How to answer tricky interview question: Are you willing to relocate?

By admin Nov28,2023

A professional’s search for better job prospects and more career growth is likely to open multiple doors for the person. Such an interviewee is also likely to be asked “are you willing to relocate?” for a role. Now, a simple “yes” or “no” alone might not suffice as that is not how it works.

So, how do we frame a suitable answer to this question?

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To figure out the best way to tackle this tricky interview situation, let’s first understand the employer’s intention behind asking it.

Viju Gangadharan, HR Head, iMocha, AI-powered skills intelligence and assessment platform, lists a few situations when it becomes necessary for employers to ask this question:

1. When the role for which the candidate is hired is people or customer-centric

2. When the organisation has offices or customer locations across or outside the country3. When the organisation has only 1 work location and has plans to consolidate the workforce in 1 office to ensure better collaboration and engagement 4. When the organisation realises that the “work from home” facility offered during lockdown period is not working

Elaborating on what an employer intends to assess through the question — “are you willing to relocate?” — Gangadharan says it gives companies an idea of how interested the candidate is in the role and the organisation. It also gives the interviewer a chance to assess the flexibility and attitude of the candidate, and if the person is ready to walk the extra mile if the business demands it.

The HR head of iMocha says each person has a different priority. The answer to this question informs the interviewer whether the candidate’s highest personal need is growth or comfort.

Moreover, as work-from-home has become a norm today, employers ask this question to gauge a candidate’s willingness to relocate for short- and long-term assignments within or outside the country.

Responses employers often come across
The responses vary greatly depending on the role, position and candidate, says Gangadharan. Candidates being considered for senior roles often respond in the affirmative. Such people see relocation as a path to take for career progression. Junior or mid-level candidates and those who have niche skills often express their unwillingness to relocate within the country but are open to short or long-term relocation outside the country, adds the hiring expert.

What not to mention while addressing this question
In Gangadharan’s opinion, individuals should not use terms like “work-life balance” while disagreeing to relocate. Instead, he says individuals should focus on achieving work-life integration through discipline and commitment towards the job’s outcome.

However, this is definitely a personal choice and each person will have to take a decision based on their priority.

Employers may perceive candidates negatively if they express interest only in onsite assignments, unless they are able to give a reasonable and convincing explanation. But the hiring decision can go in favour of candidates who are bringing specialised skills to the table and these can generate revenue for the organisation.

So what is an ideal response to the question on the willingness to relocate?
Whether your answer is a firm yes or a hesitant no, it’s extremely necessary to frame your answer correctly. A refusal to relocate should display a sense of gratitude and respect towards the employers.

Gangadharan advises candidates willing to relocate to talk about how moving to a different location can help them take on new and enriching responsibilities that will further their career; socialise, engage, and learn from others; and be available where the action is, which is again a way to fast-track career growth.

When an individual cannot relocate, politely mentioning the reason without divulging too many details might be an appropriate way to put forward the decision. In a situation like this, one can express that they would not like to relocate because there is a similar job opportunity available in their current location, or there are various constraints to relocating, including familial ones, he adds.

By admin

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