The Growing Need for Candidate Relocation

Are you noticing that highly skilled talent is getting harder to find? As many staffing professionals will tell you, once we recruiters find the top talent you need to fill your open position, the competition to get these candidates to sign the offer letter can be a stressful situation.  For you as employers, this means that it’s time to consider recruiting for talent from ANY location instead of just focusing on the local area.  Just because the perfect candidates are hard to find does not mean that they don’t exist!

It used to be that relocating a candidate was only necessary in special cases. As you know, companies are in business to make money. Why spend it moving a candidate from far away when you can find one locally?  But sometimes, the pool of candidates in an area dries up over time, and the only qualified ones are already working and don’t plan to change jobs.

A few weeks ago, I spent two hours on LinkedIn searching for qualified candidates for one of my top clients. Normally, this would’ve taken me a lot less time and I wouldn’t have come up dry. But because my client was opposed to relocation due to the cost, I had to pass over some very qualified candidates who might have been interested in making a move for the right opportunity. This particular client has not felt the necessity of relocation for as long as I have been working with them, about 5 years now. But times are changing!

A candidate living in a neighboring state applied to my job, asking for a relocation package.  Normally, I would’ve skipped over this type of applicant, but I decided to take a look.  She was a perfect fit for the position!  I took a risk and pre-screened the candidate.  After speaking with her, I knew that she had to be submitted and that I was willing to fight for my client to at least give her a phone interview.  The risk was worth taking!  My client fell in love with her experience after a phone interview, flew her out for an onsite interview, and ended up hiring her, offering a good salary plus bonus AND relocation costs!  My once anti-relocation client is now offering relocation packages for future out-of-state hires!  Because I was able to prove to them the importance of looking outside the general area for qualified candidates, they decided that the money is and will be well spent if the candidate is a superstar.  In the long run, they are actually making money!

With the increasing skills shortage nationwide, I believe we’re going to be seeing an increased need for relocating candidates, especially in the STEM fields (science, math, technology, and manufacturing). As certain types of candidates become very scarce, what choices will employers have? You could keep waiting and hoping for an available, qualified candidate to emerge, try to poach one, or you can source a nonlocal candidate and relocate him or her to solve your problem now. The moment you opt for relocation, your candidate pool will open up significantly. (By the way, the 47th Annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey, conducted online between January 22 and March 8, 2014, found that 38 percent of 353 companies relocated one to nine employees in 2013. Over half of the relocations were new hires. Atlas is due for another survey soon–it will be interesting to see how the numbers have changed in one year.)

Yes, there are costs to candidate relocation, and certain risks (to give yourself a well-rounded perspective, read this article outlining the risks candidates should consider). But there are also risks associated with waiting and hoping someone local will quit his or her job to come work for you! As with many business decisions, you’ll need to weigh the costs and risks against the benefits of relocation for your unique situation. If the candidates you’re looking for are tapped out locally, you may want to consider the option of relocation. Bringing someone in from the outside can keep your business producing to meet your production deadlines now and improve your bottom line in the future.

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