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How to Answer “Are You Willing to Relocate” in a Product Manager Interview

Are you willing to relocate for this product management position? Depending on your situation, answering this question in an interview can seem like a no-win situation.

If you are willing to relocate for a role, that of course makes your life very easy. However, in a situation where you really don’t want to relocate for the position, it can start to seem tricky to answer this question correctly. It can easily feel like the door has been slammed shut on a great opportunity. Yet that doesn’t have to necessarily be the case, depending on how you answer.

Why Do Recruiters Ask This Question?

The reasons why your interviewers ask if you’re willing to relocate for a position are fairly self-explanatory. Recruiters are trying to gauge your level of interest and flexibility.

There are really a few kinds of scenarios you might find yourself in when approaching this question. Regardless of your particular situation, it’s important to remember that things are changing rapidly. No matter what company it is, the time we’re living in will affect them.

More companies than ever before are making the change to either a completely or partially remote team as they realize all the benefits that come with having employees work from home. Being willing to relocate for a position is great, but may not be as much of a deal breaker as it once could’ve been.

3 Approaches to “Are you Willing to Relocate”

The first scenario you may find yourself in is that of someone who really wants to find a way to make it work for the position. What if you’re extremely interested in working for the company you are interviewing with, but you know that for whatever reason you are not willing to relocate for the position? 

Perhaps your family is settled in your current location or you’ve signed a lease you’d rather not break. If your ideal scenario is to be able to stay where you are currently living while working at the job, it may seem like trying to have your cake and eat it too. Or maybe it’s not the company you are passionate about, but the job itself. Perhaps you’re in a situation where you just really need to get a job and get settled quickly to get some stability. 


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How to Answer the Relocation Question

No matter the reason, if you really want the position, start by letting them know your enthusiasm to make it work. There may have been a time when being willing to relocate would’ve been a question requiring a definitive, upfront answer, but times are changing and workplaces are becoming more flexible for valuable employees. 

While we’re still in a pandemic, it’s reasonable to mention that you’d prefer to stay put until things settle down a bit, maybe for the first 3-6 months. With many companies still opting to have their employees forgo coming into the office in favor of working remotely from home, even someone who is perfectly willing and able to relocate for a position should ideally avoid rushing into moving. The reality is that many companies have been pushing their target dates for returning to the office back again and again. This shows no sign of slowing down yet, so pushing back dates will likely continue. 

By being willing to give it a shot and work with the company for the next couple of months locally, you get a chance to know them and they get a chance to know you. This can get your foot in the door to prove yourself before you start making rash decisions. Now, even if being able to relocate for a product management position just really isn’t an option right now, you can get the opportunity to get in there and completely exceed expectations and make yourself an invaluable member of the team.

What If You Get the Job and They Ask You to Relocate?

Once that day does finally come and there is a return to the office, there is already evidence that the culture around working remotely has been permanently altered. Therefore, the expectations on relocating for a position may flex accordingly. There will be more hybrid work weeks, where you will only be required to spend a few days a week in the office. Some companies are giving employees options to permanently work remotely as our technology and systems for working from home get better and better. 

As a rule of thumb, companies don’t enjoy interviewing any more than you do. Hiring new employees can be an expensive and tedious ordeal, and most often an employer will prefer to keep the great employees they already have instead of having to hire new ones. After a few months of performing incredibly in your role, you will have more weight to your argument and be in a better position to request to remain where you are and continue to work remotely.

Find the Best PM Position for You

All this to say, when job hunting for the right Product Management position you have to do the best thing for you every time. In this ‘new normal’ of working from home, you’ll be amazed at how many companies are more willing to work with you.

If you’re in a very unique circumstance and still unsure what your next step should be, schedule a free 30 minute consultation. One of our career coaches would love to talk to you and help you navigate any challenges that you have!