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My resume will clearly show that I have had jobs in four U.S. states and one other country. In other words, at least prior to now, when it comes to finding a nice job, I have not been concerned with casting a wide net.

Later this year, however, I will be conducting a job search with a very limited focus. My limit is roughly 70 miles from a specific dot on the map, or about a 15 county area with a single state.

My reasons for this may or may not come up in an interview, but if it does, I would like to be prepared. One answer I could give is:

I grew up here, and have a lot of friends and family here. While in my early career, I felt it was important to broaden my horizons and experience a variety of locations, I have reached a point where the idea of "home" has become more important.

This is the truth, though not necessarily the whole truth and nothing but. To get to that, I would need to add:

My elderly father is having increasing impairments regarding mobility. He is still able to live independently, but he requires a lot of assistance with larger tasks, like snow removal. The aid he is currently getting is not always sufficient. Being six or more hours away by car means I can only visit and lend a hand a few times a year, and I feel that I must be more available to him.

There are other reasons, like my current job rapidly going to the dogs, but those are irrelevant to this question.

On the one hand this might come across as a positive: What a nice guy! He cares about his dad and wants to be there for him. That shows dedication and loyalty.

On the other hand: I don't know about this candidate. He shouldn't have revealed such a personal thing. And can we trust him to keep his focus if he is spending so much time doing someone else's yard work?

Most likely, the interviewer's actual thoughts will be something in between, and just one thought among many other things discussed. Nevertheless, I want to strike a balance between being forthcoming and honest, while not causing unnecessary concern. I've got a couple more month before I hit the accelerator on this job hunt. What advice do you have if this does come up?

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    You do not have to explain your preferences unless the job you apply for is about to be relocated. And if then "I have family obligations" should suffice. – PM 77-1 Feb 25 '17 at 15:22
  • If it comes up (doubtful) - "It is time to settle down." would be another possible answer. – user45269 Feb 26 '17 at 0:56
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You are seriously overthinking this.

A 70-mile radius is a huge area. As far as I can tell, I have worked my entire 40+ year career within this radius and within the same state. And never once have I been asked why.

If on the off chance that this question does come up, you can certainly be completely truthful if you like. There is nothing in your real answer that comes across to me as odd, too personal, or would otherwise make me think twice as a hiring manager.

That said, "I like this area" is a reasonable answer - no need to elaborate.

Narrowing your focus will of course narrow the potential employment opportunities. But given your stated (wide) radius, that may not be a problem at all.

You may want to consider how you will answer if the position has travel requirements that wouldn't be amenable to handling your dad's situation. I know for me "no travel" has been an important factor in my job choice in recent years.

There are other reasons, like my current job rapidly going to the dogs, but those are irrelevant to this question.

That will most likely come up in the context of "Why do you want to leave your current job?", but as you say, this has nothing to do with how far away you are willing to work.

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The interviewer doesn't know what other companies you've applied to, and probably doesn't really care. If for some reason the interviewer does ask why you've applied to the specific location, I think you are better off with the first answer. It has a positive that it emphasizes that you want to stay in the area, which may mean that you'll want to stay at the same job for a longer period of time. Other than that, the second one seems like too much information and also reveals information about your father that he may not want to be revealed.

I still think interviewers are not likely to care about why you chose a particular geographic location, though.

Given your situation, some questions you should be prepared to answer are ones about work-life balance. The reviewer may want to know whether you can make normal (9-5) hours, want to have flex hours, whether you'll be able to work weekends, etc. Even if the interviewer doesn't ask, you probably want to know, and do not be afraid to ask them. Again, I would not go into detail, if you do not want to work weekends an answer of "I really prefer to keep a schedule where I have weekends off to decompress" is a legitimate reason. On the other hand, it may be worth your while to ask about flex hours - if your dad needs to go to doctor's appointments, it may be easier to have weekdays off so you can schedule the visits on those days.

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a 70 mile radius is more than reasonable. Travel requirements and relocation requirements for a position are normally clearly outlined and stated in the job order, as people who are willing to do so are in the minority, not the majority.

You don't need to go into any detail. If by any chance it DOES come up, a brief answer such as "I traveled more in the past, but I am looking to settle down" is a great one because the message you are sending is that you are a stable person who wants to be with them for a long time. That's always a good message to send. Don't mention "home" as you did in your question, it could be interpreted as you "settling" for the familiar instead of being stable.

Don't mention your father's health or anything irrelevant to the job. This should be a non-issue. Worse, it could backfire if they think you'll be taking time off.

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