I applied to a job in another city (another time zone actually) and after an initial phone screen, the HR person emailed me asking if I was planning on moving or if the move was dependent on a job offer.

Why might a recruiter (HR "talent acquisition specialist") ask that? How should I respond?

  • Is the recruiter an employee of the company or an independent agency? – user86764 May 24 '18 at 1:28
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    The recruiter is an employee of the company. – kyh87 May 24 '18 at 1:30

As with any other question from a future employer you answer truthfully.

Beyond the reasons stated in other answers, the recruiter may be assessing the likelihood that you will leave soon after starting. Generally speaking when companies are hiring, they want the new employee to work for them for a long time to be valuable.

If the only reason you are relocating is for the job, there is a higher likelihood that you may become unhappy with the city and choose to leave even if you like the job. If you are moving to that city for another reason, you are less likely to pack up and go as there is something else holding you there.

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A recruiter may have several reasons.

  1. To see if you'd require relocation assistance
  2. To keep you in mind for other opportunities in that same city
  3. To gauge your interest in the job
  4. The employer may have asked him
  5. He's a kook
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    My bet is on reason #1 above. If the OP is moving anyway then paying for relocation isn't necessary. However if the OP is not going to move there unless there's a job offer then the recruiter is trying to find out if this is going to come up later. – NotMe May 24 '18 at 1:12
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    6. The answer could give the recruiter leverage in negotiations a contract between you and the company. – user86764 May 24 '18 at 1:27

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