During a job interview, some questions might seem tricky, so sometimes the candidate doesn’t know how to answer them. One of those questions is “Are you willing to relocate?”
This one doesn’t have to be tricky at all if you are a person who loves to move from town to town, living in different parts of the country or world.
But let’s face it – most of us like our everyday routine in our town, we are used to all pros and cons of the place we live in, simply because it is our habit. Yes, our habits can be our enemies sometimes. They can prevent us from doing something that might do us very well later in life.
On the other hand, sometimes it is for the best if we stay put. We have tried to make a list of all the reasons why you should or shouldn’t relocate if the company demands you to do so and help you to decide what would be your final answer.
COMING TO THE INTERVIEW PREPARED IS A PREREQUISITE TO ANSWERING
Since this question is an important one for your life in general, we suggest thinking thorough it before you go to the interview. It is not a question that you should reconsider in 20 seconds in front of a person (or people, there is usually more than one interviewer) waiting for your reply.
Keep in mind that everything matters during an interview – your body language, your facial expression and the way you answer the question, as well as how long it takes you to come up with an answer.
Some companies, like Tesla Motors, even have an online sample of the Relocation Agreement, so it would be good if you checked on it before you go to the interview.
WILL I STILL GET THE JOB IF I SAY NO?
This one is pretty simple – if they ask you about the relocation during an interview, you might not get the job if your answer is negative. The company probably needs someone willing to move, otherwise, they wouldn’t ask you the question.
On the other hand, they may have asked you the question just to see whether you are willing to fully commit to the job, including completely changing your lifestyle and your place of living. In conclusion, do not feel threatened by the question, just try to be honest while answering would you truly move or not.
You will have to do this before the interview. The important thing to think about at the beginning is the job itself – how much do you want this particular job, can you make a progress with this employment, what it means for your future career, what ways will it affect the other parts of your life…
You have to put a name on everything you are thinking about at that moment! It is best if you write down all the good and the bad sides of the job itself, ignoring the fact that you might relocate because of it… or adding that fact to the
Our thoughts can be very chaotic in these moments, so it is very useful that you put on paper everything that comes to your mind. Organize your thoughts and you will organize your life.
Just make a simple list regarding the points that we have already listed, and see how much this job means to you.
That being done, it will be easier for you to realize whether employment is worth relocating.
In order to demonstrate superb levels of commitment, you can say that you’d rather not move (if that’s the case), but that if the job really requires you to, you will do what’s right for the company…
That way you’ll demonstrate both the commitment and the sincerity that job interviewers rarely get to see from a candidate.
If your honest answer to the question of relocating is “no” then think about how important that job is for you anyway…
“WILL I GET A BONUS IF I DO IT”
This is a fine tactical way of actually avoiding to answer the question. Note how, by asking this, even in a rhetoric manner, you didn’t actually imply that you will relocate.
What you conveyed here is an ambition and an expectation of your employer to value your commitment and not just move you around as the company sees fit. You drew the line and clearly communicated that you know your worth and that you won’t be exploited just like that.
The interviewer will probably assume that you are willing to relocate for a higher salary and the interview just might change its course in your favor there…
By answering with a question you leave some space to maneuver and say that you didn’t actually agree to relocate in the first place… because you didn’t… and if they try to make you (once you’re already hired), you can always negotiate your salary again and then turn down if you’re that unwilling to move…
IT ACTUALLY DEPENDS ON THE PLACE WHERE THEY RELOCATE YOU
Another important point is your life at that particular moment. How are you feeling about your life in general for the last couple of months, maybe years? Are you satisfied with the place where you are now? How do you feel about your town? Do you like surroundings?
If you had the power to change anything that comes to your mind, what would that be? It is good to write these points as well. The more you write, the question of relocating will seem simpler and more uncomplicated.
If you answer that it depends on the place where they want to relocate you, you’re basically saying that you’re devoted to the position in the company BUT you have your standards as well.
Your relationship with your employers should be one of compromise and not based on them bossing you around. This answer will make them reconsider your goals and commodities as well and not just their gain.
YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO RELOCATE BUT YOU’LL NEED TO CONSULT WITH YOUR FAMILY JUST IN CASE AND GET BACK ON IT LATER
If you are young and ambitious, eager to prosper, the question of relocation may not come to you as a hard one but, if you are married and have family, it might be pretty tough to decide.
You have to think about your partner and especially your children – do they want to relocate, and the most important, would that be beneficial to your whole family?
If you have a family, a whole bunch of new questions impose themselves – is the new place a good environment for the children, how long will it take your family to adjust to the surroundings, how hard will you have to work at the start (do not forget that every beginning is difficult) and how will that affect your family.
If you have a partner, they would also need to find a new job (unless your salary can cover all of your expenses, which is pretty rare in the capitalist society).
Is it possible for them to find a new job in the new town or country? For example, if your spouse is a lawyer there the chances are almost zero that they could move to another country. There are plenty of important factors and you shouldn’t neglect any one of them.
WHAT DOES “RELOCATION” MEAN?
You should always know where you are standing, so don’t hesitate to ask – what do you consider under relocating? Some companies may demand that you move to another country, even a continent.
If you are a person who likes to explore new cultures, who is excited just by thinking of it, you are the right person for the position. When you answer the question positively, you should try to investigate the country they want you to live in.
Even throughout Europe, there are so many cultural differences, and you just have to accept that. For example, if you come from Spain or Italy, the Scandinavia might be too cold for you in terms of human relations and climate.
The important question is the language as well – if you should move to another country, does it require language skills or your knowledge of English will be enough? If you do need to learn a new language, how long will it take you to know the basics you need for the job? Reconsider all the (possible) aspects of your relocation.
WHAT IS THE COMPANY POLICY ON EMPLOYEE RELATIONS?
Of course, you will reconsider this one before you even send a CV to a certain company, but while you are thinking of relocating, always keep in mind this one as well. Imagine this situation – you have come across the continent, moved to another country, you don’t know a single person and the only people you constantly meet and interact with are your colleagues.
Now imagine this – they don’t function as a team, instead they are competitive, badmouth each other constantly or they don’t want to accept you as a part of their group.
You have to agree it would make things so much worse, maybe even unbearable. You will wish that you have never gotten the job…
So, always investigate the company’s policy on teamwork before you go to an interview, even if they don’t need you to move, it is one of the essential things. The working environment has to be healthy and fruitful for employees to reach their full work potential.
When it comes to this, there is another thing to think about – maybe the relations among colleagues aren’t the ones that you have been dreaming about, but you have a very big salary, or you will work on your own, in your office, with very little touch with the rest of the employees.
Go through all possible options and try to get an objective image of the job.
IT DEPENDS ON HOW LONG THEY’D WANT YOU THERE
In relation to the answer above, you may say that you’d be willing to relocate for a shorter period of time.
Sometimes companies may ask you to relocate because they have ongoing projects around the world and need you to be someplace else for a specific amount of time. For example, if you are a programmer, they might need you to live in another country for a month or until you finish the project the client demands.
In that case, your answer may be different than if you would need to relocate for good. Try to make everything transparent during the interview, see what it is all about, and that way it will be much easier to decide.
Do not take anything to be self-explanatory in the process of obtaining employment, always ask questions about every fact that seems dim.
YOU ARE NOT SURE ABOUT IT
If you don’t want to answer the question right away, you can try to avoid saying the definitive answer. While doing this, you can be reserved, but you mustn’t seem rude.
For example, you can say that you would agree to relocate if you saw it as a growth opportunity or an experience that might help you build your career and learn new business skills.
Sometimes companies are willing to improve the deal in case it can make you change your mind – it might get you a bigger salary, a better position, the company might pay for the price of moving, pay the rent in your new apartment, or something else.
This is the reason you should stay honest with the employer and always say your terms of work and the reasons why you would or wouldn’t relocate.
We strongly recommend that you should never say “yes” if you are not sure about relocation because, if you say “yes” and something prevents you from it, you will be considered for a careless, negligent worker, and you certainly don’t want that reputation, even if you need to switch jobs and find a new one after that, don’t expect a quality recommendation letter from your company if something like this happens.
Answers like this one might convey equanimity which is kinda good, but if the interviewer interprets it as coming from the place of apathy, then it can be a problem.
Only a few employers would opt for apathetic workers. They usually expect you to be highly enthusiastic and motivated.
If you’re not that excited about moving or staying, if it doesn’t interest you that much, then it could mean that you’re not invested in the place you live in… and if you’re not invested in your own life, how can they inspect you to truly invest in their line of work?
On the other hand, what your interviewer might get from an answer like that is that you are easy-going, flexible and balance which might be really good for the line of work they’re in.
“OF COURSE, I’D LOVE IT”
Everybody likes a “yes man”, right? Well… usually right anyway. Being a “yes man” has its positive and negative sides.
However, we may assume that since they asked the question, there might be a potential of relocating at the workplace and they might need you to move so…
“Yes” is probably what they want to hear and if “yes” is really what you want to say, then, by all means, go for it… although it’s best to negotiate it a bit, just so that they don’t take you lightly.
That being said, you’re not always in a position to negotiate or bargain, so a simple, enthusiastic and motivated “yes” may very well pave your way into a new career.
Everyone loves optimistic people (except cynics) and by tackling the question like this, you may come off as being optimistic and joyful come what may… unless it’s a trick question to see if you’re someone who frequently thinks of moving and just waits for the opportunity to hoist the sails.
NO, YOU DON’T WANT TO RELOCATE
First of all, saying “no” might not cost you your job and you need to keep that in mind. As we have already stated, it is much worse if you say “yes” just to get the job and then, if the opportunity comes along, you turn it down.
In that case, you may get fired and get a negative portfolio so to speak. Instead of putting yourself in this situation, be honest with the employer right at the start if there is no possible way for you to relocate.
This doesn’t mean just say no and stay put. You can state the reasons why you wouldn’t consider moving – because you have a family, because your life is overly tied to the town you live in, or any other reason that keeps you from relocating.
Of course, while explaining the reasons why you don’t want to move, emphasize the fact that you are still deeply interested in the position and you will do your best at the job in your town. You don’t want to seem disinterested just because of the fact you don’t want to change your living town.
In the end, although you are only a candidate for the job, you must show you are sure of yourself when it comes to important life-changing decisions. If this particular answer leads to you not getting the job, there will always be places for you to work, and surely you will find employment that suits you completely.
It is completely alright to change your mind and turn down the offer after you hear the conditions of relocating. It happens that the candidate may be willing to move, but the conditions are just not suitable.
For example, they want you to move for good, but can’t provide accommodation for your whole family, or the company doesn’t offer any advantages in case you agree to relocate.
This is the main reason why you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask questions and be sure of all the details that might make a great impact on both your personal and professional life.
On the other hand, saying “no” might get you places and might even get you a job if you know how and when to say “no” to.
For example, your job interviewer might come to like and respect your resolve and you may come off as a serious character who knows what he/she wants for themselves and what’s a no go.
You may give out the impression of someone who has a firm system of values and judgment and who knows… maybe they’re looking for someone just like that… someone who is involved in the life at the designed place and who does not look keen on moving.
ASK ABOUT THE TERMS OF RELOCATING
If the question of relocation pops up during an interview, you have the full right to know the terms of it.
What does the company offer in return? Sometimes the answer may make you change your mind, like if moving implies getting a bigger salary, or getting daily bonuses (this is the case when it comes to projects abroad, where you get additional bonuses besides your wages).
You can also ask whether the company would provide a living place for you (and your family) at least at the beginning and what does a “living place” imply – it would be pretty hard for you, your partner and your children to live in a one-bedroom apartment, right?
This is an important question even if you are on your own – some companies offer accommodation for workers where two or more people sleep in one room and live in one apartment, especially if it is some kind of seasonal work.
If they demand your relocation, you should investigate the town they want you to live in – does it have everything you need? If you are an art lover, living in a small town without any museums or galleries could be devastating for you.
HOW SOON ARE YOU EXPECTED TO MOVE AND WILL YOU BE NOTIFIED IN A TIMELY MANNER
As we have already stated, some companies that do not need you to move actually, they just want to check your reaction to the questions. On the other hand, some strictly demand your relocation, otherwise, you can’t get the job.
If this is the case, you have a legit right to ask them when are you expected to move. It is not the same if you have to pack your bags and change your whole life in three weeks, for example, or if there is a possibility that might happen someday in the future. Be open to the interviewer(s) and ask them the question directly.
WHAT ABOUT THE RESUME?
Usually, a company doesn’t call you to the interview right away, they first publish that they have an open position, so they want you to send your resume before a face-to-face interview. The question is – should you write that you are willing to relocate, in your resume?
The answers differ from one case to another. If it is stated in the ad that the job requires the eventual employee to relocate, the fact that you are willing to do so should be on your resume.
Contrarily, if it is not listed as a requirement, and you are not sure whether you would relocate, or you are positive that you would not, do not mention it at all. If the company doesn’t mention this task and you are certain that you would move for the job you are looking to get, you can state it in your resume.
Of course, if the company is located in a place that requires your relocation (for example, another city or country), you should write that you are willing to relocate to get the job. You should look at what the company itself needs – Microsoft Careers advises that you apply for the job “as you normally would” and if the recruiters ask, you should state your opinion.
Some famous websites, like Quora, advise that you don’t write this in the resume itself, but in the cover letter or an e-mail.
The bottom line is pretty simple – whether you are positive that you would like to move or are not sure about it, you have to be a good entrepreneur in this situation and make a bargain that will suit you the most – if the company doesn’t cover moving costs (which is usually the case), try to get them to cover at least some part of the costs; if they want you to move as soon as possible, try to make them pay for the costs; if they want you to move to a smaller town or a place that doesn’t cover all of your needs, try to make them raise your salary, etc.