The Eagle Blog

The Pros and Cons of Out-of-Town Candidates

Eagle's Virtual Recruiter serviceDo you consider out-of-town candidates when screening through job applicants?  That’s the question we’re asking in this month’s Virtual Recruiter Quick Poll.

Jobs posting often result in a pile of resumes and the easiest way to start cutting them down is by eliminating those candidates who are not from your area.  It’s a strategy that makes sense if you’re recruiting for a junior position with a common skillset, but if it’s a rare job, you should expand your geographical search.

Here are a few considerations when you open recruitment to out-of-town applicants:pile of resumes

  • Screening takes longer: We can all agree that for every great resume, there are many more terribly unqualified ones. When you start looking at people from other cities, your applicants multiply and the screening process gets more tedious.
  • Interviews are more complicated: If phone interviews aren’t already part of your regular screening process, they’ll need to be included.  You want to make sure a job applicant has high potential before asking them to travel for an interview which raises another question — “Who pays travel expenses for interviews?”
  • The start date may be delayed: If somebody has to move, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to start tomorrow.  That can delay your plans but if you find a superstar, it’s worth the wait.
  • Applicants come at a higher risk:  The out-of-towner has more to lose so there’s a higher risk that they’ll back out.  You may end up investing a lot into the interview process and decide you like them only to have the candidate decide that they actually don’t want to move.
  • There’s still risk after you hire them:  What if you have to fire them? That’s awkward and can leave you feeling guilty if your failed employee moved just for your job. Even worse, though, you may end up keeping a terrible person on staff out of guilt.  On the other hand, a hired employee may also not adapt well to the new city and may want to return “home”.

The above points aren’t meant to discourage you, but prepare you for out-of-town candidates.  There are already talent shortages across Canada with signs they will increase, so you will need to open your search criteria at some point.  Regardless of your decision, being open will make the entire hiring process much easier. Make it clear in your job postings if you will or will not be considering candidates from out-of-town.  If you consider out-of-towners, provide information on your hiring process and ask them to clearly state their plans and expectations in their cover letter.

The majority of clients who use Eagle’s Virtual Recruiter service indicate that they would not consider out-of-town candidates, even when applicants are hard-to-find.  This makes for an interesting discussion. Do you consider out-of-town candidates?  If so, how do you manage the process?  If you don’t, why not?  We’d love to hear from you; leave us a comment!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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