By Joe Stein
The question about relocation is one that probably does not come up in Western New York as much as perhaps in other cities, since so many of our companies are small to medium in size. It may be asked, however, and you need to gather your thoughts about the topic so you are prepared to answer.
When might you be asked this question? There are several possible scenarios. It may happen, if you are interviewing for a company with multiple sites in different parts of the country. Or perhaps, if you are focusing on certain industries, such as retail, where you may move around some as you gain experience in different roles and/or markets.
It is probably a really tough question for those of us in Western New York because, if you are like me, you are here because you want to be. I have moved before for my career but always did it with one eye on eventually coming back to the area.
If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I constantly emphasize the need to be prepared for various questions that you may be asked. This is just one more that you need to think about and also, if applicable, speak to any family members. It is critical that you do not wait too far into the process to engage others that will be involved in the decision.
There are at least four responses that you can make:
· “No” – For many of us, we are not going to move. It does not matter how great the opportunity. Western New York is known for its strong family roots and, for many, a move is simply not an option. Answering in this way may eliminate you from the positon, but you are not really a candidate anyway if this is a requirement of the job, so there is nothing lost.
· “Not Right Now” – Some Job Seekers are intrigued, but the timing is just not right at the moment. This could be for a variety of reasons. Some examples could be because of an elderly parent, or a child in High School. You obviously do not have to provide that specific a reason (unless you want to) to the prospective employer. What you may want to do is give some type of timetable to the Interviewer as an idea of when you may be flexible to relocate. You should consider doing this because if the prospective employer knows it is a possible option, then they may consider you (especially if your timetable will work with what they had in mind). In some situations, the question is being asked not for the immediate timeframe but for the future.
· “My Bags Are Packed” – Well…perhaps you do not want to be that enthusiastic or the Hiring Manager may think you are trying to stay one step ahead of the law. I am sure, however, you get my point. For some, the time is absolutely right to relocate. You may be just out of school, wanting a fresh start, or just realize this is a way to jump start your career. Whatever the reason, make sure you have discussed this with your loved ones prior to answering so definitely.
· “Depends” – This type of answer means you are open to it, but for only the right situation. You can further elaborate on this answer by explaining that you have to know more about the position and the career opportunities. You do not, however, want to waste, your time nor the Hiring Manager’s, so make sure it really is a possibility if you are going to answer this way. This can also be used if your family is not sure of its desire to move, but it is something they will consider. Finally, you may be interested in moving, but have specific geographic locations in mind. This would be something to communicate, for example, stating, “I am open to relocating but would need to stay in the northeast”.
As usual, there is some professional etiquette associated with this question and your answer. For the most part, this involves avoiding making direct statements such as “if you pay me enough”, or “I’ll do anything to get out of where I am working now”.
There are so many questions for a Job Seeker to prepare for, but the question of relocation is probably one of the least complicated. The answer for most is probably a simple “yes” or “no”. For those who have relocation as a possibility, make sure you have an idea of your interest level and what specifically is your criteria regarding any potential move.
As always, best of luck in your job search!