Do You Have a Geographic Preference?

Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW
By Nilda Melissa Diaz, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: October 26, 2022

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Many companies may ask the interview question- “do you have a geographic preference?” to potential job applicants. Interview questions may also be worded as- “are you willing to relocate?” or- “are you willing to travel for this job?” Employers ask these questions to determine if you are flexible enough for their specific location needs and to see how much interest you may have in the job.

What is the meaning of geographic location?

Geographic location – in a nutshell – refers to a specific location on planet earth.

What is geographic mobility when applying for a job?

Geographic mobility when applying for a job translates to a worker’s ability/willingness to move to a new location in order to find employment. It also refers to a worker’s ability/willingness to move to a new location to start a job they’re interviewing for, or that they’ve been hired for.

While you could be tempted to answer yes to anything the interviewer asks in regards to this question or indicate that you’d be willing to relocate anywhere in the world- it’s important to be honest. Flexibility is definitely something a hiring manager may be looking for- however- if you truly cannot travel to a different part of the world for a specific job- you should say so. The thing to keep in mind is you should represent yourself truthfully- but you should also prepare an answer that leaves the door open for flexibility.

How to Answer the ‘Do You Have a Geographic Preference’ Interview Question

Do you actually have a geographic preference?

When answering this interview question, have a firm grasp on whether or not it’s feasible for you to relocate for a job. Don’t make empty promises to the employer. No matter how much you want a specific job, it doesn’t make sense to promise an employer that you’re willing to relocate if you can’t.

If relocating isn’t a feasible option for you, and you agree to another geographic location during the interview, you risk losing a possible job offer. Depending on your specific situation- you must communicate honestly to the employer so you both can get what you need out of the situation. If you have a certain preference as to region or country where you want to work- the best piece of advice is to mention that.

Avoid too many specifics

Another key tip for answering a question about your geographic work preferences is to avoid talking about too many specifics- such as personal details. In most interview scenarios- it’s not appropriate to discuss your personal life or the different situations affecting your family. If you have children who are enrolled in school- and you don’t want to take them out of a specific district- simply indicate that you want to stay locally. If your spouse is tied to the area and cannot make a big move- again- don’t get into too much detail- but mention you prefer your current region. Do your best to stress how much you are interested in the position no matter what. If you are willing to travel or relocate to any spot the company has in mind- though- you can certainly communicate this with enthusiasm.

Show a Little Bit of Flexibility

What many employers are looking for when they ask this question is a little bit of flexibility. For most hiring situations- it’s appropriate to expect someone to be open to some amount of travel or even the possibility of a post in a different region. If your level of interest is high in the potential job- you can determine how flexible you want to be. For those who are able to relocate- this may help put their name at the top of the hiring list. When you show some flexibility to a future employer- you demonstrate how important the job is to you.

Sample ‘Do You Have a Geographic Preference’ Interview Answers

1. I would consider relocating to another area depending on the situation and opportunity. I am excited to be a part of this company- and I would love to stay in this part of the country. That would be the most convenient thing for me at this time. However- I know that sometimes it’s vital for a job to take you outside of your neighborhood. I understand that your organization is currently trying to expand in different regions- and I would be open to helping the organization go beyond its current geographical region. I have a lot of experience in travel- and I look forward to new adventures that take me to a new place.

2. I’ve always enjoyed living in this particular community- but if it was important for me to take an assignment somewhere else- I would be open to the possibility. I am really excited about the prospect of moving up in this organization- and if I am required to travel- then I would consider it. I can be more flexible for the right company- and I am confident that this company is the place for my ultimate goals. I am excited to learn more about some of your company’s future plans for expansion- and how I can help you reach even more success.

While interview questions of relocating is a sensitive topic for some people who are unable to move- you should always be realistic and honest in your responses. If you provide an answer that demonstrates confidence and capability- you may have a stronger chance of being put into consideration for the job- no matter what your geographic preferences are.

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