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Common Job Interview Questions

Will you relocate? - Often is among the common job interview questions...even if you are interviewing for a local job that does not require relocation.

But why?

Because employers prefer to hire people who are promotable to the next level...which might eventually involve a relocation.

So before you reply, think about your answer to this interview question in 2 ways...short term and long term.

You may have good reasons why you can't relocate today...

  • Child in high school
  • Your spouse has a career
  • You are caring for an elderly parent
  • Family or personal health issues
  • Love where you live and don't want to move

But do you really know how you'll feel about relocation in 3-5 years?

Below are 3 true stories that illustrate some unique relocation circumstances. After these stories is a wise strategy for handling the relocation question.

True Story 1: Are You Flexible and Promotable?

Early in my career with Fleetwood, their growth was very robust. They had 25+ manufacturing plants across the US and their headquarters was in Riverside, California.

New plants were opening almost every year and other plants were expanding. (Oh, how we all long for those days!) Fleetwood had a strict policy of promoting from within.

At this time, lots of people were being offered promotions, but despite a lucrative compensation plan, many people turned down these promotions because they did not want to relocate.

It soon became apparent to Fleetwood executives that their growth would be hindered if people refused to relocate.

Soon, a policy came down from on high that no senior staff would be hired unless they were promotable, and they agreed to relocate in the future.

All senior staff candidates were recruited locally. Fleetwood did not advertise that applicants must be willing to relocate because they wanted to make sure all applicants were sincere about future relocation.

So, they added the relocation question to their top 10 common job interview questions. Every candidate was asked whether or not they would relocate.

Unknown to them, this was a MUST HAVE requirement.

True Story 2: Looking Out For Mom...But She Up and Moved!

Linda was a promising manager with a bright future. She was well educated and her career was on the rise.

Over the years she told company executives and numerous recruiters she would not relocate because she was watching over her elderly parents.

One day Linda's father passed away suddenly leaving behind her aging mother. This strengthened Linda's resolve to stay put to look after mom.

Two years later, her mother remarried and moved with her new husband to Virginia--600 miles away! Their entire family was stunned.

Not in a million years could they have seen this coming. Now Linda had nothing holding her to the area. But unfortunately, she had told scores of people, I'll never move.

True Story 3: The Relocation Flip-Flopper

A friend of mine told me last year that he wanted to ride out his career in Wisconsin, and eventually retire there. He and his wife had 3 grown children living there and they really enjoyed the culture of the upper Midwest.

I ran into them recently, and to my amazement, they told me they would be very open to relocating out West.

What happened?

Two of their children unexpectedly moved to the same city in Utah.

Never say never. You really can't say with absolute certainty what you will do in the future. Who knows what your circumstances will be like?

Develop the mindset that you will cross the relocation bridge when you come to it.

If you can't move today, fine, you need to be truthful and say this in the interview. But quickly add that you will consider it in the future.

Five years from now you could be a completely different person under an entirely different set of circumstances.

Special Tip: The more flexible you are, the more attractive you will look to a prospective employer. Growing companies need the flexibility to draw from their bench.

You may be needed to turn around a struggling operation, or to manage one of their flagship operations in a remote location. So, think 3-5 years ahead when asked common job interview questions like this.

People who are willing to relocate are more likely to take quantum leaps in their careers. I can't think of one company president who hasn't moved a few times.

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