Clients, Friends, and Colleagues,
I hope you had a great holiday and are off to a terrific start for 2017!
This month we are going to examine issues involved when new hires relocate to come work with you.
Below is question I often receive from firm owners seeking to hire new team members:
Challenge – “…I think this candidate can be a great fit, but they are not from this area, nor do they have any family ties here. I am concerned that if they are only moving here for the job, they are more likely to leave. Should I hire this person?”
Solution – The short answer is maybe. As a business owner, you are always going to have the risk that someone may leave your firm. And it is true that the risk increases when bringing someone new aboard who does not have a familial tie to the area, though it is not an assurance of a disaster, either. We have relocated many people for new positions and/or to start their careers, and have seen it work very well… and sometimes not so well.
Here are some things to consider to at least minimize your risks of relocating someone to join your team:
• Have they visited/vacationed in or near the area? If they are familiar with the area, they are more likely to understand what they are getting themselves into when it comes to climate, culture, and cost of living. For example, when candidates tell me they want to go somewhere warm and then proceed to list San Francisco as one of their top choices, it’s obvious they are clueless about the area, and we will not consider them. Take the time to help them familiarize themselves with the area, as this can help to screen out candidates who realize they might not really want to live there after all.
• Have they put together a budget? This is an exercise we encourage candidates to complete when seeking out a larger metropolitan area. The candidates that come to the table with this are much more serious about relocating, while those who don’t are at risk of underestimating the cost of living and being unhappy when they get there. And of course, it’s also good experience for a prospective financial planning career seeker, as they’ll likely be doing the same thing eventually with their own clients, too. The key point, though, is to try to avoid sticker shock with candidates looking at places on the East and West coast that are notoriously expensive.
• How do they handle the visits during the interview process? Candidates who assume and/or wait around for you to offer to fly them out for a visit may not be as committed. This is more of a general entitlement and initiative screening, but the candidates who get in their cars and make the effort to come visit you and/or offer to pay for or share in the cost of travel for a visit, tend do extremely well in their new location and position within firms.
Use these tips to help differentiate the serious candidates who can add substantial value to your organization, from those who are looking for you to finance their next adventure.
Remember, though, that with a connected world and transient workforce, people still don’t necessarily set out to stay with a firm for 30 years as did in prior generations. It might not be ideal, but somewhere between 5-10 years is a good target for firms to plan on. Remember the next generation of talent does not measure success on tenure, but instead on how hard/what they feel they contributed, etc. while they were there. And of course, even local candidates may decide to move on after 5-10 years, simply because they want a fresh challenge (even if they’re staying in the area).
In addition, remember that depending on where you are, keeping your search local may also severely limit your talent pool. In some cases, even limiting your hiring regionally can limit your talent pool as well. Maintaining a national open search has the greatest risk of candidates that need to relocate (and don’t decide to stay), but also gives you the largest starting pool of potential applicants.
Remember too, if you do decide to take on these risks, and it works out, you now have a success story that will augment your recruiting efforts and open any future opportunities to other nationwide candidates. We have seen this work especially well with candidates we have placed right out of school. They go back and tell their network about how great the location and the career opportunity are, which gets other potential candidates excited about your offering, too.
Stay tuned for next month’s article, a review of what candidates should expect during firm visits and the interview process, as well as an overview of what we are seeing firms provide in terms of relocation benefits.
Happy New Year!