Interview Question: Are You Willing To Relocate?
Are you willing to relocate for a job? It’s a question everyone must consider at some point.
Your current employer may ask you to move on their behalf. If so, you might have to make a choice: either say yes and continue working for them, or decline and face the consequences. Either way you’ll need credible responses to the questions you’ll be asked.
Alternately you may decide to move away on your own. New city or country, different employer. In which case you’ll need to answer a different series of interview queries.
Read on for how to answer “are you willing to relocate?” and its related inquiries. There are three situations in particular to prepare for.
1. Current Employer Wants You to Relocate For Job, and You Agree
In this first situation, you’re already employed. One day your boss calls you in. “We want you to move to another of our offices in a different city. Will you do so?” If you answer yes, expect some follow-up questions.
Q: You seem very eager to move for us. Why is that?
A: As you know, I really enjoy working for our company. The opportunity to grow internally and experience a new city is in line with my career goals. And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to come back here in the future for even bigger things.
Q: What will you tell your (spouse, significant other, children)?
A: I’ve talked about this possibility with them before. They fully support my mobility. I’ve promised that I will be there for them no matter what. They think of it as an adventure for all of us.
Q: How can we make this transition happen quickly and smoothly?
A: Let’s discuss how to minimize disruption for all. For instance, we should come up with a relocation package that helps me move and settle properly. Also there’s the matter of how you can (assist my trailing spouse in finding a new job; get my kids into good schools nearby; help with other related concerns).
2. Current Employer Wants You to Relocate, But You Decline
Now let’s say your boss has asked you to move, but you aren’t willing to do so. That could be a real problem if they haven’t given you a choice. Expect the following types of questions.
Q: Why don’t you want to move? It’s a great opportunity.
A: I truly appreciate that you have me in mind for this move. If things were different, I would jump at it. However my (spouse just started a terrific job near home; our kids are in the middle of their school year; I have ailing family here that relies on me). Ideally I would like to continue working right here for the time being. As things change for me, let’s look at this again.
Q: What if we sweetened the deal? (e.g. paying for your entire move; offering you incentives such as a raise, promotion, moving bonus; aiding your spouse in finding a job).
A: That’s very generous of you to offer these incentives. Frankly I’d like a little time to consider the total package. I’m not making any promises though, because of what I explained to you above. This has to be positive for everyone. Can I get back to you in a couple of days?
Q: We’re eliminating your position here whether you move or not. Do you really want to lose your job?
A: That would be truly unfortunate for both of us, given how much we gain by working together. Let me think about this a day or two. Maybe we can then come up with solutions that would satisfy each of us without having to do something drastic.
3. You Initiate a Move to A New City And New Employer
In this third scenario, you’re the one who’s chosen to seek a new employer in a different location. Interviewers you connect with will want to understand your motivations for moving. They’ll also seek reassurances you’re serious about staying for a while. This is what they might ask:
Q: You seem very eager to move. Why is that?
A: The opportunity to grow professionally and experience a new city is in line with my career goals. I’ve researched your town and company extensively. Also I have been networking with local contacts who recommend I make the switch.
Q: Do you have any ties to this community?
A: (If you do, list them. Any friends, family, previous schooling or work there will show you aren’t a stranger to the town, and are more likely to adapt faster. If not, talk about why this city appeals to you. Or describe how you’d be willing to relocate just about anywhere for a chance to work with this employer.)
Q: How soon could you move here and start working for us?
A: I’d like to be there as soon as you need me. I can be ready to move within (a few weeks; or specify your minimum timeline). For that to happen, let’s discuss the details of relocation. Are you able to assist with my move? It would certainly expedite the process.
Now, are you ready to relocate for a job?