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I'm currently looking for a new job. Basically the only thing I am unhappy about at my current job is the location. It's in the busiest part of the city that I live in (and I live in a famously busy city), and I want to find an area that's not quite so crazy. Other than that I'm looking to find a position similar to what I do now (basically a business intelligence analyst).

I've stuck it out for two years here, and I still don't like it any more than I did my first month, so I think this is the right decision.

How would it be perceived by recruiters/HR if I am honest about the reason I'm looking for a new job?

One the one hand, it could say, "This applicant is a good fit for this type of position, since they currently have the position and enjoy the work."

On the other hand, it could come across as sort of whiney, and not very impressive when I could be otherwise discussing my long term career goals.

Maybe this the sort of thing I can mention in an interview but should leave off the cover letter?

  • This doesn't sound strange to me at all. I interview people and have been told people wanted to move to bigger cities, and also that they wanted to move to smaller places. If this is really the only thing that you're not keen on about your current role then it only looks good for you. You like the work and have presumably been performing your role well for two years. It's obvious that you have a reason for wanting to leave; why leave it to their imagination and have them wonder if you're being forced out, or that you've had some other kind of dispute? – Ian Newson Feb 14 '17 at 14:28
  • If the new company is going to immediately assume that he's being "forced out" after giving them a reasonable explanation for wanting to change jobs, then that company is likely not a good fit, anyway. Unless they receive information to the contrary regarding his reason for leaving, why would they automatically not believe him? – Neil T. Feb 14 '17 at 16:02
  • FWIW, please consider that you have no guarantee that the new company won't decide to move their office space to that busy part of the city. If that is truly a problem, you may need to look for a longer move. – cdkMoose Feb 14 '17 at 17:33
  • Asking the interviewer if there are any plans on the company's part to relocate is well within bounds during the interview process, especially if you have no desire to relocate again. 15 years ago, I interviewed for a position with a company that had just been acquired by a national firm and they disclosed to me they were still in discussions about whether the position would be based locally. Six months after I accepted the position, the company announced the move to another state. I declined the move, because I had just refinanced my home. I did get a nice severance package, though. – Neil T. Feb 14 '17 at 19:05
  • @NeilT. Not sure if you're replying to me, but I'm going to assume you are. I'm not talking about a situation where someone has given a reasonable explanation (I consider 'I didn't want to work in that part of the city' as reasonable btw) but one where the interviewee said 'I don't want to answer that question' or 'no comment'. In that situation I might assume the worst. The poster hasn't mentioned what alternative they might take in terms of reasons for leaving. – Ian Newson Feb 15 '17 at 12:12
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Frankly, you don't have to disclose the actual reason you are looking for a new job, unless it was a reason which can be corroborated by your previous employer, such as a layoff or termination. I'm not advocating lying, but you don't have to engage in "full disclosure" unless you really want to. The fact you are questioning whether you should give the actual reason is probably a good indicator that you shouldn't.

You could say you simply wish to relocate and you want to find work closer to the area in which you wish to live. Your reasons for relocating are your own, and could be considered personal information you are not required to disclose. With that being said, I highly doubt anyone would try to dig any deeper, because of the land mines which could be there.

The real question you should be asking yourself is: Do you feel that the reason you wish to relocate is a good enough reason to do so? If you do, then it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. If you can find a job in an area where you would feel more comfortable, then that will only translate to a better work experience for you, and so on.

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    What if the company has multiple locations and sends the OP to a "less desirable" office? "Working in a quiet location" is an extremely important goal for the OP, so much that he wants to switch his job over that one reason alone. It is better to be upfront about your motivation than using "creative lying". – Masked Man Feb 14 '17 at 5:52
  • @MaskedMan You are assuming the company has multiple locations and the OP wants to transfer to one of those locations. The first sentence of the question is "I'm currently looking for a new job." I interpreted that to mean he will be dealing with recruiters and HR personnel external to his current company. If a transfer is what he's looking for, that a different question entirely. – Neil T. Feb 14 '17 at 15:58
  • @Neil I have read the question. By company, I mean the company where he is interviewing, not the current company where he is working. If the work location is an important concern for the candidate, I would prefer that the candidate tell me that in the interview. It may or may not affect my hiring decision, but I want to avoid such surprises after the candidate is hired. – Masked Man Feb 14 '17 at 17:10
  • @MaskedMan I would presume that the hiring company would disclose the location of the position in the posting whether they had multiple locations or not. I've been through many interview processes on both sides of the table and I've never been in a situation where I didn't know the location of the position at the time that I applied personally or asked a recruiter to submit me for consideration. – Neil T. Feb 14 '17 at 19:00
  • @Neil Yeah, but there is no reason why the company cannot ask the OP to work from a different location (within the same city) a couple of months later, or for that matter, ask him to work from a different location once in a while. (I have been through both.) This especially applies if the company provides a laptop. The point here is that if the candidate doesn't explicitly tell me that location is of significant interest to him, I would assume that he would be okay to work from any location within the city. – Masked Man Feb 15 '17 at 0:22

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