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How do I bring up relocation expense on my job interview?

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Dear Liz,

I have a second interview for a Director job next week, and at the first
interview I didn't say a word about relocation. I had just finished up a
one-year international assignment and so I assume the hiring manager knows I'm
going to need relocation assistance. That's why I didn't bring it up. I am
staying with friends now. How and when do I bring up the overhanging issue of my
relocation expenses when I go to the second interview next week?

Thanks,

Grace

Dear Grace,

Congratulations on the interview! You were correct not to bring up relocation at
a first interview. I don't recommend that you talk about compensation or any of
the transactional issues on a first interview, because at that early stage you
haven't established that there's even a mutual interest. Now you know - they
want you to come back. Now it's time to talk about what it would take to get you
on their team, including the relocation package.

Your interview is already set up, so you can talk about compensation there. We
usually recommend that you bring up salary with the person who contacts you to
set up the second interview.

When you're talking with your hiring manager at the interview, you can ask
"Would this be a good time for us to synch up on the comp package? I'd hate to
waste your time if we're not in the same ballpark." Of course, you'd hate to
waste your own time too, but we'll be polite and make it all about him or her,
your hiring manager.

Undoubtedly your hiring manager will ask you "Well, what would it take to get
you here, if we go in that direction?" You can say "I'm looking at opportunities
in the range of whatever to whatever." There's no sense talking about extras
like your relo package if your basic comp level is going to make the guy's head
explode. If the salary or salary-plus-bonus part, the cash compensation, goes
well, you can say "And of course I need to get out here." Let that phrase sit
there. You don't need to go into detail. Companies of any size have relo
policies.

If they balk at the idea of bringing you to town for an out-of-town job, run
away fast. For a Director level position, that piece of the package should go
without saying.

That being said, a friend of mine once got an offer for a VP job in Maine, and
the CEO told her that he wouldn't pay for temporary lodging. He said "We'll fly
you up one weekend and you can get an apartment, and we'll pay the commission on
your house sale in Chicago. After that you're on your own." My friend fled, of
course. The cheapskate CEO's relo offer made no sense at all. She's selling a
house, and she's supposed to find an apartment in one weekend and use it as
temporary lodging? And sign a one-year lease on the apartment? The nice name for
folks like that CEO is "penny-wise and pound foolish."

You are in great shape, Grace. If they don't get that people have to physically
move and move their belongings in order to take out-of-town jobs, they don't
deserve you. Keep us posted!

Best,

Liz

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