at the hotel. I made sure they had a Maryland Crab Cake on the menu, so I could get my fix, and called it a night. I did spend some time before bed stalking LinkedIn and reading more about the company.
Walking around Baltimore, Maryland.
7: 00 am I woke up, sang Good Morning, Baltimore and got ready! I ate at the hotel restaurant again and it was pretty good. I just had their basic buffet. My call time at the company was 8:45, but I wanted to get their early, so I called my uber at 7:45 am. I really glad I did, because it was super windy and traffic was kind of crazy because of it. A bird actually flew into (hit the exterior, not inside) our car it was so bad!
8:30 am Arrived at the company, 15 minutes ahead of time. There was some weird shuffle, and I actually didn’t get picked up from the lobby until 9 am.
9:00 - 4:00 pm My interviews were long and kind of crazy. I had so much alone time, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wanted to take a nap, but couldn’t. I wanted to grab my laptop and work, but couldn’t. The company had given me an itinerary, but it was like everyone who was supposed to interview me forgot about me or something. I had 7 scheduled interviews and I think about 3 were on the schedule, but were rearranged, and the rest were just other people. I’m always up to talk to anyone, but I made specific time to look up each person and learn a little about them, like their previous employers and where they went to school. Soooo with new people I was flying blind. From about 9 am to 11 am I was in a room where people would come and speak to me - I think I had around 4 people come in and most were in a hurry. I think only one wasn’t and actually cared about what I had to say. Around 11:30 am I was taken to lunch. That may sound interactive, but it wasn’t. I was taken to the cafeteria to grab food, then had TWO HOURS by myself in a room to eat it. I’ve never been afraid of alone time until this day. Too much time with my own thoughts! I think I had 4 more people come in, but again it was really weird, as I was in a wing with like 0 other people. Verrrrry odd. I was escorted back to the front and they took me to the airport, the end!
9:00 pm I at dinner at the airport, then flew back to Dallas and went back to work the next day. I heard back about a month later that they went with someone else and I was honestly relieved.
Enjoying a Maryland Crab Cake!
Main take aways from my fly-in interview:
Experience: It’s one thing taking phone interviews or driving to one in Dallas. I’m at least familiar with something during those, like my car, a road, and so on. Being thrown into a completely new environment and having to put your best foot forward encourages you to think on your toes. I now know what it is like and can use this knew knowledge in other aspects of my life, including, but not limited to other interviews of course.
Broadened Horizons: This interview encouraged me to look outside of my comfort zone. Next I interviewed with a company in BARBADOS. Again, I didn’t get the job, but I made it to the 3rd interview and the next interview would have been on the island! I don’t think you should constantly be looking for things you don’t have, but I do think there is a line between being a navel gazer (only looking at your direct surroundings) and thinking the grass is greener anywhere but where you are. This experience allowed me to think and dream bigger. Keep your head up, because you never know what you might miss otherwise!
Moving Forward: I haven’t really interviewed anyone in a while - since my retail days that is; however, I know exactly how I wouldn’t treat possible employees and interviewees. Even if I hadn’t of had a weird feeling going into the interview, I think the whole interview process left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not more sensitive to how I treat people in this type of environment.
Have you ever been flown in for an interview? Any tips I didn’t provide? Let me know in the comments below!
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