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VOL. 43 | NO. 46 | Friday, November 15, 2019

Some employers shy away from out-of-towners

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I’ve never seen a time in which we were more divided as a nation. Oddly, the job search also has become divided.

It is becoming increasingly common for certain jobs to cluster in large cities within the U.S. You probably noticed it when Amazon picked its new headquarters. The cities that made the list were the usual suspects, including Nashville. And, it’s the same for other big businesses. Many are located on the coasts in cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

I’m beginning to see a trend of job seekers looking to relocate to these large markets. Their long-term goal is to create career stability. They assume that being in a big city will make it easier time to find their next job.

This thought process makes sense in today’s professional environment. Many people switch jobs every three to five years. Forty years ago, most would stay at a job until retirement. Sadly, this is no longer the case.

But here’s an oddity: Many companies are demanding local candidates. You might even notice on some job postings the words, “local candidates only.”

I’ve seen many instances in which a candidate has a positive phone screen with human resources. In the last five minutes of the call, the company will realize the candidate isn’t currently living in their city but they plan to relocate.

It is not unusual for a company to end the phone screen and to reject the candidate on location alone. They will say, “We have enough local candidates. We don’t need to consider people from other regions of the country.”

At first blush, many assume the company is trying to save money on relocation expenses. But, I’m not sure that explains it. Even when a candidate offers to relocate themselves, companies don’t take the bait.

Some hiring managers say out of town candidates are riskier. The job seeker might not like the new city. But, isn’t everyone risky?

I suspect companies see it as, logistically, more work to hire an out of town candidate. You have to plan in-person interviews further ahead. Plane tickets must be booked. Hotel rooms must be reserved. The start date might be further in the future.

The candidate could move themselves first. But, quitting your existing job and moving to a new city where you have no connections is a big risk.

The cities I mentioned also are quite pricy. They aren’t a great place to be if you’re not going to have a stable paycheck.

I’m not sure what the solution, but, we’re one country. Landing a job in a new city should be easier than it is.

Companies, take more time to consider out of town candidates. Hiring managers, if your recruiter is mysteriously only presenting you with local candidates, find out more.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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