[Guide] How to Convince Your Job Candidates to Relocate

Relocating For Job

When recruiting active candidates, you can reasonably expect that they’re willing to come to you to work. After all, they wouldn’t apply for a job with your company if they weren’t willing to work for your company, right? This has been changing in recent years with the push for remote work, but it’s still a common expectation.

The equation is different for passive candidates and candidates you specifically seek out. When you identify an individual who would be perfect for a role and approach them with a job offer – or at least the opportunity to apply – you need to deliver a compelling enough offer to get them to leave their current role, and come work for you.

This is fine if they live in the same city and the place they commute to is just next door. When the only part of their life they need to change is which parking lot they turn into, it’s pretty easy to offer a better slate of pay and benefits to compel them to work for you.

What about when you’re recruiting someone who works across town, in another state, or even in another country? They’ll need to relocate to work for you. That means you can’t just offer them a slight bump in pay and job title; you need to offer them a compelling enough reason to uproot their lives.

Many people are loathe to leave their existing social lives behind for a job. They may have friends, nearby family, children in a local school district who have friends they don’t want to separate, and more. There are a lot of anchors holding these candidates in place.

Justify Relocation

One of the biggest hurdles you’ll need to overcome is justifying why you can’t simply hire the candidate for remote work. Remote work was increasing even before the pandemic, which pushed it into high gear.

Justifying Candidate Relocation

Today, millions of employees consider the ability to work remotely to be essential to any role they accept.

“The future of work report by Upwork found that 22.5% of survey managers said productivity had decreased compared to 32.2% of hiring managers that said productivity has increased since their employees started working from home in 2020.” – Apollo Technical.

Some roles, of course, need to be handled in person. As one example, high-level scientific researchers need access to labs they can’t outfit at home, or million-dollar equipment that just can’t fit in a home office. However, for many roles, technology facilitates easy remote work, and the corporate justifications for disallowing it are slim.

There are certainly good reasons to bring some workers to a physical location, either because their jobs can’t be done remotely or because they need direct and reactive access to their teams, but it’s a hurdle you’ll need to overcome nevertheless.

Understand the Context

The biggest thing you need to do when enticing a candidate to relocate to your area is to understand – and help them understand – the context of their situation. That, of course, primarily concerns money.

The primary figure you need to know is the cost of living for your area and the area they currently live.

It can be a tall order asking someone to relocate to an area with a higher cost of living. Raw salary numbers can look great, but if your candidate’s options are either paying 3x more for a place to live nearby or living somewhere with an hour of commuting time each way, they take a significant hit to their standard of living.

In a way, cost of living differences need to be factored into your salary offer. It may not be explicit – you probably aren’t going to be presenting the candidate with a chart of the comparative cost of living – but it’s something you need to know about ahead of time.

On the plus side, if your company is based in a location with a relatively low cost of living, you may be able to get away with little or no bump in pay by pointing out how much cheaper it is to live nearby. However, this isn’t always enticing to your candidates, so be prepared to bump that salary offer up if you really want to hire this particular candidate.

Examining Cost of Living

Being transparent about your salary and the local costs of living is a critical tip for recruiting outside of your geographic area.

Remember, as well, that candidates in different phases of their careers will have different needs, perspectives, and concerns.

Always consider contextual needs. For example, a fresh graduate from a university will be more likely to relocate, less likely to have an established family, and may appreciate any amount of support, no matter how small it may be. Conversely, someone ten or fifteen years into their career, with a family that includes young children, will be potentially much harder (and more expensive) to relocate.

Finally, you may want to consider regional politics. Many people today are politically minded and politically active, and they may not want to relocate to your area for reasons that have nothing to do with you and that you cannot change. Be aware and up-front about this, as necessary.

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Offer Generous Relocation Support

It can be highly beneficial to offer relocation support when you’re trying to attract highly-skilled candidates to relocate to your area.

Generous Relocation Support

Relocation support packages can take many forms. In general, they should cover:

  • Easy reimbursement for moving costs and transportation costs. Your candidate will need to scout their new area to look for housing and likely hire movers or rent a moving truck to move all of their stuff, which can get expensive. You may offer a fixed budget, a stipend, or reimbursement up to a point. You may also have preexisting contracts with specific movers you will cover if you want more control over where your money is spent.
  • Gas and food money while the candidate is in town looking for a new home, scouting out the area, or just getting a feel for it. When you consider the average cost of hiring someone, adding a few hundred bucks to cover meals isn’t a tall order.
  • Coverage for transportation for hiring-related trips. If your candidate needs to fly in for an in-person interview, covering the cost of the flight and a stay in a hotel is hugely beneficial to their impression of you. Of course, modern video interviews help alleviate this need entirely.
  • Temporary housing costs. The current housing market is quite tricky to navigate. If your candidate needs to stay in temporary lodging for weeks or months while they sell their old house and buy a new one, covering it can help endear you to them.
  • Spousal income assistance. If your candidate has a spouse who will need to search for a new job, covering a few months of income for them to help ease the transition can also be beneficial.

I cover more of this, in greater detail, in this post. Relocation can be tricky to navigate and is very dependent on both where you’re located and where your candidate is coming from, so it pays to be flexible with what you can offer.

Assist with Settling In

Whenever anyone moves to an entirely new area, they’re bound to encounter some level of culture shock. It’s relatively minor when moving from Georgia to Texas, but can be much greater when moving from New England to California, from a small town to a city, or from north to south. The more significant the difference in culture, the more help your candidate will likely need to settle in.

Assisting With Settling In

You can offer a lot of different forms of support here.

  • Provide lists of restaurants and venues locally, preferably with reviews written by others on your staff rather than “tourist” descriptions of the venues.
  • Provide lists of popular events in the area, from concerts to art festivals to parades, so your candidate will have some idea of what there is to do in the area.
  • Offer “ground-level” tips for someone who might need the assistance. For example, “stay off I-27 from 3-5 PM if you can; it’s gridlocked” can be valuable information they wouldn’t find on a state tourism website or a local Reddit.
  • Consider providing links to various useful resources, including city-level social media groups and other venues where your candidate can get a non-company-guided view of the area.

You may also consider a full-on city guide or temporary local mentorship while your employee gets settled in. By providing them with a ready-made social connection, particularly if the mentor is also someone who had to settle in within the last few years and has a similar unique perspective, you can help reinforce their ability to settle in place.

Consider a Safety Net

What happens if you hire the candidate, assist them with relocation, and then they don’t work out? Maybe they just don’t fit in, hate the area, or find it financially untenable. Or perhaps they don’t like working for your company.

Packing Up Belongings

It can be tempting to include clauses in your relocation packages requiring repayment if the employee doesn’t work for you long enough. Unfortunately, these will cost you more than they would benefit you. You will find that turnover kicks up shortly after that period elapses or that many people will choose not to accept your offer when they see that clause.

“Another big fear and barrier to relocating is that if the employee fails, what will he or she have to go back to? Well, if the person is moving overseas, repatriation assistance is a good way to address this fear; if he or she is moving intra-company, you may be able to guarantee the individual their old or a similar role back when he or she returns.” – Recruiter.com

It might sound counter-intuitive, but in many cases, offering further support to employees who don’t make the cut can be beneficial. If your prospective candidate knows that if they don’t work out, you will pay to help them move back home or otherwise support them locally while they find their feet elsewhere, it can help them feel more secure in their decision to gamble on working with you.

Emphasize Flexibility

The most important aspect of relocation isn’t any of the above; it’s the ability to offer and customize any of the above.

Some people won’t need spousal support. Some people won’t care about your recommendations for local bars. Some people won’t be in a situation where the cost of living difference is meaningful.

The best thing you can do is ensure that every relocation support package you offer to any out-of-state or out-of-country candidate is customized to their specific needs. The more support you can offer for various aspects of relocation, and the more customized you can make it to the individual, the more they will feel cared for and appreciated. That alone is worth something, and the support you offer can help reel them in.

Another form of flexibility may be remote or partial remote work, flexible hours, and lighter responsibilities while moving and settling in. The stricter you are about getting them up to full speed right away, the harder it will be for them to settle in on time, and the more likely they will fail.

Flexible Working Conditions

When you’re hiring someone with the intent of convincing them to relocate, you also need to consider all of the standard aspects of hiring.

  • Is their job title a relevant increase or, at worst, a lateral move?
  • Are their salary and compensation adequate for their needs and desires?
  • Are the benefits you offer compelling for their family and medical needs?
  • Is the scope of their job reasonable and within their abilities?

Of course, these are all standard across hiring and should never be ignored. They aren’t specific to hiring people to relocate.

Do you have any questions about how you can convince your job candidate to relocate? If so, please feel free to leave a comment down below, and we’ll get a conversation started! We’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions and assist you however we possibly can!

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