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This question is for X, a very close relative of mine with around 20 years of experience as a software developer.

He lives in an Asian country Y, which he thinks is a "dustbin". And Y indeed is a dustbin. Roads are littered, fruits and vegetables are freely sprayed with formalin, people are dishonest and uneducated, traffic goes unregulated, nepotism's widespread, etc.

He works in a local IT company and his salary is more than satisfactory. But he still isn't satisfied with the people in the company and the country in general. Moreover, he's worried for his children's health and welfare. Living in a country so backward will become nigh impossible for the next generation. So he applies for a job in a top-class IT firm in Malaysia, a much more better and developed country.

They received his CV and were considerably interested in him. But they want to know more about X and so they give him a a set of questions. The very first one asks "Why are you interested in working in Malaysia?"

Food safety, healthy environment, cheap living cost, and better education system are primarily what makes Malaysia a good choice in his eyes for living and working in. He basically has no professional reasons to state. All he essentially plans to say in his answer to the question is, "Malaysia is a wonderful country, as opposed to my disgusting country Y. So I want to go to Malaysia and work there." In every single paragraph, he mentions one advantage of living in Malaysia and also mentions how Y lacks it. He comes off as more emotional than professional in his answer.

Will this affect his application? Will these trivial reasons be of interest to his prospective employer? If not, how should he properly answer the question without being dishonest?

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    "It's a country I appreciate and want to work in" seems a reasonable answer, no need to trash on Y, just saying that he likes the country should be enough. – sh5164 Jul 28 '17 at 12:49
  • Well you have diplomatic ways to say it... something like "coming to Malaysia has always been part of my life plan, and as this job looks like an amazing opportunity to do that" should be enough. They only want to know that X is serious about moving there. – Kerkyra Jul 28 '17 at 12:56
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    "Living in a country as retarded as Y" Are you saying the country is underdeveloped or are you actually calling Y retarded ? – sh5164 Jul 28 '17 at 13:16
  • @sh5164 Edited to clarify. – Soha Farhin Pine Jul 28 '17 at 13:20
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    I think leaving out "as opposed to my disgusting country" would leave a fine and satisfactory response. – PoloHoleSet Jul 28 '17 at 16:08
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Will these trivial reasons be of interest to his prospective employer?

These reasons are most definitely not trivial! It is very important to consider where you will be living, and from the employer's perspective, they want to make sure that you are serious about moving and are likely to stay. Most people who pick a place to live before finding a job (instead of the other way around) do so for personal reasons, not professional. It's usually best not to needlessly bash your previous location (be it country or company), so don't ramble on about specific complaints, but you should certainly still be honest.

He comes off as more emotional than professional in his answer. In every single paragraph, he mentions one advantage of living in Malaysia and also mentions how Y lacks it.

It sounds like you are spending way too much time answering this question. You should address the "Why do you want to live here?" question in one paragraph only. If this is going in a cover letter format, then maybe mention it once again at the very end when you wrap up. You should not be writing multiple paragraphs about how awful your current country is and how amazing Malaysia is. It comes across as desperate. Be short and to the point, and try not to inject too much emotion.

Malaysia is a wonderful country that I have always admired. It also has a much better quality of life than where I come from. I want to move here so I can make a better life for me and my family.

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His reasons are totally OK, but he shouldn't be so vulgar.

Malaysia is a wonderful country, as opposed to my disgusting country Y. So I want to go to Malaysia and work there

I think he should not be so negative; it gives off a bad impression of him as a person. The people who want to hire X are interested because he has experience in the country he lives in.

In my opinion, he should say that he wants a better average life but he shouldn't be so aggressive talking of Y. Or maybe he shouldn't even talk about Y.

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They've clearly identified the reasons why they want to work in Malaysia, so mention those. There's no need to compare it to anything, the reasons by themselves are good enough. "I would like to work in Malaysia because it has a good standard of living and [I'd like to raise my family there/I'm thinking of starting a family there]. Not mentioning 'country Y' where they come from isn't being dishonest, it's simply leaving out unnecessary information that the interviewer probably isn't even interested in.

Remember that it can be incredibly valuable to find out what kind of person a potential employee is so it can be determined if they would be a good fit. Not everything in a job interview is about checking if the employee matches some specific criteria like "X years of experience in Y, has worked with methodology A and B, is younger than Z years" etc.

  • Great insight to be had with this answer.... – Mister Positive Jun 28 '18 at 15:42
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"Malaysia is a wonderful country, as opposed to my disgusting country Y. So I want to go to Malaysia and work there."

I would rephrase that to this...

"Malaysia is a wonderful country with opportunities and culture. I want to live and work in Malaysia."

I would even go specifically where you want to live and work in Malaysia. Not just the country as a whole. I'm not sure how big Malaysia is so I can't comment on whether it is easy to relocate around the country.

No need to talk bad about country Y. Key thing to remember is never talk bad about anything. If you do, they'll think there is nothing stopping you from saying something bad about them.

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