Having to convince a reluctant candidate to relocate to a new town, city or country for a role is perhaps one of the toughest negotiations that a recruiter may encounter. And at some point in your career, you will be required to negotiate with and encourage reluctant candidates to relocate themselves and possibly their families to take up a role with your business. It’s the negotiation that no recruiter relishes as it’s often an uphill struggle and there are many negative forces working against you. So, what are the key things to consider when trying recruiting someone who is reluctant to relocate?
1. Throw money at it. This option is not always available due to budget constraints, but the promise of a generous relocation budget is guaranteed to bring a smile to any reluctant expatriate’s or mover’s face. It gives potential workers immediate reassurance that they can “buy” or expedite their way out of any problems that may occur during the move. It will, of course, open doors and get you on to the negotiation table.
If you can’t wield a generous relocation budget before you, at least guarantee they will not be financially worse off than they would be had they not taken this assignment. It’s a simple principle to follow.
2. Advance their salary. Studies show that one of the main motivating factors for people relocating for a job is compensation; so, clearly a key way to convince a reluctant individual to relocate is to ensure there is significant salary advancement on what they could find if working locally or if not moving.
3. Career advancement. The study above showed that career advancement is the second most important motivator for employees to relocate. So, work carefully with the reluctant worker to shape the role during negotiations, by potentially adding responsibilities and scope where possible, to increase the financial value and career level of the role. This will be an important step in persuading the reluctant expat.
4. Offer spousal and family support. According to the Brookfields Global Relocation survey 2012, one of the biggest barriers to relocation and the biggest reason that relocations end early is due to the family not being able to adjust to the new environment. This is why so many employers offer relocating employees spouse and family support, which can mean helping the spouse to find a job and providing assistance and budget to assist with school selection. If the relocation is overseas this becomes even more important, and additional perks should be considered, such as language and cross cultural training for the family too.
5. Safety Net. Another big fear and barrier to relocating is that if the employee fails, what will he or she have to go back to? Well, if the person is moving overseas, repatriation assistance is a good way to address this fear; if he or she is moving intra-company, you may be able to guarantee the individual their old or a similar role back when he or she returns.
As you can see, convincing a reluctant candidate to relocate is about pushing several specific buttons, which in combination trigger their key motivators for relocation (career advancement and salary). This eliminates the key barriers, which are spousal resistance and fear of failure/unknown.