How to Answer the Interview Question: "Would You Travel or Relocate?"
Depending on what type of career you are pursuing or the type of work you’re involved in, it is likely that you will, at some point, be asked how you feel about changing locations.
Most corporations today have headquarters in multiple locations, and your talents may be suited better elsewhere. Or you may have outgrown your position, and your employer may want to push you to succeed.
In other cases, you may be applying for a new job or position in a different location from where you are currently based. If this is the case, you will most definitely be asked about your current living situation and your future plans.
The question can be quite unsettling. To feel this way is normal – in fact, it is an encouraging sign, as it highlights how aware you are of the potential changes in your future.
Employers want to know how willing you are to take that next step to relocate, if indeed it is an option. Whatever you want to do, it is vital that you are honest, as it will determine the actions of both you and your potential employer.
This article will highlight how you can best deal with these challenging questions and how you can go about impressing an employer. We will also discuss the key tips to succeed in these circumstances.
During the interview process, this question will most likely be asked quite far in, because employers first want to establish if you have the right skills and qualifications.
There would be little point in asking you this question if you do not have the basic requirements. So if you are being asked this question, then you are a potential candidate for the job.
First, if you are unwilling to travel large distances to work, then you must state this firmly.
It may seem like you are damaging your prospects, but if there is no possibility of your traveling, then you must consider if the job was ever viable in the first place.
The reasons for not being able to travel could be:
- The location is simply too far, and the commute would take too much time and money
- You may have other commitments to attend to, such as another job or study
- You do not have the means to travel that far. For example, you cannot drive, or the local transport links in your area do not go to the desired location
- You may have dependents, such as children or a partner, and the commute will ultimately disrupt your relationships
Do not hesitate to expand upon the reasons why you are unwilling to travel to your potential employer. In the case of dependents or a commute, they may be able to help you in some way.
The use of company cars and transport has become popularized, and this may be an option. You will not be sure of this until you are completely honest.
If you are willing to commute, then ensure that you say so.
Saying yes is an obvious starting point, but be sure to ask questions about what the potential employer is asking you to commit to.
Questions to ask are:
- Do you offer any travel reimbursements or incentives?
- Will the commute be factored into my working time?
- How often do you expect me to commute?
- Do other employers commute and where do they commute from?
- What is the best way to travel to the office or location?
These questions will help you understand what the employer is looking for. They will also inform the employer of your intentions.
Asking the question of your willingness to travel can be tricky – even awkward. Employers do need answers, but they do not like to intimidate potential future staff members.
The question can often be rephrased as:
- How would you feel about frequently travelling to work?
- Do you enjoy travelling or commuting?
Remember that you also can postulate over different answers, and you do not have to be blunt in your response.
Here are some sample answers for yes, maybe and no:
- "I would be very happy with this. What would you suggest is the best way to get to the office?"
- "Yes, of course I am willing to travel. Are there any car-share initiatives with any of your fellow employees?"
- "Sure. Is there any policy with travel incentives?"
- "It depends on how often you expect me to commute. I like travelling to work, but it may be difficult. Can you help in any way with this?"
- "I would consider commuting, but it is something I am not familiar with. What would you suggest is the most viable way of getting to the office?"
- "I have other commitments, and it may be hard to come in every day to the office. Is there any way we can work something out between us?"
- "Unfortunately, I am looking for a role that fits around my busy family life. Do you allow colleagues to work from home?"
- "I am happy to attend any training in the office, but I may find it difficult to maintain this due to my other job. Can we potentially come to a compromise?"
- "Right now, I do not have the means to travel that far. In the future, I would consider it, but at this moment, I am still learning to drive. Can you as an employer in any way help with this?"
The answer you give should open further conversation. Do not say a resolute yes or no. Instead, use the questions to develop a dialogue during the interview process.
Employers like candidates who show willingness and the ability to negotiate. Do not forget to use these skills during these questions.
Relocation is very different to the prospect of travelling to work, as it requires a completely different commitment altogether.
You may be applying for a role with offices in international locations. Or your skillset may be better suited elsewhere, and your potential employer wants to get the best out of you.
Whatever the circumstance may be, it is wise to take a similar approach as outlined above. Do not firmly answer with yes or no, and use the question to open a dialogue with the employer.
You can ask a question like:
- When would you expect me to relocate?
- What is accommodation like in that area? Do you have any suggestions about what would suit me?
- Is relocation permanent or is it temporary?
- Is it possible to work between two places at once?
- Is relocation needed in order to continue with this application process?
Such questions will help you gauge what the employer is looking for. They are also a good way of showing your interest in the role.
Many large corporations now have offices that are based across the world, and relocation may not necessarily apply just to the country that you are currently living in.
If you are asked how you feel about moving abroad, your approach will be different.
Being asked if you would like to work in a foreign country is an exciting prospect. However, it is a much larger commitment than being asked about travelling to work or moving to a different location within the country you live in.
It is not to be answered lightly, and the employer knows this. They understand that asking you to move to a different country for work is not an easy question.
If you are asked to work in a foreign country, here are some ways you can answer:
- "I would love to start my journey in Europe with your company. When are you looking to relocate me?"
- "This sounds exciting and I am very interested. Have many of your current employees relocated?"
- "Do you have any tips on accommodation and the process of relocation?"
- "I have never been to Asia, but working there is something I have always wanted to do. Is the relocation a permanent placement?"
- "Unfortunately, at this moment in time I cannot relocate. Is this something that will determine who you will offer the job to?"
- "Right now, I have just moved and cannot relocate in such a short time frame. However, in the future I may be open to the proposition. Is it something you offer frequently?"
- "Due to family commitments, relocation would be a big ask. Is there any way you would be able to compensate for the rest of my family?"
- "I was not considering relocation, as I am still quite new to the city. Are there positions available closer to where I am located, or are you specifically looking for potential candidates to relocate?"
Once again, when you decline an offer given to you during an interview, it is wise to change the rejection into a further question.
Understanding what the employer wants will give you a better understanding of what you are also looking for. These soft skills are very constructive for your long-term prospects.
Key Tips for Success
It can be quite surprising when you are presented with these types of questions, particularly if they were not clearly stated in the application package.
With working from home becoming more viable, moving location to work is a large request from any employer.
When being asked these questions, you must keep in mind that the employer is seriously looking at you as one the best candidates.
This mindset will really help you navigate the questions and give you the best opportunity of a positive dialogue with the employer.
In the interests of how to give the best answers, these are key points to consider:
Where you are at regarding location, current employment and your living situation will determine if you are able to commute long distances or relocate.
It is a good idea to map these out before you attend an interview. It is also a good idea to think about how you present these points.
In an interview, you do not have to delve too far into personal details. If you are uncomfortable talking about something, then do not hesitate to express this.
If there are reasons you cannot expand upon, then do not feel you have to. At the end of the day, your wellbeing matters as much as their search for a new candidate.
Most employers do state in their application packages what type of candidate they are looking for. They will state if a commute or relocation is something they require.
In the rare case that they do not express this, complete your own research into how the company operates, where the major offices may be located and what type of staff work there.
It does the candidate no harm to conduct thorough research into an employer's working practices, and it may even give you that edge during the interview process.
The topic of money will always be an awkward issue for both you and the employer. It is best to avoid talking about money, even though it is an essential part of either commuting or relocating.
If you want to discuss it, it is best to use questions that frame the topic in a different way. Instead of talking about money directly, ask questions regarding:
- Schemes and incentives
- Car shares
- Other employees and their travel methods
- The hours of work and the commute itself
Asking about these topics will not provide you with a direct answer, but they will certainly give you a feel of how the company treats its employees. It will also give you a general outline of the company’s working practices.
Interviews are stressful enough, and when you are asked a question about travel or the possibility of relocation, the situation can become even more difficult.
To deal with these questions, do not phrase them as a challenge, but as an opportunity for you to create a deeper dialogue with your potential employer.
You will have the opportunity to find out more about them, and they will also get to see your negotiation skills in action.
These questions can prepare you for what is on offer, and they may be the start of a new road ahead.