September 11, 2019

Relocation Candidates: Steps To Ensure A Successful New Hire

by Mary Newgard

I’ve had insurance organizations describe relocation from one end of the spectrum, “We don’t trust candidates moving from out of town” to the other extreme other end, “We love a breath of fresh air” and everything in between. Opinions on relocation candidates is typically shaped by previous hiring history but no two situations are alike. I believe there’s a formula you can follow to vet relocation candidates. This, along with all your other interviewing resources, should give you confidence in the likelihood of a successful hire.

How To Pre-Screen Relocation Applications

Right on the application and resume you see the person’s address. They are not local.  Rather than make assumptions, respond with a message that goes deeper than, “Are you open to relocation?”. 

Dear Suzie,

Thank you for applying to the Commercial Account Manager job in San Francisco. I see that you currently reside in Denver. I just want to confirm that you applied to the correct job opening as this position requires you to live in the Bay Area. If so, I presume you are interested in relocation. Can you tell me more about where you are in the process?

  1. Are you just beginning to explore relocation and want to gain a better understanding of career opportunities?
  2. Are you farther into the process and committed to a move? If so, what is your relocation timeframe?

Questions To Ask During The First Interview

Healthy skepticism of relocation candidates is natural. The key to a successful hire is to never assume and broach the subject in the very first interview.

  1. Do you have any ties to the relocation area?
  2. What are you looking for in a new community?
  3. Are there recreational interests within your household that must be weighed into the decision?
  4. What variables need to be considered regarding geography? For example, is there another person in the household who would need to be in an area?
  5. What is your residence situation regarding ownership verse rental?
  6. What are your expectations on potential relocation assistance from the employer?

Provide Cost of Living Resources At The On-Site Interview

Continuously check in with the candidate concerning their expectations to be certain nothing has changed. Help them explore their buying power using cost of living comparison resources such as:

  1. Bankrate: Cost of Living Calculator
  2. CNN Money Cost of Living: How far will my salary go in another city?
  3. Cost-of-Living Wizard

Sometimes candidates believe a new employer will give them an offer that will offset the cost differential. Failing to provide them education and resources causes significant disruptions at the offer stage.

Iron Out Moving Logistics During The Offer

Once you move into the offer stage, schedule time to discuss more details regarding the candidate’s specific situation.

Revisit the previously discussed questions from above. Ensure everything remains consistent to avoid surprises being sprung in the final hour. An understanding of the variables involved in a relocation for a person is critical to serving their needs.

Lease versus own:

  • LEASE: Is there an early lease termination clause, and if so, what is the financial impact on the candidate? This could be offset in an offer by way of sign-on bonus.
  • OWN: Do you have resources to help the candidate sell a home more quickly?

Special considerations for the family: Significant other/spouse, children, For example, another career move, finishing out the school year, boarding pets.

Relocation assistance: Will there be any? If there is a big gap between what the candidate is requests and what you offer, it’s time to have a counseling session that looks at costs on a macro and micro level. Too much of a gap is a surefire sign the interview process has stalled out.

Trusted Resource: Schedule a visit for the candidate and their family to visit prior to offer Do you have trusted resources (realtors, property managers, educators, community connections and career counselors) who can share information on living in your area?

Post-Acceptance Resources

Introduce a Relocation Coach after the candidate accepts. There are several third-party resources that provide relocation support to candidates relocating short and long distances. Their service benefits include:

  • Work directly with candidates and family members to discuss the impacts of relocation.
  • Eases administrative burdens for candidates and companies funding relocation costs.
  • Saves companies and candidates time and money while also greatly reducing the stress of moving.


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