How to Answer the Interview Question: Are You Willing to Relocate?
Preparing for a job interview is a tough process. You can only prepare for what you think that they’re going to ask. The interview starts before the questions even begin. From the moment you enter the building to the time you exit, the interview is happening. They are observing your body language and far more to know if you’ll be a good fit for their organization.
First impressions are very important in any interview, but so is how you answer their questions. Each answer to each question that’s relentlessly thrown at you impacts the ultimate decision. Are you confident in giving your response? Is your answer truthful? Do you struggle in giving your responses? Interviewers are trying to find these signs alongside your answer. But the question that is always asked and will have an impact on the hiring process is you willing to relocate?
Some interview situations catch you off guard, albeit you didn’t think they might possibly be all that tricky to navigate.
This question could come as a surprise or otherwise if you are prepared for it. But what should your answer be?
When answering the question above, it is going to appear as if it requires just a yes or no response but in fact, things actually aren’t that easy.
Depending on your industry, profession, and knowledge level, you’ll be asked the question, “Are you willing to relocate?” during a job interview. You could be asked about your availability either during a preliminary phone screening or further along within the interview process.
When candidates are approached directly by recruitment services that are hired by organizations to source high-quality talent for brand new job openings—the recruiter may ask about their flexibility to relocate.
These sorts of employers are often willing to pay relocation costs for the “perfect” hire.
Commonly, this question arises because it’s likely that, if hired, you will be asked to maneuver between job sites or satellite offices. It’s a given for a few professions that relocations are going to be required. Those seeking a career within the military, Foreign Service, or international aid, as traveling nurses, or as consultants should expect to relocate as their assignments change.
The company you’re interviewing with may have a relocation policy or your package could also be negotiable.
If you actually want the role but struggle with how to plan to relocate, you’ve got to find out the easiest way to break that news to the interviewer without hurting your chances. And if you’re comfortable with moving under certain conditions, you’ll get to express those conditions clearly before signing up for something you can’t follow through on later.
Tackling this question also requires an understanding of why it’s asked—besides the apparent reason: The hiring manager wants someone who can work in a specific location full time, and needs to comb out anyone who can’t or won’t do so.
Sometimes, they’re trying to get a sense of the candidate’s degree of interest and adaptability, especially when this detail isn’t even included within the description they applied for. It’s a way of gauging just how committed a candidate is to the role and therefore the company. When someone’s willing to move for the position shows a passion and dedication that other candidates might not have. And it shows you’re in it for a long time.
It’s also a great way to ascertain to what extent a candidate understands their brand or company if they’re global.
The question may not be if you would move now, but the hiring manager also can ask to determine if you’d be willing to relocate in the nearest future should an opportunity come up at another office. If you’re joining an organization that values its national or international presence—and often promotes its employees through relocation—you’ve got to be open to the likelihood of traveling.
Don’t worry so much if this question comes up and don’t lie or exaggerate your intentions. But it is vital to think about this question beforehand so you’re prepared to either say ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘maybe,’ accompanied with solid reasons for every answer.”
If you’re interviewing for a position and thus the hiring manager asks if you’re willing to relocate, it’s important to answer this question honestly. Learning the way to answer this question can better your chances of receiving an offer and possibly prepare you for relocation.
Why do employers ask “Are you willing to relocate?”
A hiring manager might ask you this question if their organization requires its staff to shift base for certain reasons which can include company expansion, rebranding programs, and business travel. Companies might want someone who can go to a specific location outside of the town where they’re taking interviews. A candidate’s answer helps them comb out those that won’t work elsewhere.
Hiring for a competitive position requires a lot from the employer, including sorting through so many applications. If the candidate hired finds that they’re unable to continue with the organization after a brief period due to difficulties associated with relocation, it could end in lost time and resources.
This interview question needs that you know yourself—are you open to the likelihood of relocation? If you’ve got the pliability to relocate because the position requires, your response—if carefully phrased—can work to your advantage in both landing the role and in negotiating the terms of your employment and job relocation package.
This question helps hiring managers narrow down the pool of candidates that they’re considering. Typically, job applicants who are passionate about relocating for their job make the most impression. An unwillingness to relocate is generally—but not always a deal-breaker.
When questioning job applicants who are willing to relocate for a job, interviewers want to understand what concessions they’ll provide in exchange for this flexibility. These can include salary, benefits, temporary housing, relocation cost reimbursement, spousal assistance, new home assistance, signing bonuses, cash allowance, etc.
If you’re willing to relocate, you should put it on your resume and cover letter.
Tips for Giving the Best Answer
It is very important when answering this question to be sincere, and there are specific things you should emphasize so that you’re not automatically disqualified from the position. Here are some key things to know when answering:
1. Assess the question honestly.
2. Create a relocation plan.
3. Express enthusiasm for the position.
4. Share your plans for relocation.
5. Assure the hiring manager you’re comfortable moving.
Assess the question honestly
This is an issue where it’s important to talk truthfully and before applying for or accepting a job that requires you to relocate; you must know if you can manage the lifestyle changes. You can answer this question honestly by acknowledging the problem which moving can cause and expressing your excitement for a new step in your career path.
Be honest with yourself and the interviewer so as to avoid any issues if you get the position. If you’ve got doubts about whether you’d be willing or ready to relocate, either at the present or in the future, this won’t be the role for you.
Create a relocation plan
To determine if you are comfortable moving, you need to create a relocation plan. First, you ought to examine the cost of living where you’d move. Compare your present cost of living against the new locations and your potential earnings. You should also consider the location you’ll sleep in. Moving from an urban city to taking up employment in a rural may be a big shift in lifestyle, for instance. The more you research life in your new location, the more honest you will be answering the question.
After you know the cost of living in the new location, research more on the living arrangements and make sure there are houses within commuting distance of the company in your price range.
You should also consider the moving process. Depending on the employer, they’ll offer to take care of some or all of your relocation expenses. If not, you’ll have to calculate the expense for moving and incorporate it into your budget. Moving also can take a while, so you’ll need time to pack, move and unpack your belongings.
Express enthusiasm for the role
When preparing your response to a question about your willingness to relocate for a job, begin by stating your excitement about the role. Express your interest in the company regardless of whether or not you are willing to move. Use your response to express your enthusiasm about joining the employer’s team. If possible, attempt to end your answer with an invitation for more information about the employer’s needs, expectations, or operations. This shows the hiring manager that you have a robust motivation to succeed with the position, which suggests you’re more likely to endure any difficulties associated with relocation.
Share your plans for relocation
Although you don’t have to share all the small details of your relocation plan, offering an overview of your strategy can show the hiring manager you’re serious about the role. This part of your answer can also show that you’re very thoughtful and proactive, two valuable qualities for many positions.
Assure the hiring manager you’re comfortable moving
When you are through talking about your plans and your enthusiasm, assure the interviewer of your ability to relocate. Give more details about the move you’re excited about or any long-term plans you’ll make once you relocate.
Once you’ve got created a robust response to the question, spend some time before your interview to practice your answer. Prepare your answer ahead of time and ask a friend or family member to have a mock interview with you.
This is a sound decision for all questions you feel you are most likely to encounter and practice allows you to be comfortable answering the questions so you’ll sound natural and relaxed during your interview.
Your body language and tone can work for or against you in a job interview. Sit up straight, look the interviewer in the eye, speak with a transparent and assured tone, and smile. Capitalize upon the opportunity presented. Use your enthusiasm to relocate as a selling point because the rate at which workers relocate has declined steadily since 2000 and with the substantial increase in telecommuting and remote work opportunities, fewer professionals are willing to accept relocation as a condition of their employment and emphasizing your availability and willingness for relocating in your response will make you stand out from your competitors for the role.
Here is how to answer the question, “Are you willing to relocate?”
1) I am willing to relocate:
This could be the apparent answer, especially if you’re ready to relocate anywhere they might like. Maybe you only graduated and are hospitable to the idea of living in multiple cities. Or you don’t consider yourself particularly tied right down to your present location. Or you are so eager to land this job you’d do anything to get it.
Congratulations, you’re in a great position to reply to the question with an enthusiastic “yes”!
As a young adult, the chance to relocate could be exciting, and if you answer that you are willing to relocate it shows that you want to do all it takes to be a part of the company and the team.
If you’ve got no issue with relocating for this position, it might be very beneficial to ask the interviewer questions also. Asking these questions will reassure them that you are ready to move for the position.
Try one among these responses to stress your flexibility and keenness. Remember, like all interview questions, you would like to stand out against other candidates who are even as excited about the role. By that specializing in what makes this role special to you and your attachment to its location (if you’ve got one), you convince the interviewer that you’d fit right in.
If you absolutely want to relocate, say yes. Don’t say yes just to impress the interviewer. Most interviewers expect you to answer yes to this question, even if they are not going to ask you to relocate. However, say yes as long as you’ll stay faithful to your word. Maybe the organization isn’t planning to send you anywhere soon, but they would want to know if you’re open to changes. Also, some organizations require international work experience in order to promote you, so they may want to see if you can move up the career ladder and fulfill this requirement. Answering yes shows that you really want to be a part of the organization and you’ll accomplish the challenges that are thrown at you. If you are asked how far you’ll relocate, be flexible with locations if possible.
2) The ‘maybe’ answer:
Relocating is a major life change and it’s understandable if you like the role but aren’t necessarily thrilled to leave your current life for it. Maybe you’re comfortable with remote jobs. Maybe you just got moved into a new home and don’t want to leave it so soon. Maybe all of your friends and family live nearby and therefore the company’s location promises less interaction with the people you’re keen about.
These are all good reasons to not want to relocate. However, understand that being reluctant to try could negatively affect how you progress in the interview process—and whether you get the position in the end. If a hiring manager, after all, has to choose a great candidate who is eager to relocate and a just-as-great one who is not ready to move, and they initially went into hiring looking for in-house staff, they’ll go with the former.
There are many questions left unanswered that would cause you to debate whether you’re willing to change locations for a job. How long will you be there? Is this a corporation I would like to have an extended career with? Will I be ready to advance my career with the role? These questions would have anybody sitting on the fence about relocating. So can you answer maybe?
The answer is yes, maybe is an answer and not a nasty one. It is how you answer that is important.
But if you really adore the role, consider taking the approach of saying yes, but with the caveat that if possible you’d like to stay where you are—or be handsomely compensated if you are moving.
Another consideration for people early in their careers: When you’re just starting out, it is important to be open to the idea of relocation or strongly consider it because there are roles where you undergo training and then you’re expected to pick from a couple of locations. You will have to weigh if this risk or opportunity is best for you and it might be advantageous to your career trajectory to be willing to be flexible.
Therefore if your answer is ‘possibly’, you’ll say that if this opportunity will enhance your career growth, you’ll consider it. Then, you’ll ask your questions about the relocation. Considering something isn’t a particular yes or no answer. Thus, it’ll offer you enough room to gauge the positives and negatives once you are faced with the relocation offer.
3) Saying possibly with enthusiasm:
Moving is not always an ideal situation. Though this job opportunity could be exactly what you want, moving still doesn’t get you excited. Most companies will ask if you’re willing to relocate to measure your interest in the position. This question might be a serious criterion for determining if you’re hired. This is where honesty is important because lying during a job interview is bad for all parties involved.
It is ok to be hesitant about relocating. It is important to portray that in the best way possible during the interview.
This will assist you to stay on track while staying honest with the interviewer. They will see that you are willing to try whatever it takes to be a part of the team and would really like to further your career at this location.
4) How do you say no?
Sometimes, this question comes up unexpectedly and you weren’t prepared for relocation being a requirement because moving is just not an option. As a result, you’re unsure as to how to say no without taking yourself out of the competition.
Understand two things. One, that it’s acceptable to talk about your inability to compromise on some life obligations for a job, and two, saying no doesn’t immediately turn an employer off. A good recruiter knows that always things are out of your control, which taking relocation out of the equation is worthwhile for the proper hire.
Several reasons could be the cause for you to stay in a particular area. But if you say no, will it cause you to lose this opportunity? In some cases, it just might. But there are ways to say no without insinuating you don’t want the position.
Being honest can make you go far with a prospective employer. So be honest, but don’t get into the specifics of why you can’t or won’t relocate. The interviewer wants to understand your rationale in order that they can best tailor their response to you but doesn’t need every detail of your thought process.
If you don’t want to relocate or can’t relocate under any circumstances, let the recruiter know and state your reasons. Make sure you have sensible reasons because some people cannot move due to family ties, financial limits, or other obligations. Many interviewers understand this. Answering the relocation question with a “No” and an explanation is fine if the job description didn’t mention moving to a new location. If you can’t relocate, make sure to avoid applying to jobs that mention travel requirements or a location change. Always try to leave the door open.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
The ability to relocate is often a serious deciding factor as to if you get the position, and there are certain mistakes you ought to avoid so as to still be in the competition for the job.
Any answers along these lines will make them ditch you and advance to the next candidate. It is definite that you will not know the answer to all the questions asked in an interview but there will still be a correct response. When asked if you’re willing to relocate there are many wrong answers and they are as follows:
Are you going to pay me more?
Do I get to choose where and when you relocate me?
I don’t want to move from this area.
Do not ask if you will get paid more if you move to a new location
Don’t say “Yes” if you are unable to relocate
Confidence and enthusiasm go a long way when giving your answer which could be either negative or positive. So don’t count yourself out of the job if you can’t relocate.
Furthermore, here is what not to say, never say never. Even if you absolutely can’t relocate, try to not make it sound like this is going to always be the case. If there’s any possibility that you will be ready to relocate in the future, mention it.
But don’t offer too many personal details. The interviewer doesn’t need to know all of the details as to why you are on the fence regarding relocating.
Don’t criticize your current environment. If you’re someone who would like to escape to a new city as soon as possible because you dislike your situation, don’t share this negativity with the interviewer. Focus on the opportunities that relocating with the organization would offer instead.
When answering a question like this, don’t be ambiguous when giving your response. Candidates who express willingness with conditions may fail the interview.
Willingness to relocate isn’t about your employer, so don’t give them an ultimatum. Also, avoid giving out too many details if you’ve got a crucial obligation that forestalls you from relocating. If you provide a reason that seems like a time-consuming burden that would interfere with work, employers might not hire you.
In summary, be flexible. If there’s any possibility that you will be able to relocate, express your enthusiasm to consider this. This is particularly important if you’re a young professional seeking to advance on your career ladder.