Candidate Relocation: Special Challenges in a Post-Subprime World

“The offer is in!” That’s music to everyone’s ears. It means our client found the right candidate. It gives that candidate an exciting new option. And it’s great news for us, too.

But imagine if you made an offer (or found a job) that required the candidate (or you) to relocate somewhere unaffordable. Maybe homes cost 3 times more in the new area. Maybe there’s a mortgage underwater.

In recent years, this has been a serious phenomenon in the executive job market. It can kill a successful placement—or cost our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in relocation fees.

1. Figure Out What’s Tenable (Employer)

In the “old” days, relocating a candidate might have involved covering moving expenses and/or closing costs (on both ends). Now, our clients are increasingly considering footing the bill for what we call “loss protection benefits.” It’s best to figure out—at the outset—what you’re willing to pay.

2. Communicate (Candidate)

Candidates should communicate where they stand—early. If you’re being pursued by a recruiter, it’s helpful to let him/her know whether you own or rent your home. If relocation is problematic—due to an underwater mortgage or a personal situation—it’s best to reveal that…before any steps have transpired.

3. Do The Research! (Both)

Is the new location expensive? Is real estate robust there: do homes tend to hold and/or gain value? Is the job in a large metropolitan area? Coastal? Dense? Close to industry? Answer these questions first, so that you have a sense of context.

As executive search consultants, we do our best to probe and to educate. But when you’re playing an active role in an executive job search, following the above steps will help everyone to avoid disappointment.

Do you have an executive relocation story to share? We’d love to hear about it! Post your comment.

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