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Relocating Candidates

Should You Offer a Relocation Package?

It’s a tough decision – do you offer a relocation package to a candidate?

You’ve sifted through the resumes and LinkedIn profiles, interviewed the best possible candidates and you’ve zeroed in on the person you want. The only problem is they live out of town, way out of town. But you’re convinced this is the right person for the job and now you have to ask – to relocate or not to relocate? – that is the question.

The Potential Costs and Risks of a Relocation Package

When it comes to determining what’s best for relocation packages and strategies, in addition to the possible benefits, you must also consider the negative possibilities.  Every situation is uniquely different and represents its own set of specific challenges but let’s take a closer look at what you need to consider.

Welcome, that’s right, welcome to the official compensation negotiation period. Before you offer a relocation package It’s time to forecast and predict your costs.

First, you have to perform a salary or compensation survey to determine if a cost of living adjustment is needed; for instance $65,000.00 does not stretch as far in San Francisco, CA as it does in Memphis, TN.

relocation packageNext, relocation can be substantial and go beyond the initial compensation package; there are additional hidden costs to consider, for instance:

  1. Will they need moving assistance?
  2. Do they need employment for their spouse?
  3. Do they need to sell their current home?
  4. Do they need support for childcare?

When you ask a person to relocate for your company, moving assistance should come along with it – it’s like a date – if you ask, you pay! Am I right? But ultimately you have to decide what to and what not to offer.

You could take a hard stance and not offer anything except the job, however you would also be taking a huge gamble and the candidate will probably turn you down. Then it’s back to the drawing board – the candidate pool.  Let’s be honest, if you like the person enough, you should offer to help with the relocation expenses.

The great recession is coming to an end, albeit slowly,  as of March 2013 unemployment is 7.7% in America, the lowest in nearly 5 years, the point being – jobs are coming back. Job seekers are moving around to find the best opportunities; employers you can no longer offer recession wages and benefits in hopes of attracting the best available workers.

Some companies are able to offer childcare support and even employment opportunities to the spouses of top candidate whom they wish to relocate. Remember we are talking about TOP talent, so this person is probably well-sought after, and if you want them in your organization you need to make a competitive offer with great worklife benefits or you’ll just have to settle for your 2nd choice.


Be Creative

If you can’t offer spousal employment, maybe a one-time signing bonus or some placement services to assist with finding employment or even some great work life flex benefits to ease the stress of the move.

Here are a few unpredictable things that could happen:

  1. The candidate does not like the new city and gets home sick.
  2. The candidate does not perform well and has to be terminated.
  3. After relocating, the candidate decides they want to pursue other job opportunities.

To safeguard and mitigate your risk, you need an employment contract. This contract needs a non-compete clause, a confidentiality statement, and reimbursement metrics so you aren’t holding the bag and a buyout provision. Your HR and legal department should be able to construct a contract which outlines the duration and expectations which would allow your organization to recoup a return on its relocation investment.

Relocation packages are valuable recruiting tools. As a company you want to be known as place that values great employees; an employer that takes care of its people and pays for performance. You don’t want to attract entitled workers looking to take advantage of your benefits – like most things in recruiting there are no easy answers. It’s comes down to your company needs and image.  When creating relocation packages assess the risks and costs – weigh the pros and cons – and be flexible but not gullible.


chris fields - relocation packageChris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work. Connect with Chris via email at

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Chris Fields

Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who blogs and dispenses great (not just good) advice at Cost of Work & ResumeCrusade.