How to Navigate Interviews When You’re Moving to a Different City or State

You want to get a job in a different city or state, and you’re not quite sure how to go about navigating the interview process. While in many ways the out-of-town job hunt mirrors the local search, there are definitely curves in the road that need to be navigated differently. But don’t worry; we’ll help you get over the rough spots by showing you when to veer off in a different direction and when to stay the course.

Moving Interview

It’s important to keep in mind that there are two different types of interviews you may encounter during the relocation process: the virtual interview and the face-to-face interview. 

The Virtual Interview

You may feel at a bit of a disadvantage compared to local applicants because they can show up for an interview at a moment’s notice. The face-to-face interview is still the most popular route for employers, despite the fact that video conferencing technology can be an easy substitute. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change. Virtual job interviews are becoming increasingly popular among both candidates and hiring managers. In fact, research shows that for 66 percent of job candidates, virtual interviewing is the preferred process. So it’s a good thing that six out of every 10 HR managers have hopped on board the video conferencing train. Simply put, the distance obstacle has essentially been removed.    

The Face-to-Face Interview

If your potential employer still wants to talk with you face-to-face, he can pay for you to come to his fair city. This gives you a chance to check out the local landscape and make sure it’s a good fit for you. At the same time, it also shows your possible future boss is willing to invest in you, which is definitely a good sign. Once he’s paid for a plane ticket and a hotel, he is going to want a return on his investment—so your chances of getting hired just went up. However, keep in mind that you will probably need at least one day off from your current job—possibly even two—if you are not traveling by air. If you have any vacation or personal days in the bank, this would be the time to use them.

Now, on to the similarities and differences between navigating the non-local interview versus the local:

What to Do the Same

  • Be professional. You might think if you’re interviewing from your home over Skype it’s okay to dress casually or have your kids running around in the background. Trust us, it’s not. Just because you’re not physically in the office doesn’t mean your professionalism can be tossed out the window. If you make that mistake, it’s likely your resume will be tossed out before you even sign off.
  • Keep your priorities straight. If you wouldn’t accept the job at home, don’t accept it just because you want to move. It’s easy to get so caught up in the idea of relocating that you lose sight of what you value most in an employer and working environment. Don’t make the mistake of settling just to get to your dream location. Your dream job matters too.

What to Do Differently

  • Discuss relocation from the start. Don’t wait until the last minute to mention to your interviewer that you don’t exactly live right around the corner. Make sure he knows there will be relocation expenses involved if he hires you. You don’t want to waste his time or yours if he is only willing to hire locally.
  • Make sure the timeline matches up. When you’re accepting a local job, you can usually start right after your two weeks’ notice is up. But when you’re relocating, the timeline will likely be a little longer. When you’re discussing your start date with an out-of-town employer, make sure you’re both on the same page regarding how long it will take you to find a place to live, schedule a moving company, and all of the other details that can delay your first day on the job.
  • Sell the benefits of transplanted hires. If you’re competing against local employees who have no relocation expenses, you’re going to have to go beyond just selling yourself. You will need to sell the idea that someone from a different state or city is worth taking a chance on.  Remind your potential employer that your diverse experiences will bring additional knowledge and creativity to the organization. After all, a hometown gal from the Midwest has a whole different perspective than someone who was born and bred in the big city.  Promote all the different qualities you can bring to the table for a true competitive edge.

The interview process can be intimidating no matter where you’re from or where you’re going. But don’t make the fact that you’re looking for a job from out of town be a detriment to your confidence or determination. It’s easy to turn negatives into positives if you just put the right spin on them.


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