4 Tips for Hiring Out-of-State Candidates

In this competitive employment market, you already know how tough it is to find the best talent for your company. Low unemployment rates and a shrunken candidate pool make the hiring hunt even harder. Portland-metro’s unemployment rate is currently at 4%, and the availability of tech talent is even lower. Talented candidates are being heavily pursued and are likely on many recruiters' target contact lists. They are receiving constant shoulder taps for lunch and coffee meetings, and their email boxes are overloading with job solicitations, especially if they've posted their resume online. Now more than ever, hiring requires looking for talent outside of your local community.

Companies must expand their reach and start connecting with job seekers across the US. Working with candidates outside of your region presents a whole new set of hiring challenges. How do you ensure that potential new hires are serious about making the move to your city? How can you successfully vet and land out-of-state candidates at your company? According to Clinton Brown, the VP of Executive Leadership Solutions, there are three key factors that can influence whether an out-of-town candidate accepts or declines an offer: salary, timing, and lifestyle. At VanderHouwen, we know these topics should be top-of-mind when vetting potential candidates for our clients and they are key to creating a positive partnership. When it comes to landing talent from out-of-state, consider these four recruiter-approved tips:

Recognize their motivations.

Why does your prospective candidate want to pack up their life and make the big move? As a hiring manager, it’s important to make the effort to understand why a job seeker is interested in moving and to gauge their level of determination. Oftentimes, you can begin to uncover these motivations through the common interview questions around their previous work history, life goals, and career plans. Consider how they address any of the following questions in your conversations with them:
  • Are they interested in your city specifically, or open to moving to different states or regions?
  • Have they had experience working or living in this city before?
  • Do their long-term goals align with some of the trends your city has to offer? Are they seeking specific up-and-coming organizations?
  • Do they have any familiar ties to the new location, like an alma mater or old friends?

Be transparent about your organization’s salary and benefits package.

If you’re looking to diversify your talent pool and attract quality applicants from new locations, it’s important to be transparent early in the conversation about what your company has to offer. Share how the local cost of living affects your employees’ salaries. Highlight the company-wide benefits you offer and how they stack up to other businesses in the area. Don’t forget to talk about the perks that your organization has to offer that make your employees’ lives easier, like on-site parking, stipends for their cell phone bill, a bike room in the office space, or your convenient location right on public transportation routes. These are unique bonuses to highlight that are tailored to your specific location, city, and work culture!

Consider a relocation package.

Offering a relocation package can be a great way to help motivate a candidate to accept your job offer and show your support through this big life transition. While it may be common for larger businesses to offer new employees the perk of a moving company, transportation, or temporary housing, work with your team to define what relocation incentives make sense for your company size and culture. Consider offering a stipend to help cover some of the moving costs, paying for bus passes or travel costs for the first couple of months. Partner with your local realtor for a complimentary house-hunting trip around your city’s neighborhoods.

Offer them support beyond the role.

Moving isn’t easy, especially across state lines. Accepting a new role in a new city is a big step and many people can’t relocate on a whim— with so many logistics including making arrangements to leave their current location while securing a place to live in a new city, meeting new people in the community, and finding the best commute to work, it may be easy to feel overwhelmed. Show candidates your support and set them up for success in their new city even before they accept the position by offering them a suite of helpful resources. Not only will it help alleviate the stress of moving, but it will allow them to start visualizing what living and working in your city could look like.

• Send them a welcome packet including resources, local meetups, and information about the city.

• If they’ve flown in for the interview, plan a tour to share your first-hand knowledge and show them what your city has to offer including restaurants, shopping areas, and more.

• In the interview process, introduce them to someone within your company that has also relocated, and encourage them to reach out to them as a source for advice and feedback.

• Provide them with a list of resources to help facilitate their move, like banks and credit unions, utility companies, pet laws, daycares, and more.

Talk about the transition.

The final interviews are a great time to start discussing what their transition plan could look like. Consider how you can support each other during this process. Be flexible to accommodate their needs while clearly defining your expectations. Keep in mind that the move can take up to four weeks and allowing your new employee some time to adjust to their new city will decrease the feeling of displacement.

Can they work remotely for a few weeks while they unpack? Could they start immediately but with a three-day week to leave extra time to settle in? Work together to start co-creating a transition plan that will benefit both your timeline and your new employee’s adjustment period. Talking through these details will start to bring the transition to life!

Don’t forget your recruiter. A recruiter like VanderHouwen can be your best asset for finding and hiring new talent from out-of-state. Contact us to learn more.