"I am sorry, but I can't join this firm. My wife isn't comfortable with relocating". Does that line strike a chord with you? Fallouts for jobs that require relocation have proven to be a constant headache, whether it is an HR firm or a startup.
All the time invested, from generating the leads, conducting preliminary interviews, scheduling the main interview rounds with your client, and following up goes down the drain with that one phone call. What's worse is that this also strains your client relationships.
It's time to pause and look at the problem from a bird’s eye view. Is there a way to circumvent the incidence of candidate relocation fallouts? If not completely circumvent, is it possible to avoid them? Here are some startup hiring tips:
There's always a way. We've got one right here!
You could start by conducting a simple, internal study to understand the situation better. We suggest you get inputs from all the HR representatives who have experienced relocation lead fallouts. You could have a meeting with all of them. There are chances of it getting chaotic and loud, but as long as someone's penning down every relevant thing that is being said, all is well. You could send a quick mailer to your representatives for the same.
The main purpose of this discussion would be to get a list of reasons that have been given by the fallouts (Read excuses). One more hiring tip is that you could also ask for specific information. Include not just the reasons given by the fallouts, but also details like which city to which city the fallout was required to relocate from. There are many ways this list can help you in. First up, it’ll be possible to notice a pattern, if any exists. For example, a regular reason that leads candidates from the north refuse to relocate to the south is that 'you don’t get (good) food'. Identify what point in the recruiting process do these fallouts, well, fall out. It'll help devise a strategic method for nipping the problem in the bud.
Place personal questions craftily
The best tried and tested way of reducing the number of fallouts is making a standard list of queries for relocation candidates. Jot down everything you need to ask the candidate before forwarding the profile to the client. Mellow down the outrageous questions, but be sure to ask them. Let’s say you want to check if this person from North India is going to have food issues when asked to relocate to a city in Southern India. How does an HR representative go about it? Ask him if he's worked in that city before. If he hasn’t, ask if he'll be comfortable with the change in lifestyle, food, or other small but relevant things.
What really hurts an HR firm is not the fact that the lead has voiced certain reasons for not wanting to relocate, but the fact that they voiced their reasons too late. By the time they’ve thrown their hands in the air and shook their heads, your client is already sitting on the fallout’s profile. That is what we need to cut down on. So we ask them questions on the very first call itself. We give them a chance to voice their hesitation before you’ve forwarded the profile.
We’ve got a few suggestions / hiring tips about what you can put into the questionnaire. These are based on an internal study conducted by us at SutraHR. The relevance of certain questions may vary depending on the candidate / scenario:
1. What’s your permanent address?
We want to know what city the candidate grew up in, or where his family may be located.
2. Marital status (married/engaged/single)?
If yes, their partner may have a major influence over their relocating decisions. Also, check if the spouse is also working. Their location compatibility would matter in that case.
3. When do you plan on getting married?
The wedding bells will also announce long holidays.
4. Your reason for relocation?
A strong, practical reason will indicate that he is serious about the relocation.
5. Who will relocate with you?
The apprehensions about relocating will increase with the number of people relocating.
6. Do you have any children of your own?
Ask about the age as well. If the child is old enough to attend school, the candidate may quote school admission difficulties and related issues as a reason for refusing to join.
7. Are you aware of the cost of living in the city you may have to relocate to?
A gentle reminder that it will differ from the one he’s living in now and that they might want to look it up.
8. Do you have any friends or family in the new city?
If yes, a candidate would be more comfortable with relocating.
9. Have you worked in any other city?
Has he relocated before, is what you’re trying to ask. You have lesser things to worry about if the answer is a yes.
10. Can you check with your family and get back to us?
This serves two purposes. One, they sense that they can’t take this posting lightly and two, they do get time to consult. If your client wants the profiles on the same day, give the candidates a smaller span of time before you follow up. This way, you’re disarming them of the "My wife said no" excuse.
This questionnaire can also be sent via mail. The catch with mailing the questionnaire is that not all candidates may reply on time. Mailing the questionnaire is also redundant when it comes to senior positions. The most efficient and dependable method is to ask all the questions over the phone. Display copies of the questionnaire around the space from which your HR representatives operate. Let them keep copies of it on their desk so they could use it as a checklist. As long as your recruiters follow the method diligently, the number of your relocation fallouts will go down. Again, this is one of the many tips of keeping relocation fallout rates in check.
Feel free to share any additions you’d like to make, via the comments section below. We're all ears for suggestions and feedback.