How important do you think relocation is when it comes to a candidate’s decision to accept a new position?
I’m here to tell you that however important you think it i – ¦ it’s much more. Relocation is often treated as a box recruiters simply need to check off a list, something akin to “are you a US citizen? ” It’s mostly seen as a binary (Are you willing to relocate?) but it’s actually a very complex factor and something that can be influenced by nearly every aspect of a candidate’s personal and professional life. Yet what really makes relocation a “gotcha ” moment is when a candidate ultimately declines a position at the final stages of the search because the subject was glossed over in the early stages of the conversation.
Here’s the bottom line: You have to know what to listen for with the candidate when it comes to the topic of relocation. It can be the deciding factor.
From the moment I start talking to the candidate, I listen for cues and gain their trust so I know how to advocate for them if relocation is needed. It’s 1000% more involved than simply checking a box off my list and it’s something I look for early in the process so there aren’t any surprises at the end. But don’t assume this automatically makes it a smooth process.
Most candidates have some sort of tie to where they currently live: kids who are still in school, religious affiliations, friends and family who live close by, etc. It could even come down to something as specific as the fact that their middle child is a gifted ballet dancer and works with a world-renowned coach in the area where they currently live. They may not want to move their child away from that unique support network.
While the candidate may not come right out and list these things as relocation-blockers, they’ll mention them in passing… and I’ll be listening. I have my antenna up looking for signs that reveal information specific to a candidate’s physical location. Listen first, then know when and how to dig deeper.
I’m there to help the client. And the candidate.
If my client doesn’t know about a hurdle that may deter a candidate from taking the job, how can they attempt to address it as part of a compensation package or offer? Often the simple fact that a client is aware of a particular challenge that a candidate will have after they move makes all the difference. If a candidate has an elderly parent who would move with the family to the new location, and the client is aware of this and provides highly recommended senior citizen community groups in the area, that instills a strong sense of caring and partnership and could make the difference to a candidate.
There isn’t always an exact solution but just having the conversation and making the effort can go a long way. The truly savvy leader will find a creative solution (not just money) to solve the candidate’s relocation concerns in an elegant way that will create a win/win situation. After all, the best way we can serve the client is by being an advocate for the candidate and being upfront about the challenges and opportunities of the job is part of that advocacy.
I can’t speak to how other firms do it but I can tell you that very little in my thinking about executive search has to do with checking boxes. If you’re ready for a level of personal attention that you didn’t think possible, I’d like to talk to you.