Interviewing for LA position. Want to be in NYC. What to do?

I have 1.5 years of experience and am interviewing for a senior analyst / associate level REPE position. This role checks all the boxes for me except location. To remain anonymous and not give a way too many details, I've been hard pressed to find many other large-scale, well-recognized companies that offer what this particular role offers (at least in relation to what I am looking for). I can think of maybe 3-4 more, large scale companies that would fit my somewhat unrealistic criteria, but even then I'd have to get quite lucky for positions to open at those firms and for me receive interviews with them and move forward in the process. Point of saying all this is that I'm already somewhat lucky in the fact that I was able to land an interview with one of the 4 companies I was interested in. I'm interviewing for the LA based role. The firm is headquartered in NY and this LA team works directly with the NY team. I really really want to be in NYC, especially in my 20s, but also really want this role. Does anyone have suggestions on how to proceed here? Should I go through the process without mentioning NYC and basically interview for the LA role and then if I actually receive an offer, I bring up this desire of mine? I'm worried if I bring it up right now (in the midst of the process), they might axe me for a lack of interest and I wouldn't want to be taken out of the running.

Comments (11)

  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm
1mo 

I've been in this exact same spot. If they were open to you being in NY, they would say it in the job description or post the role in NY. They want someone in LA.

When I was your age, I took a great job in a city I didn't want to be in. The decision to take the job is still paying dividends today. I did 3 years there and then got the exact job I wanted, in the exact city I wanted, for the exact pay I wanted.


I think when you're 23-24 prioritizing experience is best. When you're in your late 20s or 30s, you can use that great experience to get exactly what you want in the job market. That's how I played it, but there's more than one way to get things done.

The job market is not good right now and we don't know when it will recover. I would take the experience and run

  • 3
  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
1mo 

Thanks for the feedback here. I agree with the route you took and if there's sacrifices that need to be made, then sometimes you just gotta take it on the chin and have a long term perspective. I think I'll continue through the process for the LA location and if I secure the job, I can then cautiously ask if there's an opp to move to their NY office after a couple years in the LA office. Good to hear things worked out for you and the decision you made paid off - reassuring to hear.

1mo 
teddybear2, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I am interviewing for a NY position but want to be in LA. Let's switch spots?

1mo 
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So, a few thoughts....

- I see no issue asking HR or other interviewers about the future ability to switch offices, or how much geography matters to the firm/team. I don't think they would disqualify you for asking, internal mobility is actually a plus, and asking/seeking shouldn't be looked down on. This assumes you would take the job in LA if offered and it must be in LA. If you would only take if NYC, then for everyone's sakes, tell them.

- Some firms make regional offices highly segregated and independent (this is not how you describe this firm, to note), and others are more HQ with integrated satellites and then some somewhere in between. So, if the firm is the former, getting transferred or moving could be like applying all over again and generally difficult. The latter could be as easy as changing your address to NYC (don't expect them to cover relo costs), especially if your role requires frequent travel between the two regardless. Tbh, you may not get tons of honest clarity during recruiting, but asking if there people who have moved back and forth is an easy question and maybe something you can figure out via LinkedIn or others.

- On net, moving to HQ is probably easier than moving away from HQ. If your work requires more and more HQ interaction, you will be there more often, and then just asking to reverse the travel dynamic isn't that hard. If you really just work/support the HQ team (like only visit NYC on a few major trips a year), then this will be far more difficult. 

- Personally..... I think, given all info, you will be able to engineer a move to NYC if you get the job in LA (it is possible they posted the role in LA but are totally agnostic about it sitting in NYC, my current role was like that, listed in a different city but they really just wanted a person in one of the main cities with offices, didn't actually care which). How hard or fast will be to 'engineer' this move, can't even guess, but internal mobility is far easier now than ever.  

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  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
1mo 

Ok, good to know. Thanks for the feedback. Assuming I secure the job, you talk about engineering a move to the NY office. however, that would probably take a couple years of me being in the LA office and then bringing up this desire of mine. Also, if I am to ask about the possibility of directly starting in the NY office, would you wait until securing the job or would you ask in the midst of the interview process? Regardless though, I'd take the job.

1mo 
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want start directly in the NY office, then you need to ask upfront and well ahead of an offer letter. This is as simple as asking "is it possible for this position to be based in NYC instead of LA". Then you can decide if you want to proceed based on how they answer. I would not go down the route of interviewing for an LA job and then try to get them to allow you to shift, if you care about it that much, you gotta go direct on that now. 

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
1mo 

That is where the dilemma comes in. I'm somewhat under qualified for this role (on paper), but have progressed through the interview well. To me, it is more important to secure the job (regardless of location). I don't want to show hesitation / lack of interest and not being interested in the listed location could be enough reason to put my candidacy at question (in my opinion). So yes, I'd be willing to take job in la. When it comes to engineering a move once I'm in, how long do you think that would generally take and is it too early to bring up 6ish months in? If it would take 2 years, then I'd take the job in LA knowing roughly in 2 years I can probably transition. If it would take 4 years, that makes me less certain.

Most Helpful
1mo 
redever, what's your opinion? Comment below:

A few points (please take in context and as in addition to the above)..

- It's up to them to determine if you are qualified or not, I wouldn't let that enter this thought process

- You have maximum leverage before you sign/accept any offers, once you accept, you really cannot (or really shouldn't) bring a costal swap for work location

- Asking about day one geo flexibility is perfectly normal, always has been, and in today's post-covid world, very normal... so asking "can this position be based in NY" is just normal discussion/fact-finding... Once you get the answer, then you can decide whether worth pushing now or not (hybrid time splitting may be another answer, this is if you can personally afford and are willing to keep to residences and cover some of the back and forth travel costs).

- The whole "how long" question really all depends on how they answer the question about geo flexibility and how the firm and your team operates... I mean 6 months, 2 years, never... I'd be purely speculating and this is something you can get a better idea by just asking. Side points.....

- If your team (and the firm) operate "nationally" and has people in both offices already (like ask, "is the whole team in LA or is it spread between offices?"), then this could happen, in theory, very soon (maybe at start). They may want you to "train" in LA or have some reason for that, but it might be as easy as securing a desk in the NY office and just packing your bags. OR... if teams are geo-isolated, you really would need to "internal transfer" and thus have to wait for two things... an open seat in NY and the willingness of LA to let you go. Promotions/team/role shifts would be the other way, but that would probably take the longest in theory.

- Note... if it is an "internal transfer" type situation, then interviewing with the LA team (who presumably makes the hiring decision) may carry very very little weight with the NY team, thus it could be like starting at ground zero in terms of "applying". Of course, with time, you can internally network with NY, and build supporters, and have them help "pull" you up. How long would this take?? Who knows... depends how much/how often you could network with NY people (and they have a need).

Bottom line, I see very little risk about asking about geo-flexibility and how the offices and teams interact, have that discussion while interviewing. You can even casually say "I'm willing to start in NY if that was beneficial or an option, and I am prepared to relocate at my own cost" (note, if you are in LA interviewing for an LA job, they are likely not budgeting for a relo, so saying you are not asking for one could actually give you better leverage in such). If they just say "we only have needs in LA" you can respond "great, I'd love to work in LA".

Final point, do not be scared (or worried how you stack up on paper)...... if having a discussion about swapping offices (now or ever) while interviewing is what leads to your being dropped from the candidate pool.... you were never going to get this job anyway! 

1mo 
bruce1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

LA is not that bad. Hanging by the beach for a few years wont kill you.

1mo 

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