If you’re looking to relocate, it can be tempting to immediately accept any interview request from companies in your target city. However, interviewing for out-of-state jobs is more complex than meeting with employers in your own area. Before you say yes, ensure you’re prepared for the logistics of a non-local interview.
When interviewing with local employers, it’s easy to schedule an interview even for the next day. For out-of-state interviews, however, you can’t just take off early from work. You might need two or three days when you include travel time and possibly an overnight hotel stay. Don’t rush yourself for the sake of the employer and wind up arriving at the meeting unprepared. If you need until the end of the week to make arrangements, explain this to the employer and ask for an appointment time that fits into your schedule.
Many companies squeeze in as many activities and meetings as they can for out-of-town candidates. They can’t just ask you to drop by again if they need additional information, so they want to make your trip counts. For you, this will likely mean more extensive planning. For example, if you’ll attend a full day of interviews followed by a business dinner, you might need to bring an extra change of clothes. When you schedule the interview, ask the employer for a detailed agenda of the day’s events and any information or materials he needs you to bring.
Determine if the employer will fund trip-related expenses or expect you to pay your own way. A tactful way to approach this is to ask, “Will the company handle the travel arrangements?” This broaches the subject without directly addressing money. If the hiring manager says yes, then the company is picking up the tab. If he says no, however, you’re on your own. Avoid telling employers you can’t afford the trip, because they might think you’re not that committed to the job or lack the resources to relocate. However, if you absolutely cannot foot the whole bill, ask if the company can pay a portion of the expenses.
Salary and relocation expenses might be crucial factors when deciding to accept an out-of-state job, but don’t mention this when you set up the interview. Employers prefer to discuss this during second- or third-round interviews. Asking before you’ve even met with the employer can appear presumptuous. Ideally, you should research typical salaries and cost-of-living for the region before you apply. Also, don’t ask for hotel recommendations or other information about the city. Employers will expect you to have already researched this information, and might think you’re not that interested in moving if you haven’t taken the time to visit or learn more about the city.
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