What is your willingness to travel for your job? Our guide to answering this fraught interview question.
When it comes down to it, most people like to travel.
Seeing new places can be exciting — it can broaden your mind, open you up to new experiences, and give you the opportunity to take lots and lots of pictures you can post to social media to show friends and family how much better your life is than theirs.
Day 5 of My Round-the-World Trip: Valiantly kept my hat on backward despite looking directly into the sun so that I would still look cool in all potential pictures. My vision is ruined but I look incredible.
Thus, when they get asked if they’re willing to travel for their job, most people’s instinctive response would be to say yes. After all, who wouldn’t want the opportunity to explore a new place on your company’s dime?
But of course, that’s not all hiring managers are asking when they ask if you’re willing to travel. If a company sends you something, they want you to work, and you won’t always get to travel at times that are convenient for you.
So what are you really getting when you take a job that involves frequent travel?
There are two major kinds of travel jobs: the first are seasonal jobs, which exist only for a few months or even just a few weeks and which may require you to travel for the entirety of the time you’re working the gig.
The other kind of travel job is a steady, “regular” job that just happens to require its employees to travel for a percentage of the month or week. For these kinds of jobs, the amount of traveling that occurs can vary dramatically depending on the position.
“Look, Prudence, I told you someone drew a giant Bart Simpson on the side of Mount Washburn. I know. It’s really hilarious.”
Here are a few things that might be expected of you if you enter a job like this, seasonal or not, and some things you should keep in mind about them:
When it comes to actually answering the question when it’s posed to you by a hiring manager, there are a few things you ought to bring up — and some things you should just avoid entirely.
“With my giant oversized car, I find I can cover the distance of entire countries in no time at all, so long as I remember to make a ‘vroom vroom’ sound with my mouth.”
The reasons why the company needs for you to travel for your position varies wildly, and as a result, the particular travel experiences you’ll have could vary even for two similar positions.
It’s important for this reason to figure out exactly what sort of travel the company expects you to undertake before you get too far into the interview process.
“Hey Frank, come check out this crappy picture I took of of these blurry mountains.”
A few things you should clarify before you take the job:
Travelling is often one of the most exciting parts of any job that includes it and, despite the huge amount of work that gets compressed during these trips, it can be very fun if you’re adequately prepared for it.
When it comes to working travel jobs, you really have to be ready to go all in. That’s why it’s so important to understand what a company is asking when they want to know if you can travel:
Not only will it make you look proactive and interested in the position, but it can help keep you from getting in over your head with a situation you’re not comfortable with or ready to undertake.
Day 104: The monkeys that look like Dobby from Harry Potter have officially accepted me as one of their own. I think it’s because of my cool backward hat. Every time I take it off they try to kill me. I’ve been wearing it nonstop for three weeks now and require immediate rescue.
And whatever you do while you’re out exploring the world, make sure you don’t stray too far from the hiking trail. That’s how you get bear maulings, and those usually aren’t covered under company expenses.
Anyhow, best of luck to you! Here are some other links to help you on your way:
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