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BobOtis-HeadhunterBlog
Headhunter Blog Post by Bob Otis, ART Managing Director

Date Posted:
July 22, 2023












To Relocate or Not to Relocate

Seriously Consider the Pluses and Minuses of a Move at the Start of Your Interview Process

Many people believe that the grass is always greener somewhere else. Often certain cities, regions or countries become fad "fantasy" or "dream" places to live, not because one has actually been to those places and likes them, but because someone else has told us that such places are so great. You must always take into consideration how that location might or might not be good specifically for you, your career and your family --not just now, but five, ten, or more years from now. Because a friend of yours likes a place and has a good job there does not necessarily mean that there will be a wealth of opportunities for you or your spouse. You might be able to find the job of your dreams in your own metropolitan area, or you might be in an industry where all the best opportunities simply are elsewhere.
 

Relocation often scares people who have children in school. But children are amazingly resilient, and a broadening of personal experiences can prove to be enriching to their lives. They likely can make friends in another town, too. If one's spouse is happily employed locally, a relocation may seem like an unfair burden on one's spouse, but often, both spouses can find better opportunities if they investigate actual opportunities for both of their careers.

ART has had experience trying to find positions for two career families. Your opportunities and those of your partner or spouse might be far greater in another part of the country or world. The world economy is coming together in thousands of ways, in every town. The 21st Century holds the most opportunities for those with experiences beyond their local experiences.


Aside from the existence of career opportunities for you, there are a number of important things for you to consider when analyzing positions that involve relocation:

  • The weather.  Have you or your family members ever visited the location before?  Do you have friends or family in that area who could help advise you?  If there are climate extremes different from your own local climate, how adequately do you believe you could adjust? This may sound trivial compared to a job role and salary and company, but many people wish to move largely because the weather bothers them. If you relocate, you probably do not want to have to pull up stakes six months later because you had minimized this issue. (For example, Florida in the winter may be graceful and balmy, but it could feel very humid and hot in summer. Arizona or Dubai could seem to some an oven in August, while others acclimate themselves well to living with air conditioning for much of the year. Minnesota is a great sunny fisherman's paradise in summer, but in winter it gets so cold that you need a special heater to keep your garaged car's engine block from freezing and cracking.) Scandinavia can be glorious in the summer but grey, long winters could be emotionally unsettling to some. Hong Kong can be fun in winter but sweltering in summer. Air pollution plaguing bustling world capitals such as Beijing or Mexico City could be a problem for some people with asthma conditions.
  • Urban, Suburban, Rural. Do you or your family need to live in or close to a major urban cultural center?  If you choose a rural area, in the event that you lose your job, would you be able to find another position within a reasonable commute?
  • Housing.  Can you sell your house within a reasonable amount of time and at a profit? If you must take a loss, would it be offset by your new position's compensation or by an overall improvement in your standard of living?  If your house is hard to sell quickly, could you rent it?  Some people find this option confusing, but if your house is essentially imprisoning your human potential and your family's opportunities, this option might be a fast way to move on to a happier life.
  • Housing Differences: High Cost to Low Cost. If you are in a high cost area going into a location where homes are much lower priced, congratulations!  Do not be surprised, however, that salaries may average lower than your present salary. If you have some set requirement to be making a certain number of U.S. dollars, as opposed to South Carolina, Nevada, Maine or Oklahoma dollars --for a child's college tuition bill, for example-- you may find the lower cost area will not increase your salary unless you move your job title up a rank or two. Also be aware that sometimes lower cost areas are sometimes lower cost for good reasons: you might get what you pay for. You might not deem the public schools adequate, so you might have to send your children to private schools, which can be costly.
  • Housing Differences: Low Cost to High Cost.  If you are in a low cost or medium cost area looking at new career opportunities in a high cost area (such as Silicon Valley, Southern California, metro-New York or metro-Washington) you may be taking a huge hit in your housing costs, unless you are prepared to do significantly longer commutes or live in a smaller or older home or in a less desirable area.
    • Reasonable cost housing may in theory be found in these areas, but it may take work to find. One solution is to rent first, then look for a house after acquainting yourself to the area.
    • The rule is this: if you like a big house with a lot of acreage and good schools, do not expect to get that in these areas cheaply. A similar home in many parts of the United States might go for half or lower than the average California or Northeastern U.S. suburb.
    • The problem is that salaries in the higher cost areas are usually not anywhere near double what they are in lower- or medium cost areas.  So how should one go about a job search in more expensive regions? Be realistic, and proactive.
    • Do not avoid the housing cost issue until the very end. Do as much research about housing costs and local taxes or you might only waste your time and a prospective employer's time.
    • It may be that your long term opportunities will be far greater in these "power career centers," and that you might be earning a much higher income some day when you are in the right situation, but pound for pound, if you are interviewing for roughly the same job that you are currently holding, you will likely be taking a loss if a position is offered to you.
    • In too many cases, a lack of preparation or tendency toward wishful thinking results in failed deals and bad feelings between the employer and the candidate.
    • Employers try to take some of these cost differential issues into account, particularly if the candidate possesses special skills that are not easily found, but rare is the company, large or small, that is willing to offer double the going salary simply because the candidate cannot maintain his or her current lifestyle without it. The same employer is usually simultaneously considering local candidates or others with adequate and acceptable qualifications and more reasonable salary expectations.

 

PLEASE REMEMBER:

  • In any relocation, it is always important never to lose sight that every expense that you may believe is absolutely necessary for an employer to pay in order for you to relocate, is being added up in that employer's mind and is being tallied against the requirements of local or other candidates who might have qualifications as good as yours or nearly good as yours. And every hiring manager's budget is accountable to someone.
  • When considering a relocation and the costs that you believe an employer should pay, it is useful not to think of the employer as a faceless company with unlimited funds. Since the late 1980's, the days of a company buying a candidate's house outright and selling it themselves has pretty much ended, even for most in upper management. Most companies are glad to pay for moving expenses and temporary housing, but many are reluctant to get involved with the buying and selling of houses. A wide variety of fees, including broker fees and points, may or may not be covered.
  • It has become increasingly common for companies to set "flat rate" amounts for relocations, in which an employee is given a certain budget to cover the costs of moving, and fees. Sometimes small companies have great relocation packages, while some large companies might seem very tight in their relocation packages; other times the reverse is true. There are few rules here. Everything is generally decided on a case-by-case basis, always weighed against the requirements of your competition .

































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