5 important considerations when hiring out-of-market candidates

It’s a global economy these days, which means that the best candidates out there for a position you’d like to hire may be, well, really far out there. Social media and professional networks can easily expand your candidate search nationwide (or even globally) – sometimes unintentionally, as friends and contacts pass along your opportunities. How do you effectively hire candidates from outside your own geographical market without spending a fortune?

Looking outside your immediate geographical area for candidates has many benefits. If there’s not an accessible wealth of talent, either generally or that meets your specific needs, hiring outside may be necessary. One way or another, it allows you to specifically target candidates with the specialized work skills and attributes you’re seeking. It also opens the door to welcoming different perspectives of diverse candidates from other regions, backgrounds, and cultures. Plus, it allows you to gain contacts in those other regions, which may be useful for business development and potential future growth.

Importance of job descriptions and job ads

Creating accurate, complete descriptions and job ads is important when hiring any employees, but is vital when recruiting out-of-area candidates. Although local candidates may understand the usual and customary responsibilities expressed in a description like “legal assistant, light office work,” merely listing a title and vague generalities about a job’s duties may not convey your actual expectations. Creating a comprehensive list of the essential requirements and expected duties saves everyone from miscommunicating and misunderstanding what you’re looking for, saving time and money as well as reducing the frustration of the hiring process.

Importance of a planned hiring process

While you can bring local candidates in repeatedly for multiple interviews over an extended period of time, hiring outside your region means you must be more efficient and plan your hiring process more effectively. This can involve asking applicants to provide more professional documentation at the outset (for instance, to include not only a resume and cover letter but also a portfolio, writing sample, or representative project) or asking for candidates to answer more detailed questions within or in addition to their cover letter.

Importance of technology

Adopting modern technology like video-telephone conferencing (e.g., Skype or Facetime) allows you to conduct virtual interviews that are more personal and illuminating than voice-only telephone interviews. Utilizing workflows to streamline and keep track of the interview process can help organize each candidate’s progress through the interview process, then collect, compile and analyze feedback data.

Importance of references

Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates and are contemplating making an offer, reference checks can be even more important for out-of-area candidates. Unlike candidates who have worked for local competitors or associates that you are familiar with on a professional and possibly personal level, outside candidates may have experience at companies or on projects with which you are unfamiliar, without the luxury of your own connections or knowledge bank. Spend time doing your due diligence during the reference-check process, confirming as many details as possible through your own research and follow-up inquiries with the candidate. Preparing detailed, insightful questions for a candidate’s professional and personal references can help you determine whether the candidate will be a great fit for your company.

Importance of flexibility

If you find a great candidate for a position in an out-of-area market, but are reluctant to spend money for their relocations and wait the time it will take them to move and settle into your area, consider whether their position can be done remotely. Especially if you already have a partially-remote workforce, adding a candidate as a remote employee may be more cost-effective. And, if your company is contemplating expansion to a location near or around that potential hire, your candidate could give you an advantage in breaking into that market.

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