Locations like New York and Los Angeles sell themselves. Their names alone are shorthand for a certain kind of lifestyle and a set of perks that appeal to just about any job applicant. For recruiters, these cities are gifts. Placing a candidate there takes finesse, but it rarely demands an all-out sales pitch. Less familiar cities and regions, however, often require recruiters to get a little creative.
In his time as a Procurement and Supply Chain Management recruiter, Andrew Jones has placed candidates in roles all over the nation. Predictably, some regions have proved easier to sell than others.
"There are a whole lot cities in this country," says Jones. "You can count the ones that sell themselves on one hand. Relocation is a tough sell under the best of circumstances, if the destination isn't a well-known, immediately appealing city it tends to prove even more challenging."
Jones has joined the Source One Podcast in the past to discuss the similarities between recruiting and coaching. On the latest episode, he looks instead at how placing candidates is sometime like working as a travel agent. Here are some of the tips he offers for encouraging candidates to recognize that exciting opportunities aren't exclusive to America's most exciting regions.
1. Do Your Research
The first step in placing a candidate is almost always conducting research and developing a genuine sense of subject matter expertise. No good recruiter would ever try to promote a position, organization, or industry without learning the ins and outs. They should treat locations the same way. Candidates will undoubtedly have questions about Cedar Rapids that they won't have about New York. "A great recruiter," says Jones, "will read what tourism organizations and long-time residents have to say so they can confidently answer these questions."
While organizations don't always do a great job of selling their locations, their employees could offer a wealth of insights. Jones encourages recruiters to consult with their client organizations. They should ask, he remarks, what made each employee take the position, why they've stayed, and why they'd recommend the business and its location to candidates. Conversations like this have helped Jones see the benefits of off-the-beaten-path locations, communicate them to candidates, and make successful placements.
2. Assess the Candidate's Pain Points
If a candidate is looking for a new opportunity, it's likely there's something missing from their current role. It's entirely possible they're unhappy with their location. "I take pains to find out what candidates are looking for," Jones says, "but finding out what they're looking to get away from is often even more helpful." Assessing a candidate's complaints about their current locale makes it possible to reverse engineer selling points and paint a new destination as exactly what they've been looking for. While Jones is careful not to stretch the truth, he's seen a little digging go a long way in inspiring candidates to relocate.
3. When in Doubt - Focus on Cost of Living
Ask anyone who works in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington what they'd change about their current position. Chances are they'll mention the immense cost of living in their home city. Jones elaborates, "Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. When I remind a candidate how much farther their dollar can go in a new city, it's wildly effective." Not everyone is moved by opportunities to enjoy natural beauty or send their kid to an award-winning school district, but everyone understands cost of living.
Subscribe on iTunes to hear the rest of the conversation.