You are hiring in a small-town but the talent is in a major market? Here’s what to consider to get them there.

Written by: Adam Lloyd

First, let’s keep this in mind so we understand the stakes. In 2012, the Fortune 500 collectively transferred or relocated almost 600,000 domestic employees in the U.S. The cost? Approximately $12,459 per move. Homeowners are to no surprise the most expensive to move and employees at the executive ranks skewed the bar higher. There is a premium on talent and it is in-high demand. This portrays talent as a commodity and it is in fact a commodity… a highly valuable and sought after one that will shape or hinder an organization’s vision. If you’re in this competitive game of shuffling people, how do you ensure you’re maximizing your relo-investment, attracting out-of-market talent and being a leader in candidate experience during this process?

Start by doing your homework. And by all means, know and leverage what your company and the local market have to offer. Some may have to dig deeper than others.

 Confirm the location.

If you have target-market flexibility be certain you have chosen the proper location. If plans are to create a market presence in South America, does it require having someone in the region or can it be managed from Miami? Weighing the costs, cross-border implications and quality of talent pools will lead to smarter hiring and financial decisions. Similar planning is conducted in due-diligence of acquiring a company… think of your potential hire as a new acquisition.

Research the competitive landscape.

Once you decide where you will appoint your next leader, you should know your direct business competition and the functional talent within a commutable distance of your hiring destination. Research comparable organizations (industry, size, culture) and talent within the function. This will net you two lists: your companies list and your people list. Pursue the desired individuals on your people list and research the companies list to identify prospective candidates. If the local talent pool is too limited, you are now part of the shuffle and relocation is your option. Explore larger outskirt markets then expand. For niche hiring you may be targeting specific geographies. If you are hiring an Oil & Gas executive, Houston will be your first stop.  If your organization has offices in any of the markets you are attracting from, leverage your local leaders as touch points to meet in-person with candidates. Front end preparation will allow you to set realistic and timely expectations and your brand won’t suffer from misrepresentation.

Know what you have to offer.

Often times, the biggest challenge lies in your prospect visualizing all that your company and the location has to offer. Notice I did not say “convince” or “sell”. If there is not a genuine interest you may have an immediate victory but not a long-term hire. The idea is not to persuade someone to move, however, present enough information so they understand all of the potential gains that meet professional and personal interests. The latter is often overlooked, but you would be surprised how a nice running path or good school district plays into career decision making.

So, what does your organization have to offer? Maybe it’s a culture that encourages creativity. The opportunity to implement a project. Being on the verge of an industry-breaking product or service. Life balance. Monetary increase. Reduced travel. Whatever it is, have these potential life & career offerings prepared for your desired future employee. Learn as much as you can about their current situation, without being off-putting, and then look for areas where your company can compensate. If they have achieved a high salary level but lack advancement, maybe your company offers a C level path and more enticing STI and LTI plans.

I recall pulling homes listings (per my candidate’s preferences), community events and regional data that was directly aligned to personal interests. Learn to listen. If your candidate has children, provide local parks and activities information for kids. If they’re outdoorsy, share the climate, terrain, local running groups, etc. Having a yard for the dog was one candidate’s motivator resulting in a move from Chicago to a rural town. To some, a lower salary for a quality of life trade is favorable. Quality of life is defined differently, learn to show comparisons. The grass is sometimes greener.

Talent mobility is more than relocating current employees to and from geographies, but also moving employees from company to company across borders. Great talent exists in all corners of the world. Invest in preparation and your candidate’s life interests and you will compete for talent in all of them.

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