Several months ago, I wrote a blog post on the importance of teamwork when it comes to relocating new hires. As a follow up to that post, today I want to talk a little about recruiters and what they should know about relocation to bring their A-game to the table.
Recruiters typically focus on one particular aspect of an employer’s objectives; filling the seats. With positions filled locally, the primary challenges are skill set and cultural fit. But, when positions require a broader search for talent, a successful placement requires much more detailed consideration. We have seen a number of relocations fail over the years because proper consideration was never given to the following areas of concern:
- Cost of living – Unfortunately, in the past few years, the benefit of cost of living adjustment has been somewhat mothballed to help cover the added or expanded expenses such as loss on home sale, additional temporary living and a multitude of exceptions. Because the cost differential is not covered, little time is spent with a prospective employee on preparing them for the impact. For example, a move from a small mid-western town to a New England site might have a great appeal from a salary prospective. However, the sticker shock cost of living in the destination might create too much hardship in the long run.
- Family issues – Uprooting students is only the tip of the iceberg. Some children have special needs regarding educational assistance, daycare coverage and social networks. There may also be elder care considerations. If senior family members are in a care facility, will they need to be relocated as well? What about spousal or partner employment assistance? For a successful placement, getting the candidate to accept the job offer is only half the battle. The new employee will need to stick out the relocation and stay in their new role for a while to make it count. So, if there are any family concerns that can prevent a successful relocation, it’s best to know before the offer is even presented, let alone accepted.
- Upside Down – Although most homeowners today, have a pretty good understanding on their equity position on their home, there are many expenses such as commission, transfer taxes/fees and title charges that might significantly impact a candidate’s desire and ability to accept the relocation.
- Inadequate program (one size does not fit all) – Accounts Payable likes to know exactly how much money they will be spending on a move. In light of this, and with the company’s efforts to reign in expenses, some have resorted to lump sum payment programs. Essentially, they give the employee an amount of money based on an estimated average cost of certain expenses. This mindset is critically flawed, as a large portion of transferees are paid more than necessary, while others aren’t given enough. Additionally, most transferees do not have the experience in moving to properly manage the funds they are given. They spin their wheels and waste time and energy trying to make it all work. Recruiters should understand the relocation package before interviewing candidates so that they can have honest conversations about reimbursement when the timing is right.
- Cultural/Infrastructure issues – There mare be stark contrasts between the origin and destination cities. Events, gathering places, houses of worship, and even public transportation need to be taken into consideration.
Do you think your recruiters understand these issues? Better yet, do they care?
It’s a good idea to take a look at the motivation of your recruiters. Good recruiters will want to successfully place candidates for the long term, because if they do a good job you will retain them again. Unfortunately, there are some out there that just want to place and run. Here are some questions to consider:
- Are your recruiters purely focused on filling the seat, or are they invested in the longer term success of the new hire?
- Are there penalties applied against the recruiter if the hire doesn’t pan out (within a set time period)?
- Perhaps conversely, are there incentives offered to the recruiter if the new hire is successful?
Here is my tale of caution. Several years ago, we were working with a client that relied heavily on their recruiters in the relocation process. A transferee came to me with some very specific questions regarding their concerns in moving from western Pennsylvania to Connecticut. Unfortunately, the data available confirmed their concerns regarding affordable housing and other costs. When the transferee requested additional assistance, the client’s recruiter reprimanded my sharing these important statistics with the transferee. Within 6 months, that transferee had left the client and returned to Pennsylvania. The cost of the failed relocation was over $60,000, not to mention other internal costs, including the recruiter’s fees.
Although you may risk losing an otherwise acceptable candidate, it is most cost effective to make sure both the employer and the candidate have complete information going into the decision process.
Do you have any stories of relocations that failed where more information might have made a difference? Please share below.
Photo credit: cachinko