Tough Interview Questions - Are you willing to travel?

Following is a tough interview question:

Are you willing to travel?

Similar interview questions:
Are you open to overnight travel in your job? How much do you currently travel in your position? Do you do much traveling in your current role?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
Usually this question is asked only for roles with some level of travel. The amount of travel is typically defined in terms of overnight travel as a percentage of a 5-day work week. However, a percentage does not fully tell you the scope of the travel, since 20% travel could be one day a week every week or it could be an entire week every five weeks. Also, travel where you leave in the morning and get back that same day (even late in the evening) typically does not count as "travel" even though it is clearly travel-related. So the interviewer is checking to make sure you are willing to accept the amount of travel that is required for the role.

The best approach to answering this question:
Use this question as an opportunity to explore the specifics of the travel required for the role. If you do have travel limitations, state them clearly. If your travel limitations keep you from getting the role, so be it. If you have flexibility, state that you are flexible, yet ask questions to learn more about the scope and context of the travel. Sometimes travel can start on Sunday, knocking out the end of your weekend with your family. Always best to explore this information up front, although you will have the opportunity again if/when the offer is made to ask for more specifics.

An example of how to best answer this question:
"I am generally flexible about travel. My current role requires me to travel both domestically and internationally about 25% of the time. How much travel is required for this role? Where and how often?"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"As long as you're footing the bill, I'm there. See the world on the company, that's what I say. Kind of like being in the Navy, except you have an expense account. Besides, I would love to have an excuse to get out of the house every once in a while."

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!