Interview questions: Are you willing to relocate?

01.07.2015 15361

Are you willing to move for your job? In many companies, this is a typical job interview question. Sometimes it's a deal-breaker, sometimes it isn't. Even if this particular job doesn't require it, many companies want that flexibility in their employees for long-term growth potential.

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The knee-jerk answer that most people give ("I'd consider it for the right opportunity.") is not your best answer. Even if it is the truth. Because it puts your motivation for wanting the job more into the 'money' category rather than the 'fulfilling work / great fit' category. It's a subtle but important distinction, and it will take the shine off your candidacy if you say it.

Here's how to handle the relocation question for several different life circumstances you might be in:

If you're a 'No'

If your answer is unequivocally 'no', you have to say so. It's only going to cause you problems if they do end up offering you the job and you won't move. (Although, let me just say that if it's "absolutely not", remember that life can turn on a dime. What looks like "never" right now might not look like that in a few months or a year. If you really want this job, and you can't move immediately, say so. But consider saying something like, "I'd rather not move right now, but you never know what tomorrow will bring. And I'm very interested in this position and this company."

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If you're a 'Maybe'

But maybe you feel like there's some wiggle room. You'd rather not commit to packing up your entire life just yet, but you don't want this job to slip through your fingers because of it. For a lot of people, you really don't want to move...the kids are settled, your family is here, your house is underwater (see which states have the most homes underwater)...but for the right offer you'd consider it. You know you can't say that, so try something like, "I'm interested in growing my career, and if relocating for the job is a necessary part of that, of course I'd consider it." That doesn't commit you to moving. It just confirms that your career (and this job) is important. And it's tactful.

Or you could toss it back to them: "Where I live is not the most important issue for me. Utilizing my skills, developing new ones, and advancing my career are really my driving interests, and I've become more and more convinced that this company and this job is a really great fit because of my skills in X, Y, and Z. Do you agree?"

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You've stayed on track, selling yourself for the job, and redirected the conversation (hopefully). If they keep pushing, you can fall back to the "of course I'd consider it" statement.
None of these answers commit you to anything. But all of them help you appear to be more sincere, flexible, tactful, and reasonable than "I'd consider it for the right opportunity."
They keep the conversation going in a positive direction, which is a big plus for any job interview.

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