Important Notice:
This site has moved to, please update your bookmarks. If you were looking for a specific post, you can use the site search option, archives, or categories at the new domain to find it. Thank you!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

applying for a job in another state

A reader writes:

What is your take, as a hiring manager, on job applicants who apply to positions in your company from out of state (let's say New York applicant for a California job)? Do they immediately go to the circular file or are they considered as seriously as other applications? What if the applicant expresses an interest in relocating to your area provided he or she gets a job first?

Are out of state applicants treated differently if they are entry, mid, Director and Executive levels -- meaning the higher up you are and the position you apply for, the more likely you will be considered as an out of state applicant?

This varies depending on the job. For higher-level or hard-to-fill jobs, location isn't much of an issue. For other jobs, especially those that attract an overwhelming number of applicants, location gets factored in. This is because if I have a number of seemingly just as qualified local applicants, I can interview them faster and without paying to fly them in, and if I hire a local person, I won't need to pay relocation or wait for them to move before they can start work.

However, out-of-town applicants can get around that in a couple of ways:

* State in your cover letter that you are planning to move to my city (and if you can mention a specific ETA, that's even better) and don't need relocation assistance.

* Make it clear in your cover letter that you would be happy to get yourself to my city for an interview.

If you do those things, you've pretty much negated any bias toward locals that I might have had.


Anonymous said...

I disagree a little bit with AAM on this one. Very rarely will I interview an out-of-towner for a position. Relocation is often a hit or miss situation and I won't offer relocation assistance unless it's a high level position or exceedingly difficult to fill.

Take, for example the candidiate who applies for a position here in Boston, who's from Texas and offers to pay their own's an entry level position so I'm thinking to myself two things:

1. This person has no idea how expensive and difficult it is to find housing in Boston and I question their judgment. They clearly haven't realistically looked at what it takes to relocate.

2. Why would they pay $300 for a round trip flight for an interview? It reeks of desperation.

If, for example someone is already relocating to Boston for their own reasons, and states when they'll be available for an interview (after they've relocated), I won't hesitate to give someone a call. I think people often underestimate who difficult it is to assimilate in a new city AND a new job. There are huge risks involved and I don't trust a candidate who willy-nilly is offering to relocate. As a candidate, you want to look confident and competant. Someone willing to pay their own way and relocate to a new city for this job that they know minimal things about is not necessarily someone who's done their due dilligence.

Rebecca said...

Anonymous, suppose I really want or need to move to Boston, and I'm happy to pay my own way to move, but I don't have a ton of money on hand right now. Is it really that dumb for me to decide not to gamble my savings on moving before I have a job?

Of course, maybe it's easy for me to say, since I moved from Tennessee to Philadelphia after getting a job offer, and paid my own way to move, and then didn't go broke or have a nervous breakdown or quit because I couldn't handle the big scary city. ;)

Anonymous said...


As I clearly stated,

If, for example someone is already relocating to Boston for their own reasons, and states when they'll be available for an interview (after they've relocated), I won't hesitate to give someone a call.

You were relocating because you had chosen a city that you were interested in for whatever reason. You had done due diligence and were getting your ducks in a row. Someone who's willing to move anywhere in the world for a job makes me wary. And not because I've never moved in my life; it's because I've lived in a variety of places (both abroad and domestic) and understand how important it is.

HR Maven said...

For entry level positions, I will seldom consider someone out of state. It adds a level of complexity and time that isn't necessary. With several hundred applicants per job, we can find and hire someone locally.

For mid to upper level positions, we will always consider someone from out of the area. We have relocation assistance and normally have the lead time to accommodate a move.

On any out of area interview, we always do a phone screen first -helps save on travel if the person doesn't go forward in the position.

Tiffany Loudermilk said...

Just a bit of advice from someone who has job hunted while relocating more than once - my spouse is in the military, so I get to move whenever he gets transferred, but would go stir-crazy without gainful employment. I'm still pretty young, so the positions I've been looking for are basically entry-level.

The first time I moved from Texas to Virginia, I couldn't get anyone to call me back, much less offer me an interview. I posted my resume with my TX address with a note in the cover letter about relocating. I had to fly out twice to job hunt, once when I didn't have any interviews lined up, and again when I interviewed (after 2 rounds of phone screens) for the job I ended up getting. VERY expensive, but absolutely crucial!

The second time I relocated, it was from VA to CT, and I had learned my lesson. When I posted my resume, I listed my address as
My Name
Relocating in June to
City/Region, CT" and then listed my current cell and email info. My cover letter also talked about how I was relocating with my spouse, and when I would be in town both to interview, and to start. I got so many more calls and interest than the first time around, because I showed up on the "local" search results, not the "out of town" results!

When recruiters called me, I let them know what my timeline looked like and that I was more than happy to start with a phone interview and go from there. I scheduled in-person interviews for the day after we arrived in town and made sure to bring appropriate clothing with me in the car (don't let the movers pack it all!) Luckily, I didn't need to have a job to actually make the move, but if you do, be sure to set aside plenty of money for back-and-forth travel for interviews.

The key is to be upfront and flexible, understanding that you're going to have to work a little harder to even get your foot in the door. Now, as an HR professional, I don't hesitate to consider an applicant who is already relocating. I do always want to know why they're moving, though, because Anonymous is right - people usually underestimate the difficulty of relocating AND starting a new job.

Good Luck!

Nabi said...


When you said you were relocating to the new address, did you also include your current address or did you not have to do that?

Anonymous said...

I must comment on Anonymous' thought that paying for a flight to an interview "reeks of desperation" I am stunned. What place does an HR recruiter have to question how a candidate invests in finding employment or a location that is suitable. Why not view this in a positive light, to say that this potential employee is proactive, and if anything, demonstrating a keen interest in joining the company and moving to a new city that is obviously of interest. This is a good thing, not a bad thing. And if you wish to think of "desperation" what I may recommend is that you take note of the current US economic situation, which is most certainly calling candidates to reach out further to find work. As for the second comment about questioning the person's judgment in finding housing in Boston, that is simply a demeaning way of looking at a candidate. It sounds more of a parental than professional assessment. This is a presumably adult candidate, and I say that HR is stepping over legal boundaries bordering discrimination to assess a candidate's personal expenses spending and decisions. Since your company is not picking up the tab for travel or relocation, then it's none of HR's business.

And, there is this saying - "you've got to start somewhere" which is just what an entry level candidate is trying to do.

Tae in Portland OR said...

I live in Oregon. I want to move to New York. I have friends that live there & I have made extended visits many times. I know its expensive, I know its competative but I also know that I am at the only time in my life its ideal to do it(not married, no children). I have worked for the same company for 9 years in a specialized field in healthcare (mid level). I have the experience and credentials that employers in New York state in their postings. I am saving for cost of moving. But I will not (especially in this economy) pick up and move out of state & leave a job I've had 9 yrs & the benes that come with it, without securing another job. I have a timeline for when I'll be ready but its very contingent upon when I find employment. I am going to live alone (or with roomate) and the area I live in also depends on where I find a job. I'm applying at nearly every hospital in New York City. I can not afford to move and apply after I relocate. I am willing to fly in for interviews at my own expense because it is where I want to go. But I am wondering should I be using a friends address on my resume's or get a local P.O. Box, change my ph number to a local area code...anything to let the employer know that I am a serious candidate? I'm Just not crazy enough to quit my job in this economy without already having an offer.

Anonymous said...

HR people are complete morons and Human Resources is a useless function. HR people need to get off their high horses and go back to what was once called "personnel"

I just so happen to be an "HR" person and I'm just dying to make a career change. However, changing fields is nearly impossible due to the fact that I'd have interviw with an ignorant judgemental Human Resources person who wouldn't be able to understand that yes..people in fact are allowed to make a career changes! UGH! Don't get me started on Recruiters...they are the WORST sales people.

Landis Pettus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I hope someone responds to Tae's question....It's exactly my situation, except that I am a recent graduate with everywhere in the world to go.

Do you fake it by using a friend's address? Seems silly to do something like that because one way or another you're going to be found out. IP address, lack of knowledge of surroundings if you do land a phone conversation..etc. Plus it's just feels like bad business.

I don't understand the reasoning behind the first comment, either. I *am* a potential entry-level candidate from Texas who will offer to pay her own way to another city. Why does relocation have to be so difficult anyway? Especially when you've just graduated, you have minimal baggage! Anywhere I go, I'll have friends there to show me around and give tips on where not to live, etc.

Yes, it's expensive. But it's an investment. And why not have more employers interview via Skype?

Jess said...

I wonder about Tae's too because it's also similar to mine. I've had my job about that long and looking to move to a certain city. Yes, we should get a job first before moving but do we get a temp type job just to get a local address and be more hire-able?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous from March 4th. It may not be desperation at all. It may be that the applicant has a family to consider and relocating without a job is irresponsible. Is it not illegal to dismiss an applicant because of location? These tough economic times require a different view on employment and applicants. It is because of people like HR Maven that so many jobs may be available but are unattainable because of the whims or laziness of HR people. Especially when no one asks for relocation assistance.

Erin said...

Thanks for the great tips and discussion about this topic! I am also struggling with this idea and am wondering how to express to a potential employer that I really want the position enough to move and enough to pay for interview travel (if seriously considered), without relocation pay.

I am applying for entry level positions out of state. As a somewhat recent college graduate, I have working for a nonprofit in Arizona out of love for the work, but with a strong desire to move out of Arizona (for a much needed change of scenery) and to get some more experience in my career field. Since graduating, I have kept some money saved in anticipation of relocation costs.

A very successful, close family friend suggested that employers will throw out my application because they do not want to worry about paying for travel when they have plenty of local applicants in this economy. Does that mean I am stuck for now? A few years ago, I would get multiple offers for jobs/paid internships and now I cannot even get an interview.

I am fairly well traveled and feel like I could handle moving to any city that I have already considered when applying for the position. Where did the idea come from that someone is willing to move "anywhere" desperately? (Though I suppose I do know people in jobs that could, and do, move them with short notice to distant locations.) I would only apply for a position that I really wanted in a location that I would be willing to relocate to.

Do I state this in my cover letter? If so, where? Should I add it in an email or by phone? How do I state professionally:

I love this position that fits well with my skills enough to relocate at my own expense; I would love the opportunity to discuss my candidacy by phone / webcam /email and, if seriously considered, to pay for (or negotiate) travel costs for the interview.


Ask a Manager said...

Erin, there's some advice here that should help you:

Anonymous said...

1. This person has no idea how expensive and difficult it is to find housing in Boston and I question their judgment. They clearly haven't realistically looked at what it takes to relocate.

This is so incredibly degrading and discouraging. I'm moving to San Francisco from Chicago. I am well aware of the cost of an apartment, and have put away money for this transition. It's next to impossible to move there before I find a job. Most of the apartment ads I've seen state that one must have a job offer letter or recent pay stub in order to sign a lease.

2. Why would they pay $300 for a round trip flight for an interview? It reeks of desperation.

They would probably pay 300 for a round trip ticket, because they really want the job and are eager about relocating. What is desperate about that, and additionally, who isn't desperate in this economy? Keep in mind that they may have accrued miles for such an occasion as I have. I'm so glad I"m not looking for a position in Boston, and hopefully I won't encounter such unprofessionalism in San Francisco.

CK said...

I'm glad I stumbled upon this post and I must say that the first comment is rather offensive to me. I currently live in a small town in PA and have been sending resumes for almost two years to companies in San Francisco and NYC. I have gotten very little response other than, "we only hire local candidates" or "let us know when you live here." This is exceedingly frustrating because I have wanted to live in those places for years, but moving without a job isn't an option for me for various reasons. I have done my research, I know the cost of living is much higher than where I live (although, I used to live in center city Philadelphia, so I am familiar with costs associated with cities) and I am not desperate simply because I'll pay for my own transportation to get to an interview. I want to move so I actually can have a career because there is zero opportunity for what I do where I currently live.

I certainly hope the HR recruiters to do no share Anonymous' attitude- if they do, there is no hope for me at all and I am doomed to rot away. They must be looking at me as some silly small town girl who has no idea what it's like in the big, scary city and that is the most inaccurate assessment of me that I could possibly think of. Ten years of research and 8 years of living in Philly definitely gives me a pretty decent grip on urban realities.

That said, I am not looking for entry level; I'd consider myself mid-level ready to move into lower management. Because I've dealt with such a frustrating situation in trying to find a job long-distance, I recently quit my day job so I can freelance full-time and so I can go to NYC on a regular basis for interviews (or fly to SF if necessary). Quitting my day job was a scary decision, but I feel like I've been backed into a corner and it's the only way for me to pursue what I really want to be doing. I'm in grad school for a career that only exists in NYC, SF, LA and other large cities, so why recruiters would question my reasons for moving and not trust my judgment baffles me.

Why would a recruiter discount me simply because I live in the wrong zip code? But it happens. All the time. As others have mentioned, it seems almost like borderline discrimination.

Ask a Manager said...

CK, I've hired plenty of non-local candidates, so don't worry that everyone has that attitude.

That said, I'll generally focus on local candidates for easy-to-fill positions because typically they can interview faster, start faster, etc. But not always, and definitely not for non-entry-level jobs.

(Obligatory legal note: It's not discrimination in the legal sense of the word, as that only applies to discrimination based on legally protected classes, like race and gender.)

catwchang said...

I don't find what Anonymous says degrading at all, it's just how businesses work. Why would they pay to fly someone in for an interview or pay someone to relocate when there are plenty of local candidates who are qualified for the job? I do have to say it is extremely discouraging though when you live in an area with low employment prospects. I just recently started a blog about my experience about adding value to a liberal arts degree and finding employment. My most recent entry is actually about exactly this situation...moving to a new city without a job (for people fresh out of college). I thought this was a pretty useful article so I added it into my blog entry. If interested, check out

Shay Bapple said...

One thing that was failed to be mentioned is that some jobs that are difficult to attain because they aren't exactly growing from trees require moving in most cases.

My personal experience as a journalist is no different. College grads that finish school in big cities, like Chicago where I am, are almost expecting to have to move to a small market when looking for entry level work.

I was fortunate to land a couple magazine jobs here in Chicago, but am moving to San Diego to begin working in a couple of weeks because I want to relocate out there.

My most recent job at Consumers Digest had editors that had made stops from Alaska to Cali to Chicago. Or Houston to Ohio, then Chicago. Only one person working there had stayed in Chicago during their whole career.

Any publication or news station would expect people to move from market to market for employment in the media field.

I'm sure that this isn't the only field out there were potential employers can relate to this.

Also, I agree with being offended to the desperation to pay your own way statement, given the times we live in, there are lot of desperate people looking for work.

CK said...

AAM, thanks for your response. I'm still hoping to move to California, although I'm focusing on San Diego and shooting for late 2010. Right now I'm working on networking and planning a few trips out there.

I hope that the HR managers who see my resume share your attitude of considering a non-local candidate.

Brooke Lorren said...

I have to disagree that wanting to relocate reeks of desperation. People have plenty of reasons to want to relocate that have nothing to do with being desperate.

We're looking to relocate to Seattle to be with family. My husband is graduating from college. We have already been planning for the expenses of moving; it's a lot less expensive to relocate with a job in hand than it is without a job. Relocating with a job will cost a few thousand dollars (if you pack yourself and hire a few hours of help). Relocating without a job could potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars, since it could be six months or more, in this economy, before you could find a job.

Anonymous said...

I am 31, single, and adult enough to understand that moving is not for the faint of heart. Still, with little strings attached to where I live currently, my desire to move is based on two things (1. The terrible job market in Arizona 2. A desire to live somewhere else for a while).

Isn't it enough that I've been living in the same neighborhood for the last 25 years of my life? Is it wrong that I merely want a fresh change of scenery? To those who sit on their high horses in HR, obviously it is.

Maybe I'm backwards, but instead of assuming the worst, here's how I would view someone willing to apply for a job and move at their own expense from out of state:

1. Their desire to move is their own damn business.

2. They are paying their own travel costs to interview. The fact that they're saving me money in that regard makes me like them even more (team player).

3. The fact that they are willing to throw caution to the wind and relocate means that this person is flexible, adaptable, and versatile.

4. If they have the qualifications, I really don't care if they are moving in from out of state.

The last I checked, it's a free country (still at least). We're free to travel about it without being harassed. Since when should a person be imprisoned in their own neighborhoood for 30 years because some a-hole HR rep with nothing better to do sits there and tries to dissect someone's reason for moving.

Maybe I'm tired of living in a city with 117 degree weather 3 months of the year. Maybe I want to smell some ocean air from time to time. Maybe I think the live music scene in your city is better. Why the hell do you care??!!! Take my desire to spend a couple grand relocating and a couple months re-adjusting to your city as a compliment!

christie said...

Anonymous from March 21,

Very well said! I, too, have been (unsuccessfully) trying to relocate to California from the East Coast for a few years. Why? Because there are no opportunities for what I do and for what I'm sinking tons of money into grad school for in my small town. In fact, California or NYC are pretty much my only options if I want to actually use my graduate degree.

And since I've lived in the Northeast all my life, I hate winter, don't want to live in NYC, and love California (I go there, at minimum, once a year), I have my hopes set on that state.

But according to the first Anonymous, I'm just a desperate, clueless loser. But if they would just look at it from the other side, they'd see someone who has ambition, drive, goals and a clear perspective on what they want out of their career and life (hello, I'm in GRAD SCHOOL). And I've been planning accordingly, by saving money, researching, networking and furthering my education.

And I would think, to most reasonable people, this is actually a positive thing.

Anonymous said...

This thread is great. I've been trying to relocate to another city as well. My primary reason is so I can buy a nice apartment with amenities such as I will never be able to afford in NYC. There are other reasons too, of course. One agency suggested I try temping, but after considering it, I said no, because that's too risky and it doesn't offer benefits. I am a mid-level candidate with exceptional experience in my field. But I know this economy is also adding to the difficulty. I had two phone interviews with a company recently (both were with HR). We left off that I might meet with the HR person in a city in between since they have another office there. I was supposed to hear back last week but when I emailed her, I got an automatic response saying she was on vacation for the next week and a half. What's that all about? I think I made it pretty clear that I was serious about moving; even mentioned that I had already been researching the logistics and stuff.

Anonymous said...

I am also trying to relocate. I am a professional with experience and an MBA and am having trouble. No one even responds to let me know that they will only consider local candidates. I make it very clear in my cover letter that I can be there very quickly for an interview, and if offered a job I can start in 2-3 weeks (which is just as long as an employed local candidate would make them wait). I also state that I do not expect assistance with relocation expenses.

The sad thing is all the people I know that were able to find a job out of state lied. They used a local address, got a local number, etc. I can easily do this because I have tons of relatives living there, and it only costs $5 a month to get another number that will forward to my cell phone. But I refuse to stoop down to that. At some point the employers are going to figure it out of they are half smart.

Someone told me they used a local address but told the interviewer they had just moved and were between places, which is why all their experience was in another state. I guess that might be more acceptable.

Anonymous said...

I'm on the same boat. I am a recent grad from Grad School. NY and LA are my only options given my field of studies (Entertainment!). I'm more optimistic about NY because I live in Philadelphia and it is only 2 hours away.
This is ridiculous... I've actually stopped sending my resume and c. letters to these faceless corporate websites because HR people just don't know what they're doing. No seriously! People just don't know what they're doing especially when it comes to film, TV, entertainment etc.... Sorry if I'm offending anyone.
As of now, I'm dodging HR and trying to build a network.
Good luck everyone!

Anonymous said...

After reading these posts I can see why we have so many job problems in this country. What happened to the day when HR would just look for the best person for the job without playing god. What difference it make why they are moving or why they want the job. I have all the skills for the job, want to move out of state but never get calls or interview. How could HR expect a person to just come to the state or town to hang out looking for work. In my opinion HR is using their personal opinion on who should get considered. Look for the best person for the job and move on. It will all work out. Companies are missing out on a lot of talented people due to the HR department.

Whitney said...

I am looking to move to SF to finish my degree on campus, the plan was to move at the beginning of next year (2011). However I was informed that my hours at my current job will be cut, but they're not sure exactly when. With this news I feel that I am better off trying to find a job in SF now and get the ball rolling. I am fortunate enough to have some friends and family that live there and it isn't a very long drive (I'm in Southern Oregon).

Is it better to take some time out and travel down there and job hunt or to start applying via the web and go from there?

Anonymous said...

Im in Chicago looking to relocate to VA just because I am ready for a new scenery, a fresh start. I have submitted my resume day and night with NO response. After reading this site, I understand why. HR has there hands in the wrong business, stay focus on the candidate and there credentials not there location.

Brant said...

Well the problem I face is the fact that there really is'nt a great deal of jobs in my field in my state. When I graduate college with my Bioengineering degree, I will be hunting outside the state most likely. I suppose I will be using resources such as family in other states to help with the hunt but It does seem to be dauting, from what I have found in my research. There was only one open postion in the entire state of Florida that matched my search at

JUST 1! There was at least 20 or 25 in Cali alone, I don't want to move there but it is just one example.

Oh and the job that was in FL was a biomedical equipment technician. It really wasnt even in my field, wll it kinda was. I would have been overqualified and I would be only making about 30000 or less a year. How can I settle for that. Thats why my search will also encompass firms in other states. At least the east coast.

Then again I could imagine the East coast to be full of IVY leaguers and other sorts that will of course blow me out of the water, that and the Legacy born sons and daughters of Americas affluent will have most likely secured the good jobs.

Thankfully my degree is in engineering so the apotizm problem isn't that bisg of a deal (rich kids prefer not to work to hard in school and choose GREAT WORLD CHANGING majors like lol ,comunnication!)

Anyway what I am asking is what does it take to get in there and start working in my field, if it means I will have to move to a state that I know little about and being accepted by a person mile amiles away that has never met me?

please do feel free to email the answer . Its

badass2008 said...

Just looking for advice...I mentioned everything in my cover letter (local address, why and when I am moving, stated that I would move on my own expense, along with an immediate start date, even stated that I lived there at one point) but no such luck, no one has bit. My next option is to pick up and leave and take my chances without a job offer (I have family to stay with but not for long), but that might be disastrous. I understand that moving is an emotional journey and I do anticipate my share of homesickness and crying, but such is the nature of growing up.

Hopefully someone has a success story to share...I never want to give up on this aspiration.

P.S. I live in Hawaii looking to move to Los Angeles; not sure if this contributes to the lack of employers calling me back.

Chris said...

I graduated somewhat recently from college and have been seeking out-of-state entry level positions. Living in Northeast OH, there are virtually no opportunities for me in this area. I'm no stranger to long distance travel and have stated my willingness to relocate at my own expense in my cover letters. I'm mostly applying to jobs in DC and the surrounding areas but I've had very few bites thus far. I have money aside to cover relocation expenses and getting settled but I don't want to move without securing a job first. Granted I'm getting very close to considering it at this point. To me, having a willingness to travel at ones own expense to a new city for an interview and job shows initiative, not desperation.

The job environment is tough right now and I can understand entry level positions being more difficult to secure for out of state applicants than locals. That said, I don't think location should be used as a written in stone prerequisite by HR personnel when reviewing applications.

Nick Lacerenza said...

My name is Nick

I'm 24 and recently began my process for LP Nursing school. I live in NY and I want to move to Seattle. I agree with the people here who say its degrading to say that willing to spend my own money to go fly in for an interview is "desperate". To me, it shows initiative and shows I'm dead serious about wanting the job b/c I'll pay my own money out of pocket just to sit down with someone for maybe only 20 minutes. My LPN course would start in March 2011 and end April 2012. I know Nursing is a great field and I shouldn't have trouble finding a job but I definitely can't live in NY. It's too expensive. Sure, Seattle is a whole lot cheaper but the places I've looked at to live in Seattle would cost double EASILY in NY. It's seems to be a nice city and the surrounding towns and cities seem great. I want something different. I'm currently working as a Medical Assistant while living at home with mom so I have no expenses outside of car insurance and gas money. Thus, i'm able to save money and be able to move to Seattle if hired with ease. Good Luck to all that are in my situation or something similiar. I'm sure we'll get what we want!

Anonymous said...

Hey, glad I found this. So I'm from San Diego, been working in local TV for the past 8 years...and now I've decided to move to NYC in January 2011. Gonna stay with my uncle in Newark while I find a job/place, so I've got that advantage.
Trying to find a TV job out there. I totally agree that it's better to build a network. From my experience in media, mostly everyone gets in by a hook-up. I honestly don't know anyone that has just gone on a company's website, applied, and got hired.