Tough Interview Question - Are you willing to travel? How much?

Are you willing to travel? How much?

Similar interview questions:
Do you own your own car? Are you willing to use it for business travel?
How many nights per week are you willing to be on the road?
Is there anywhere in the world where you would not be willing to travel?
How much travel have you done in your life? Do you enjoy it?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
Some jobs involve an element of travel. It could be travel to different work locations or it could be travel as part of the job itself, such as travel to different client locations. The interviewer wants to know if you are open to travel and whether you are travel-preferent (some people enjoy the travel component of their work) or travel-tolerant (not necessarily enjoying the travel, but understanding it is a part of the job).

The best approach to answering this question:
If you are open to travel, say so and say how much, usually noted as a percentage. Travel can sometimes be difficult to quantify as a percentage, since it usually refers to overnight travel, with each 20% indicating one night of travel per week. So travel done during the day, but returning that evening is technically not counted as business travel, although the travel itself usually is covered as a business expense. Also, 20% travel could mean overnight travel once a week or a full week out of town every 5 weeks or a full month out of town every 5 months. So it’s important to ask for specific examples of what the travel will look like if you are agreeing up front to travel requirements for the role.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I do have flexibility to travel and have done so in my most recent role, which requires approximately 20% travel. How much travel is required for this role and what are some examples of the travel that would be involved?"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I have no limitations on my ability to travel for my work and I have done extensive travel to date, including my semester abroad last year. Can you tell me more about the type and scope of travel which may be involved for this role?"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"Well only if I’ve got a big fat expense account to draw from when I travel. Then I don’t mind, since I can pad in all the extra expenses that would make it worthwhile. Would I get to fly first class?"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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