I am a UK citizen who has been invited to the US for the purposes of an onsite interview in a few weeks' time. I have been looking online for an answer to this question and have found many conflicting reports (for examples of such differing opinions google terms like 'vwp job interview' and read the many answers).
While applying online using the ESTA form I came across this question (emphasis mine):
D) Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or been previously removed from the United States or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or misrepresentation?
There is no additional context to this question such as 'on this visa' and so looking at it objectively it seems that the only correct answer in my scenario is to answer 'yes' - I am seeking to work in the US, albeit in many months time if and when the company a) offers a job and b) acquires an appropriate work visa.
Clearly answering 'yes' to this question is the 'wrong' answer and looks very much as if it would result in a rejection. I do not wish to answer 'no' and be seen as having lied due to the above reasoning (especially if asked at the border what the intention of my trip is - the truth is that I am there to attend a specific interview and leave).
I'm asking here because I cannot find anywhere official that states whether this scenario counts as 'seeking to work in the U.S.' or not. I have only found several people across the web who are utterly convinced of their own reading of the phrase 'seeking to work' and their implicit assumption of non-existent context in the question.
The company in question now tells me I need a B-1 visa instead which I have begun the process for, however I am not convinced yet that this is required for my situation, considering my trip will be 2-3 days only. I have tried emailing the Embassy in London but it will be a few days before I potentially hear back.
EDIT: After reading links in the comments, an additional question is in regards to the difference between the B-1/B-2 and the VWP - does a B1/B2 visa offer anything regarding job interviews to the holder aside from more time in the US (which in this scenario is not an issue)? This pdf for example does not include mention of a job interview and is linked from this VWP page giving the impression that the two paths of entry are functionally the same in terms of business travel. If anyone knows of an official statement regarding the visa to use for pre-arranged job interviews then this would be extremely useful.
UPDATE: I have received an email response from the London Embassy. They state:
If you are travelling to the United States exclusively for an interview or meetings, you may do so on a B-1 business visitor or visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you are otherwise eligible. Please be aware that you are not permitted to undertake any work on a B-1 visa or the VWP and must obtain the relevant work visa in order to do so.
At the time that you apply for entry to the United States you will be require to demonstrate that your purpose of travel is appropriate for visa-free travel or the visa you hold, and that you intend to comply fully with your conditions of entry and that you have sufficiently strong social and economic ties to your country of residence to compel you to depart the United States at the conclusion of a temporary visit.
Immigration officials at the port of entry make the final determination of each individual’s eligibility to enter the United States.
I am still looking for written confirmation about the answer to give to question D) above. It looks as if the answer is simply that the question is worded terribly and that in fact the correct answer is to say 'No' - but this is not directly confirmed yet.
FINAL UPDATE: I successfully traveled using the ESTA (marking no for the aforementioned question) and had no problems at the border when explaining that I was visiting for a job interview. On my landing card I marked that my trip was for business purposes. I didn't even have to show any documentation other than my passport (I had printed my ESTA confirmation, hotel information, interview confirmation etc.) but obviously this may vary. Hopefully this question helps anyone in a similar situation.