Search Savvy: 5 steps to a successful candidate relocation

Jan 14, 2015

Avoid dropping the ball with that perfect out-of-town candidate.

I recently left a fairly comfortable existence in New England to relocate here to Fayetteville, Ark. the home office of the Zweig Group. I spent a lot of time mulling over the pros and cons of making the move and ultimately did so after taking a trip down to the area with my wife to visit and check out housing, schools (I have three boys under 10), and what kind of cultural life we would have here in the Northwest corner of the state. We were pleasantly surprised by what we found. The homes were bigger and newer, the school system was also very good, with a number of ground-breaking educational programs in place, and there was a lot more to see and do than we ever thought possible. The lower cost of living was a significant factor as well. These are just a few of the factors that played into my decision to relocate here. When recruiting the best and brightest people you may have to look outside of your marketplace and that will most certainly mean that you may have to relocate someone to fill that critical MEP or Landscape Architect position you needed filled three months ago. It can be very frustrating to not find people in your own backyard but with a solid relocation plan in place you can be sure that you will always be able to put your best foot forward when entertaining and encouraging out-of-town candidates to come join your firm. As a recruiter, I’ve dealt with having to relocate candidates frequently and no two relocation efforts are the same – but there are some simple things that can be done to ensure that you have a great shot at landing that “Hot Shot!” recruit. Here are five steps to a successful candidate relocation:
  1. Have a good Realtor on speed dial who knows your city well and can make themselves available to show your candidate, and if necessary their spouse or significant other, around town. Not the cheap tour, mind you, but the one that highlights why someone would enjoy living in your area. You are better off working with a Realtor who holds the CRP (Certified Relocation Professional) designation. When you choose the right one they can be worth their weight in gold… They can tell you what the candidate mentioned to them while driving around and you can learn even more about what they like and don’t like by the hours they spend with them in the car riding around. Invaluable!
  2. Make sure you prep the candidate about your area by sending them some information from your local Chamber of Commerce. I know a lot of this information is online but you can visit your local COC and pick out some choice items to share with the candidate and send it to them with a note in a nice express package. It’s the little touches that matter. I know it sounds like a lot of work but once you go over these steps you will find that automating them is fairly simple.
  3. Make the travel arrangements for the candidate’s visit as easy as possible. Find out their travel schedule and pull everything together for them (air, hotel, car) and send it along in a nice package with an itinerary. Another nice touch if the out-of-town candidate is not renting a car is to have one of the people in the office pick them up or hire a car service to do this. The more you lighten their load from a logistics standpoint the more they can focus on the opportunity before them.
  4. If a candidate is married make sure you include the spouse in the process and take some time to find out their interests. We do this all of the time for our clients when helping them hire an out of town candidate. We will go so far as to even line up potential interviews and discuss employment opportunities in their line of work. Again, I know it sounds like a lot of work if you are doing this yourself but you can always find the most resourceful admin in your office to help you with some of this or even a good local recruiter may be of assistance.
  5. If your candidate has children, especially older ones, don’t forget them! Nowadays it’s harder to get folks to relocate because maybe a musical or athletic program their child participates in is not available in your area. You may need to get this information beforehand to ensure that you can address these issues before they arise.
Relocating is a family decision. You may be offering a great opportunity, good salary, and benefits package but you will miss the mark every time if that’s your only focus when dealing with the perfect out-of-town client. If you need some help with this issue or ideas to help you overcome a challenging work location feel free to email me and I will do what I can to help you out. Randy Wilburn is director of Executive Search with Zweig Group. Contact him at or find him on Twitter at @RandyWilburn and @ZGRecruiting.
This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310), issue #1087, originally published 1/19/2015. Copyright© 2015, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.