Has this ever happened to you?
You have been searching job boards for weeks, and finally, you have found it. The 'perfect' job and the work location is right up the road. Great! You have gotten to your 2nd interview, and the HR representative asks you an odd question. "Are you willing to relocate?" You are in shock. The job posted was in your hometown! Why would they change the work location? Or perhaps you saw that their work location is outside of your city, but the opportunity is too good to pass up. So, you apply.
During the interview, it is not uncommon to be asked if you are willing to change your work location even if they have no plans to relocate you. In this article, we are going to explore why a company would ask this question, things you should consider about relocating, and give you some sample answers to the question.
Why are they asking?
We are in what is often referred to as an "Employers Market." An Employer's market is when there is a high demand for jobs or when there are many more candidates for the job/role. This puts the company at an advantage as they can pick and choose who they want to hire. They can also decide where the work location should be. Suppose an organization has a different work location in several other states. In that case, they may have to reorganize where they put their top talent. They could be asking just in case they decide to move their work location headquarters. In other situations, it would seem odd that anyone would relocate, and they want to check your commitment to really relocating.
Should you Consider Relocating for Work?
If you have lived in one area for a while, changing based on work location can be scary. It can also be very rewarding. Fifty percent of everyone thinking of moving is doing it because of a different work location, whether it be a job change or job transfer. Before you answer the question, here are some things to keep in mind.
1. Is this an 'ideal' job situation?
Good jobs are hard to come around. If you love your job, your company, and your boss, you must seriously consider the ask. But do your research. A new work location will mean a different cost of living. Are you okay with the compensation, job duties, hours, commute time, and a workplace environment?
2. What are your long-term goals?
Every new job should be bringing you closer to your dream job. Will this change in work location get you a new title or a raise? Will it allow you to learn a new skill or use cutting edge technology? Would you have the same opportunity if you don't move?
3. What is the cost of living?
I live in Waco, Texas. It is a big small town. And it is pretty inexpensive to live here. The median home here is $122,100. I moved here from Lake Oswego, OR where the median home is $653,500. You don't have to have a college degree to be able to understand the difference this work location change could make to a family. Before considering whether to move or not, use a cost-of-living calculator to see how much you can get for your income in a different work location.
4. Can you have the same quality of life?
Okay, not going to lie. Moving to Waco meant losing a lot of the comforts we enjoyed in Oregon. We were here for a few weeks when my daughter, in the 8th grade at the time, stomped into the living room and declared, "THEY DON'T EVEN HAVE A CHEESECAKE FACTORY HERE!" Her whole life, we took our kids to the Cheesecake factory for special occasions. And there are other things they don't have. No Macy's. No Apple stores. There are also no mountains or ski slopes here. But we could live without those things. Make sure you know what moving to a work location would mean for your quality of life and whether or not you would be okay with the change.
5. What does this mean for your family?
What would a work location change mean for your partner or children? Will they be able to the quality of life they need? I should have mentioned, we moved to Lake Oswego, OR from Dania Beach, FL. This meant no competitive football for my son—no more beach sunrises for my husband and no more bike ride next to the ocean. More importantly, my kids were leaving everything they had ever known. Ask yourself if your family will be able to have the education or careers they were expecting if you move. It is not all doom and gloom. Sometimes a change in work location could mean better opportunities for everyone! Just do your research.
What is Your Answer?
Here are two sample answers that can help you answer enthusiastically as well as buy you a little time to do your research.
"While I didn't realize that this position would take me to a new work location out of Detroit, I don't see any immediate concerns in moving to a new location. Plus, an opportunity to be an accountant at ACME company would be too good to pass up as long as the new work location would be in an area with a solid housing market and inexpensive commute."
"My job search has with positions that wouldn't require me to relocate, but after I saw the opportunity to work as a part of your software development team, I knew it would be a good fit. I have researched the work location and the cost of living and education opportunities for my family and living in Ohio would be a great move for me."
I hope that after reading this article, you feel better equipped if asked about changing your work location. It is a big decision, but if you see a perfect opportunity and it is in a different state than you live in, don't let it stop you from applying. Also, remember, at the time that I am writing this article, several organizations are allowing their employees to work from home. Don't be afraid to ask if this is an option as well. Whatever your choice, just make sure your answer is well thought out and what is best for you and your family.
Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: Balancing Challenge, Work Location, and Income
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