Attempting to recruit the best executive talent often entails extending the search beyond a specific geographic region. Many companies are open to allowing employees to telecommute, and for roles where there is extensive travel involved, it often does not matter where the person is based. As long as they have access to a good airport with multiple flights per day, it is irrelevant where the starting point is. However, in many roles, it is still critical for the employee to be based in a specific city, and therefore a relocation will be involved in the negotiation process.
In this article, we will share a few helpful tips on how to effectively negotiate professional relocation’s.
Understanding and Acknowledging Employee Concerns
Getting employees to agree to relocating for a job requires that you first understand the most frequent reasons that people give for declining such opportunities in the first place. Common objections for relocation’s include:
Moving away from one’s family and friends is a major decision that puts candidates in a precarious spot. The situation becomes far more complex if they have a spouse that works as well as children, because then they have to consider factors such as job opportunities for the partner, quality of education for the kids as well as safety considerations, standard of life, amenities, and more. It is not unusual for executives to ask for a move to be delayed until the end of their children’s school year.
Job relocation’s are considered more stressful than a divorce; add that to the pressure of beginning a new job and you face a serious hurdle in convincing your candidate. As experienced executive recruiters, we always make a point of touching base with the spouse to make sure that he or she is truly on-board with the plan. You would be amazed how many times we have reached out, only to find out that the candidate’s partner has no idea of the plan to relocate and when queried, the candidate then confesses that they had been putting off having that crucial discussion with their significant other, which of course only makes things more difficult.
Loss of Support Systems
Occasionally, the incentive of an increased salary or advancement in one’s career isn’t enough to help employees and their families deal with feelings of isolation, loss of support systems and the challenges of adapting to a different city.
While one spouse may place great weight on additional income , the other partner may place more significance on being closer to parents, siblings, etc. Having the opportunity to relocate opens all kinds of topics for discussion that perhaps were not ever previously discussed.
One partner can place the loss of support from parents and extended family at a far greater value than the partner that is more career focused. When there are health issues involved, leaving a trusted medical adviser also factors in.
Strategies to Effectively Negotiate a Job Relocation
The first step towards convincing an employee to relocate involves understanding, and acknowledging their concerns. You can increase the probability of having them agree with the relocation plans by offering enticing and attractive options, some of which may include:
We have lost more deals over this issue when it comes to moving costs and it is truly a travesty because there is honestly no reason for it.
If the company is uncomfortable with the cost of the move, talk with the movers, but not the candidate.
When a company is trying to negotiate what they will pay in terms of moving costs, all kinds of negative connotations come into play that are not part of the equation in any other component of negotiations….spouses feel that the company does not care about them as a family, etc.
Extend Comprehensive Support
Start off by alleviating the most common fears and concerns linked with relocation’s by simply acknowledging that there will be a shift in a family’s current support system, and offer assurances that the company is aware of this, and has a plan in place to offer support.
Detail all the relocation policies that will ensure a smooth transition and reaffirm the company’s support and commitment toward a successful integration process.
Expect to Provide Interim Housing
It is extremely common to have employees that are required to move for a role let their family stay behind to allow their kids to finish the school year, and to also wait to sell their house while going to the new location to start the new job. This typically requires the company to pick up the bill for interim housing.
Keep it Family-Friendly
Make sure to connect your candidate with a local real estate agent that is well versed in local living costs, crime rate, neighborhoods, and schools. Arrange to have your candidate and their partner meet with a knowledgeable real estate professional as early in the process as possible to acquaint them with the area. Candidates are much more likely to accept the deal if the company offers “reconnaissance trips” to get a good idea of the living conditions, schools, etc. It also helps to show off nearby family attractions. A minimum of 2 trips should be offered to include both the employee and his or her spouse.
Understand that asking a person to move their family is a vast undertaking that involves multiple moving parts. There are many external circumstances that need to be taken into account, so it pays to acknowledge this, and be prepared to offer them all the assistance possible. Flexibility plays a major role in attracting and retaining talent for an organization.
How a company goes about negotiating terms and conditions with new hires are always important, and these negotiations are substantially more complex when relocation’s are factored in.
Fortunately, the executive recruiting team at International Search Consultants has been providing executive recruiting and expert negotiation services since 1999. Their vast experience and industry specific knowledge make them ideal for companies looking to effectively negotiate relocation deals with new or existing employees. Contact them today for more information.
Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants and can be reached via direct dial at 888-866-7276 or via e-mail at
Anna Souers is ISC’s Director of Financial Services , and can be reached via direct dial at 800-450-3808 or e-mail at