What is the Cost of an Interview in the US?

It’s finally time! The company you sent your shiny new CV to has gotten back to you with an interview offer and now the day has finally arrived for you to show off your skills and hopefully land your dream job!

But have you ever stopped to consider just how much an interview actually costs, both in terms of time and money?

Of course, interviews themselves are entirely free (though if you’re being charged for the chance to work somewhere then you need to walk the other way asap), but what about all the expenses that surround them?

Travel, lunch, coffee, etc… you might not think about it, but all of these can quickly add up on your finances, especially if you wind up not getting the job in the end.

So, to find out how much an interview costs the average US employee hopeful looking for their perfect position, and which US city is the cheapest to interview in, we carried out some intense desk research based on the most common costs associated with interviews and used them to rank the top 20 cheapest US cities for interviews.

The average cost of a US interview

Based on the data we managed to pull together, the average US interviewee is looking to spend roughly $72.29 per interview, the majority of which comes from the hourly rate employed people have to sacrifice in their current role in order to prepare for and attend said interview.

Alongside this, we also included the cost of a fast-food lunch, commuting fees, and the price of a much-needed coffee for that pre-interview caffeine boost. These treats don’t cost a lot on their own, but after a couple of interviews, they’re going to add up.

As for those attending the rare and elusive three-stage interview, things are looking much pricier. In fact, three-stage interviewees may very well wind up paying an average of $216.90!

Naturally, these average prices will be lower if you’re currently unemployed, though that still doesn’t mean you want to be overspending on travel, food, and drinks until you have the income to make up for it.

The cheapest US cities for an interview

So, with the average cost of an interview out of the way, which US city is the cheapest for those on the job market?

Well, at the very top of the list is Oklahoma City, of the same state. With a low average cost of $60.31 for single interviews, but a still eye-watering $180.94 for those having to pass through those jobs with three stages, Oklahoma’s cheapness is thanks in part to its lower hourly wage, coming in at $41.02 for two hours’ worth of work, though it’s surprisingly expensive in all other areas we looked at.

As for our second place, we have Bakersfield, California, whose interviewees spend an average of $61.88 and $185.63 respectively on our two interview types, promptly followed by Detroit, Michigan, which has the cheapest fast-food meal prices in the US at $8.00, though interviewees will still be put back $67.26 or $201.78 on interview costs.

Finally, in our fourth and fifth spots, we have Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri. Both these states have fairly cheap interview costs, with Omaha’s average sitting at $67.81 and $203.43, while Kansas City’s falls along the lines of $69.07 and $207.22. And when looking at commuting, interviewees in Omaha will be happy to know it costs as little as $2.50!

The most expensive US cities for an interview

Naturally, if some US cities are the cheapest for interviews, there are those that are going to be the most expensive. And out of our top 20, the honour of the most expensive city for an interview goes to Colorado Springs.

With basic interviews costing a chunky $77.78, and three-stager options sitting at $233.35, Colorado certainly isn’t cheap. Lunch in particular could set interviewees back, with a McMeal costing a surprising $11.00!

Other more expensive cities also include Raleigh in North Carolina and San Antonio Texas. At $77.68 and $76.32 each for single interviews, and $233.04 and $228.97 for those having to pass a multi-stage interview, they aren’t much cheaper than Colorado Springs. This is mainly thanks to their higher hourly rates, though this also implies better-paying jobs are available.

Overall, we looked at the Top 50 cities in the U.S and the overall, most expensive city was California’s San Antonio – with just one interview costing $108.59!

It’s clear that there’s more money to be lost through interviews than we might think, but the good news is that plenty of interviews are still handled online, meaning you don’t need to worry about spending too much money when applying for jobs in the future.

And if you’re an employer looking to make the opening stages of the interview process simpler, then why not get in touch with the Moneypenny team about our services? With our virtual receptionist options and live chat experience, we can help make applicant entries and interview bookings a seamless experience.