Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Make Out-Of-Town Job Search Work

It’s hard enough to have to look for a job. And it’s downright daunting to have to do it from another city or state. But there are some suggestions from specialists that will make it successful.  

Chris Brown, director of HR for unified communication firm InterCall, and head of human resources for its parent West Corporation offers the following tips:

  • Openly declare your intent to the interviewing company that you plan on moving to said location regardless of a job opportunity or not (state that you excited about living there)– be specific when interviewing on what your plans are and when you can be at said location. If you can’t break an apartment lease till March and are interviewing in January – let the Recruiter now.  Recruiter/Hiring Managers have been known you wait, but only if you are honest about time frames of availability.
  • Tap into your local network, even if it’s virtually. Make an announcement via Social Media, state, “I’m excited about relocating to said location and starting my employment search now.”  It is said that 80% of available jobs are never posted. Participating in virtual networking events can help out-of-state candidates expand and tap into their networks to get access to that 80%.


  • Change your public presence to represent the new location – through LinkedIn, Facebook, and other Social Media. Applicant Tracking Systems and recruiters may have a tendency to weed out remote candidates if no relocation expense is provided.


  • Create the illusion of face-to-face interaction. Similarly, by offering to do a video interview instead of a phone screen, out-of-state candidates can create the feeling of a face- to-face contact while minimizing costs for prospective employers. However, be flexible on your availability to be on site for an in-person interview within reason, should the company want to see you for a face-to-face, you need to open your schedule up to be there.  Many times for relocating candidates, their ability to make themselves available, also gauges the interest on how serious the candidate is in being in the market.
  • Prepare for the video interview just as you would an in-person interview. Stay conscious of body language. Employers are able to pick up on professionalism and demeanor in a video interview, so it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can make a bad impression. For instance, show you’re serious about a role by making sure you’re in professional garb from head to toe—too many job opportunities have been lost because candidates are wearing pajama bottoms with their suit tops!


  • Just breathe. Interviews are nerve-wrecking as is, but being on camera can add a whole new level of stress. Changes in behavior show nervousness. For instance, if you use complicated sentences when you are comfortable, suddenly switching to one-word answers (or vice-versa) is a red flag for interviewers. Verbal slips like these may be an indication of a lack of confidence in your expertise or qualifications for the role.


  • Don’t waste time. Outline your goals and choose virtual networking events that match them. Look for events that will connect you with people in the industry and location you desire. Recruiters will be trying to gauge your interest in potential job openings via your logged activities during a virtual job fair, so stick to offerings and activities that correspond with your objectives.


  • Know the area that you are moving too (you should make at least a couple of trips while you are interviewing) – commute times become an determining factor in screening, for example if you are interviewing for a role in Chicago and the office is downtown near the loop and you are buying a house in a distant suburb that’s a 2 hour commute – you need to understand how that will perceived by the hiring company, especially if it’s in the office every day.  Many recruiters are concerned about the employee’s availability to consistently make it work on time – not knowing the area puts you a disadvantage.


  • Gently inquire about relocation expenses only deeper into the interview process, do not immediately ask up front (once again Recruiters can question the legitimacy of your movement), as you move through the process and ask for the salary range of the role, that is the most appropriate time to ask. ###






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