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How to Answer “Are You Willing to Relocate?” in an Interview

In a globalised world where companies straddle borders and the workforce arrangements are increasingly mobile and flexible, one question that can arise in a job interview poses significant challenges for job seekers.

“Are you willing to relocate?”

This question could potentially be a game changer for both the employer and the job seeker.

If you haven’t prepared or thought about this possibility before going into the interview, you can be put on the spot and stumble over the answer.

  • How far away from your current home would you consider moving?
  • How would your current life situation be disrupted and uprooted if you moved?

And if you answer “no” to the question, does it mean you won’t get the job?

Pointers to keep in mind when answering this question is sincerity.

Whichever answer you give – yes, no or maybe – must be sincere and from the heart. In other words, for such a big decision, you have to weigh up the options and make an informed choice with input from both your heart and your head. If you say “yes” to the question and you’re not sincere, the interviewer will think you’re just saying what they want to hear and consider you a little desperate and deceiving. Don’t just say yes because you think it will impress the interviewer. If you’re not sincere, it will show and it will backfire. If you say “no”, make sure you say it with sincerity and explain your reasons why. An honest, straight forward answer about your choice not to relocate will go a long way in the eyes of the interviewer.

Finally, if you’re unsure, say so with conviction. Ask for more time to consider the request if you need it. Ask the recruiter if you can get back to them later that day or the next once you’ve had time to weigh up your options.

Another great tip, particularly if you answer “yes” to the question, is to give the interviewer an example or two of previous jobs you’ve relocated for. Explain the circumstances, and how it benefited you and your career.

A very important thing NOT to do in this situation is bring up the issue of relocation costs. If the first thing you ask the interviewer is how much they’ll pay to help you relocate, it will turn them off in an instant. You can find out those details at a later stage when you’re in final stages of negotiating your contract.

A final point to remember is that the question may not necessarily be made with the short term in mind. Perhaps your employer is considering expansion plans in the future, and is looking for employers who one day may consider relocating.

So even if you’ve thought about the answer and the immediate response is “no”, perhaps your situation and your mind may change about the possibility of relocating over time.

That’s why it’s so important to think about your answer to this potential question before you turn up for the interview. A well prepared, sincere, thought out answer will impress your potential employer and ensure your interview runs smoothly.



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