Q I just left an interview for a job I really want. The company is based here, but they asked me if I would be willing to consider a move to New Jersey in three years. I don’t know what the company plans are, and I don’t want to go to New Jersey, but I do want this job. What should I have said to stay in the running?
A. Life and business changes quickly. Most organizations and managers have strategic or general plans for what they would like to see happen in their business. Often the plans pan out as designed; just as often, circumstances change and plans are adjusted.
You probably have a plan and vision for the next few years of your life and moving to New Jersey isn’t on that list. Chances are you won’t, but wouldn’t you like that choice to be yours when all the facts are available? When you know what the offer looks like? What your life looks like at that point in time?
In interview situations, many people answer ”what if” style questions with rock solid answers when flexibility and leaving doors open for possibilities are called for to keep an opportunity moving ahead. ”Would I consider moving to New Jersey?" I hadn’t thought about it, but I am very interested in this job and this company. It would be very exciting to see where the opportunity would lead."
Lying is not a good interview strategy nor is eliminating possibilities too soon in any interview process. Your job as a candidate is to find out as much as you can about the company, culture, manager and role, so that you can show the hiring manager the full impact of what you can do to contribute to the success of the organization.
Interviews are not the time to think out loud about whether you would actually want to move, or to discuss other potential challenges to any job (making a quota, launching a product on time, writing code to deadline).
Effective candidates position themselves to get an offer and evaluate it fully after the success in the process.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.