"Are you willing to travel?" is a common question, one you may encounter on your next job interview. If a hiring manager asks you if you are willing to travel for the job, it may set off alarm bells. You could worry that you'll be overburdened with extensive travel responsibilities that take you away from home. What makes this question even more challenging is that it tends to come very early in the job interview process.
In most cases, the job description contains information about travel, so hopefully this question will not catch you by complete surprise. You'll likely know a little bit about the travel requirement before applying, and should set aside some time to think through this question in advance of your first interview.
When the hiring manager asks this question, they are looking to gauge your willingness to travel—and the extent to which you will travel for the job. Often, the hiring manager will explain the travel requirements for the job during your interview, after you answer the question regarding willingness. The hiring manager will share their expectations with you, so that you can decide whether or not the position is a good fit for you.
Hiring managers primarily wants to know that you are open to travel experiences outside of the office when asking the question "Are you willing to travel?" You can help the manager know that you understand the necessity of travel in the normal function of the company by answering the question openly and honestly. (PS: LiveCareer can help you answer a slew of other interview questions that might come your way).
Points to Emphasize
When you answer the question "Are you willing to travel?" you want to emphasize your positive experiences with travel. And you need to maintain a positive tone when doing so.
- Share information about how travel in previous jobs has benefited your education or professional training
- Emphasize your commitment to completing your job responsibilities, regardless of where the job may take you
- Mention that travel increases a company's networking capacity
- Explain how travel expands your professional opportunities
Mistakes You Should Avoid
If you are not prepared for the "Are you willing to travel?" question, you might easily focus on the negatives and make some of the following mistakes.
- Do not complain about travel or talk about past misfortunes in airports, or at hotels
- Be careful not to explain that you enjoy sight-seeing or going on vacation while on business travel
- Do not ask questions about or discuss the option to bring your spouse or children with you on business travel
- Avoid going into descriptions of your family or personal responsibilities
- Do not give a specific maximum percentage of preferred travel
- Do not ask questions about travel reimbursement or travel policies—these questions can be asked (and will be answered) at a later time
Aim to provide a general answer, one that does not make the hiring manager feel as though travel burdens your life. You also do not want to define an amount of travel, for that will affect the hiring manager's ability to consider you for the job. If your number is even slightly below the company's expectation, it can label you as not interested in the job.
"Are you willing to travel?" is not a question that you should view as an opportunity for discussing how much travel you would like to do with the role. Remember, the hiring manager just wants to gauge whether or not you're a candidate who is willing and able to travel. If you're not able to meet the hiring manager's travel needs, you will likely be eliminated in favor of other candidates who are able to travel.
An excellent answer to "Are you willing to travel?" might go something like the following:
Yes, I'm willing to travel. Travel in my previous jobs has allowed me to go to special conferences and trainings that have expanded my knowledge of our industry. I always strive to be an asset to the company for which I work—if travel is needed to help the company succeed, I'm definitely game for traveling.
When you answer this question, you want to show that you are not opposed to the idea of travel—if the idea of traveling is something that excites you, let that enthusiasm register!
Here's another sample answer that would be a great response to "Are you willing to travel?"
I'm definitely willing to travel. I've been looking for a job that will allow me to travel as part of my responsibilities because I find that travel allows me to expand my knowledge of the many facets of a company's customer base. Travel allows me to not only grow my education, but also my professional network.
"Are you willing to travel?" is typically used as a screening tool during the job interview, rather than a point of discussion. Prepare your answer in advance to ensure that you quickly pass the test!
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