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How to Identify the Best Candidates for a Relocation

Are you new to relocation? If you’ve found yourself sitting in the relocation hot spot recently, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with the many tasks and responsibilities associated with moving stressed-out families. We often talk about transferee relations and the transferee experience, including the challenges the moving families face, but we also know that it’s no easy feat for human resources to identify appropriate transferees and then move them seamlessly. One of the biggest questions we get from clients new to relocation is, in fact, how do I know who I should select to move? And, then, the inevitable, how do I avoid a failed relocation?

Well, before you get into the details of moving people, you have first identify your candidate pool. In some instances, this might be limited to as few as one person, with the specific skill set and

How to Identify the Best Candidate for Relocation

Photo by: Piotr Marcinski

knowledge being sought after at the destination.  This person may bubble up from department heads, or you may find new hires that don’t live at destination. This is fairly straight forward.

There will be times, however, when you will have multiple candidates. In this case, you will need to establish a pecking order of preference, based on anticipated cost, impact on their origin work site (if they are an internal candidate), the timing of the candidate’s availability and any personal obstacles that might affect or derail the process, such as:

  • Housing situation – Is you candidate a homeowner with equity concerns, or renter with lease obligations?
  • Spousal career considerations – Does your candidate have a working spouse? If so, do they need that income to support a mortgage at destination?
  • Children educational concerns – Are there good school options? Is your candidate apprehensive about moving children in the middle of the school year?
  • Public transportation – Is the candidate currently relying on public transit that does not exist at the same level at destination?
  • Extended family- Does the candidate have relatives, such as parents or in-laws requiring housing considerations?
  • Timing – School year start/end, graduation, and other events which might create delays
  • Cost of living differentials – Is the cost of living at destination too high?

While some employers do not put a lot of effort into determining these potential deal breakers, it really is better to consider them up front, before the relocation takes place. When you don’t know about potential pitfalls, and your transferee does not know what to expect, you will more likely to deal with numerous, unplanned exception requests, stressful moments or, worse, a failed move.

Once you have weighed the probability of a successful move and the anticipated cost, along with tax and gross-up considerations, you can better rank your candidate options. Even if the benefits you are offering remain unchanged between candidates, you will have a better understanding of the challenges they will face and what they will be asking for – and they will have a gotten a good look at which costs will be covered, and which they will need to absorb.

So, to answer the question above, the best way to choose candidates and prevent failures is to address the personal concerns of both the transferee and their family right away, before the offer is even made. It is rare for a transferee to look at relocating to a new city with complete enthusiasm.  Many look for reasons to say no, rather than explore all possible options.  The quicker you can identify the challenges and identify solutions, the more likely they will accept the relocation and get through it with minimized stress.

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VP, Client Services

VP of Business Development Northeast Region


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