The Dreaded R Word. Are You Being Asked to Relocate?

You’ve just received a call about a job.  You are all ears.  After listening to the opportunity the recruiter asks if you’d relocate.  After pausing and feeling our blood pressure spike, your answer is “Ummm……..”.

Over the course of your career you may need to make the decision of having to relocate.  For some this decision is more difficult than for others and many factors need to be taken into consideration.  I’ve done it twice, once in being recruited from the Bay Area to Southern California and a second time as part of an acquisition to Boulder where I now live.  While it is energizing and exciting going to a new place there is nothing easy about it especially if you have kids.

The relocation game is not what it used to be.  For most non-executives gone are the days when you ended up financially whole after the move.  In addition, most recruiters are now asking for an up front commitment to relocate as a ticket to even being considered for the position.  This is a departure from five years ago when the discussion of relocation would come at the end of the process once the company decided you were the one.

What has changed?  The depth of the talent pool for one.  This gives the advantage to the company and they leverage it the best they can.  It can be difficult to convince candidates to relocate especially if the company isn’t fully established or if it’s in an undesirable location.

But, what does it say if a company is unwilling to first convince you of the opportunity?  I would argue they aren’t committed to finding the best available talent and it will eventually catch up with them.

When I was the CEO of a public company any discussion of bringing in an executive usually involved relocation.  This was because the type of experience we were looking for couldn’t be found in the local market.  We knew this and planned for it.  Our approach was to first sell the candidate on the company then address relocation.  Too often I see it being flipped around in the current market.  If you can first sell the candidate on the opportunity then many of the issues surrounding relocation seem to go away.  They become excited and sell their family on the idea of moving.  If you try and force a decision from the beginning my experience is that the candidate will take a glass-half empty approach and focus on the what-if-it-doesn’t-work-out scenario instead of the opportunity itself.

Remember, if you are getting interest in a position it is most likely due to the fact that you have a desirable skill set.  A company’s approach to relocation could foretell about how they really feel about you.


About Mike

Mike has been an executive in the biotechnology industry for the past 20 years. Mike is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, earning Bachelors degrees in Business Economics and Geography. Mike also earned his MBA in Finance from California State University, Fresno. Mike is married to the mother of his 3 children and currently lives outside of Boulder, CO. In his spare time Mike enjoys hiking, fishing, skiing, reading and coaching basketball.
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