Should I accept an interview for a position in a location to which I would never (could never) move? Or should I state it in the cover letter or phone interview and risk being passed over by someone willing to relocate? The position is primarily project management with few, if any, direct reports (other than coordinating tasks with other groups). My intention is to request to telecommute from several states away (as the company website cites flex-time and telecommuting as benefits).
I realize that the career benefits sections of corporate websites typically are lip service, but should I try anyway? Please note that I work in an incestuous industry and would worry about being branded later in my career as one who “wasted the company’s time and money” with potentially unethical intentions.
Yeah, some things are lip service. Some companies proclaim loudly about all the benefits you’ll get, only they don’t specify that the “you” means everyone who makes $300,000 or more.
But, some companies are honest. When you are applying, it’s best to assume they are being honest. When you are evaluating an offer, it’s best to verify and get everything in writing.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with applying for a job that you would only accept if you could telecommute. But, this is something that you should mention in your cover letter, or at the very latest at the phone screen.
Frequently, I tell people to wait until the negotiation phase to ask for special things. That works best for things like, “I’ve already scheduled a vacation next month” and “I will need to leave work by 4:00 on Thursdays, but can work normally every other day” not, “I want to live across the country.”
This is a situation where even if the company, as a whole, supports telecommuting, not all bosses do. The hiring manager may be someone who just can’t handle a telecommuter. Or the job description doesn’t accurately portray the job (not unusual!) and you don’t realize that it would be critical to be on site.
Since there are far more qualified candidates then there are jobs, I would bet that this would get you eliminated from consideration. But this, actually, is okay. Because you don’t want the job if you have to relocate.
I think telecommuting is fantastic. I’ve done it. I’ve had awesome, family friendly bosses in a family friendly company. But, in my experience, it works best when there is some regular face time as well. I’d be very hesitant to consider an external hire for 100% telecommuting. I think getting to know people is much easier in a face-to-face situation, and would like any new employee to be able to get to know their co-workers before going 100% off site.
But, others may disagree. Apply, but be honest. I can tell you right now that if you wait until they fly you out there to interview before you say, “I won’t relocate,” you are going to be on the bad list.
And keep in mind, if you are super fabulous (and you are!) they just may go for it.