Don’t Let Relocation Dislocate Your New Hire

By Cathy Ware Partridge

Imagine that you have found an amazing candidate with the perfect blend of skills and personality.  Hiring discussions are going well and the candidate is excited about the new role until – they hear the word “relocate.”

Are you prepared to talk relocation or is your discussion dead in the water?

Don’t Underestimate what Relocation entails

Just talking to a candidate touches one of life’s biggest decisions – a new job.  By adding relocation to the discussion you add a second – deciding where to live.  The conversation changes from the exciting job opportunity to one that encompasses the candidate’s entire life.  As a recruiter, you need to understand the candidate’s situation and look for a mutually satisfactory decision.

Set expectations

The position might have been open for months, but the candidate is not on your schedule.  Rushing relocation adds additional stress to an already stressful situation.  Frequently, a quick relocation leads to a “trailing spouse”, where one spouse is left behind to handle everything. Unless the candidate was already prepared to move, there are usually expensive and time-consuming repairs needed prior to listing a house.  Until the candidate has their family together, their mind is generally in two places – which is not a great start.  The more flexibility you show with the start date, the more likely the candidate will be to accept the position.

Do your homework, know your competition

Good recruiters and candidates know that hiring discussions are simply a negotiation – be prepared.  Does your company have a competitive Relocation Policy in your marketplace?  Relocation policies come in all shapes and sizes.  It is not usually an apples to apples comparison.  You need to be able to differentiate your opportunity within your industry. 

Be prepared with answers

The first place candidates look for answers is on the internet – which usually generates more questions.    If your company is working with a Relocation Management Company (RMC), have them start Pre-Decision Counseling.  The RMC facilitates the relocation allowing the candidate to transition seamlessly.   Using an RMC immediately demonstrates that the company values their employees – a true differentiator in today’s job market. 

Be prepared for basic relocation questions:

·       What are the benefits?

·       Do I pay or does the company?

·       What about my family?

·       What is it like to live there?

·       How does this affect my compensation? Taxes?

Are these questions that you can answer?  If your company is not already working with an RMC, you need to find internal resources to answer them.  The quicker you can answer, the quicker the candidate will proceed.

Distractions count

Have you ever sat next to someone who is buying a new house?  Distracted, aren’t they?  A study conducted by the IMPACT Group ( showed that the average employee spends one hour each day for the first six months addressing personal issues after a move.   Expect a change in the tempo of the hiring discussions once relocation enters the picture.    They will either pepper you with questions or be slow to respond while they do research on their own.  Be patient and use this as a chance to watch their decision making process, it’s a great chance to test their fit with your company.

Dollars matter

Candidates want to know how much it will cost them to move.  Relocation benefits vary by industry- from small lump sum to comprehensive relocation services.   Realize that the bigger and farther the move the more expensive it is in terms of time and money.  How do you overcome the obstacle of a relocation policy that does not cover all of the costs? Our team has developed programs that operate at no cost to the company and provide cash incentives to the candidate to offset the cost of the move. 

Don’t let relocation dislocate your next hire – Understand the candidate’s situation and anticipate their problems.  Be prepared to answer their questions or refer them to someone with expertise in the matter – either within your company or your RMC.  Know what it costs to move and balance their need versus your offer.

Finally, if you need help, please don’t hesitate to ask. 

Cathy Ware Partridge is a Client Services Manager with Interstate Relocation Services. You can connect with her at [email protected] or on LinkedIn