Recruiting Local Executives Is More Important Than Ever Before 

The longer I recruit, the more I have come to realize that, increasingly, executive candidates and senior technologists are resistant to relocation. Many leading candidates value the roots they’ve set down in their communities. They have friends and family nearby. Their kids are thriving in school — some of the special needs children do not do well with changes in their routine.

These candidates have built memories associated with where they live.

This is where we bought our first house. This is the hospital where our baby was born. This is where our kids went to school.

When you relocate, you lose those physical reminders of a life well-lived. When you move away, you spend less time with the loved ones you leave behind. You make fewer memories.

Turn around, and a decade has passed. Turn around, another decade — gone. In time, your relationships are quite literally more distant.

While I can and do recruit candidates nationally, increasingly it is more important than ever to scour the local market thoroughly for hidden top performers. The reason? Fewer Americans are willing to move. 

Few Americans Willing to Relocate

Recently, Axios reported that relocation has dropped dramatically. 10% of Americans moved to new places in the 2018-2019 year, just half the rate it was when the Census Bureau started tracking domestic relocations in 1947. In addition to the micro reasons mentioned above, the macro reasons are many.

Student Debt is a Drag on Housing Demand

Relocation is not as easy as it was before. Demand in many U.S. real estate markets has remained flat. That is due, in part, to the delay in the purchase of starter homes by young adults. They first have to pay off massive amounts of student debt.

More Americans Are Stuck in Place

As a result, young adults are less able to buy. Older adults are less able to sell. Consequently, many Americans are stuck in place.

Moreover, while jobs were pretty interchangeable a few decades ago, now they are more specialized and concentrated in specific regions. There, the cost of housing has skyrocketed. Even with generous compensation packages, many candidates cannot afford to maintain their current standard of living with a move to San Francisco or New York.

How to Uncover More Local Candidates

Fortunately, there are more top-performing candidates living within commuting distance than most companies realize. I head a search firm that takes a robust, investigative approach to executive search.

We regularly uncover dream candidates that were missed by other search firms. We do so by going into target companies, mapping reporting relationships, and building org charts as we go. That is how we ensure we leave no stone unturned and no viable candidate unrecruited.

In other words, hammering away at LinkedIn Recruiter searches and googling for candidates misses candidates. That kind of research isn’t designed to answer the question, “do we have everyone”. Structure your research to answer that key question and you will uncover rockstars.

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