Recruiting and Relocation Collide


Employment Marketplace

 by Mickey Matteson, CRP

In the past few years you may have noticed more than ever recruiting and relocation have been on a crash coarse to collision. During the housing market "boom" asking someone to uproot and move to a new community for a position was relatively uncomplicated. Now it is difficult to even ask a candidate to consider a relocation position due to the housing market down turn. Candidates are falling off like leaves falling off trees! Is this happening to you? Are you swearing off relocation deals all together? 

Recruiters are working twice as hard and those whose industry requires relocation are seeing a large drop in desk revenue. Companies are hesitant to consider a candidate who is not local in fear of being "burned" as they have been in the past by employees who have to leave due to the inability to sell their home. Let's face it, any recruiter working on relocation placements is working twice as hard and probably feeling like they need a psychology degree to make deals go forward and stick.

So what has happened in relocation, the economy, and the housing market to get us here? To do a comprehensive comparison it is important look back at where things were during the last hit to the industry. After the tragic events of September 11, 2001 both recruiting and relocation went into a bit of a slump. Many left both industries in fear of the longevity of their careers. Then we experienced growth after the housing market boomed in 2005. So where do we stand today?

2002 2005 Current
Average # of Relocations per year per company 191.0 Average # of Relocations per year per company 240.0 Average # of Relocations per year per company 242.0
Top Reason for Reluctance to Relocate:
High Cost of Housing
60% Top Reason for Reluctance to Relocate:
Family Resistance to Move
67% Top Reason for Reluctance to Relocate:
Slowed Real Estate Appreciation
Average Cost of Relocation:
New Hire Homeowner
$55,212 Average Cost of Relocation:
New Hire Homeowner
$52,318 Average Cost of Relocation:
New Hire Homeowner
Average to Reject or Accept a Relocation Offer 16 days Average to Reject or Accept a Relocation Offer 13 days Average to Reject or Accept a Relocation Offer 19 days
US Average Median Home Price $161,600 US Average Median Home Price $219,000 US Average Median Home Price $200,500
% of Median Home Price Change Over Previous Year 9% % of Median Home Price Change Over Previous Year 13% % of Median Home Price Change Over Previous Year -9%
Unemployment Rate: National 6.0 Unemployment Rate: National 4.9 Unemployment Rate: National 6.5
Unemployment Rate: Associate Degree 5.0 Unemployment Rate: Associate Degree 3.9 Unemployment Rate: Associate Degree 5.2
Unemployment Rate: Bachelor's Degree 3.0 Unemployment Rate: Bachelor's Degree 2.2 Unemployment Rate: Bachelor's Degree 3.1
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 1.6 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 2.9 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 1.5
Consumer Confidence 85.0 Consumer Confidence 85.5 Consumer Confidence 44.9
*Source: 2008 World wide ERC® Transfer Volume and Cost Survey, National Association of Realtors® Market Forecast, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, US Bureau of Labor Statistics

If you think back in our country's history you will remember after the events of 2001 the year following was one of very high confidence in our country, but at the same time a feeling of security loss even within our own borders. This is evident by the low amount of people accepting a relocation, but high consumer confidence. The median home sale price also rose as people moved within their own communities but not across the country. The biggest reason for reluctance to relocate at that time was the high cost of housing.

In our housing market hay-day in 2005 the median home price had increase by 13% over the previous year, unemployment was low, consumer confidence was still high, and the largest factor in reluctance to relocate was the family's resistance to a move which didn't affect all candidates. Relocations were moving strong at 240 per year, the highest number since 1998.

Now everyday all we hear about is how terrible the economy is, the housing market slump, and unemployment skyrocketing on a daily basis. So let me give you a fresh perspective, something positive for a change. The average number of relocations now is 242 which is 51 relocations per company per year higher than 2002. The average cost of relocating a newly hired homeowner is $61,929 which is up $6,717 over 2002 illustrating that companies are paying out more relocation dollars. The gross domestic product (GDP) is down again to a lower level than 2002. In addition the median home price has slid back in many areas to a more affordable level and the US average has dropped to $200,500.

These are very positive aspects of what is going on out there and exactly what our country needs to start turning back around. If the GDP remains low consumer confidence will more than likely go up, which in turn would create more jobs and help the unemployment rate go down. With a decrease in unemployment recruiters will be busier than ever!

I know that it is difficult to stay positive these days, but it is critical to your success wherever you are. So when recruiting and relocation collide here are some tips to make your experience more successful:

  • Seek out housing markets that are still doing well and search for candidates there – these candidates are in a better sales position and more likely to relocate.
  • Insist that your candidates who own homes get a market analysis on their home to determine the most likely sales price, days on market, etc. before moving them forward in the hiring process – don't waste your time on candidates who might be upside down and expecting a buyout from your client.
  • Talk to your hiring managers in depth about their relocation approach in light of the market. If their policy is inadequate quote statistics and encourage them to adjust their benefits – this will help them attract more quality candidates.
  • Illustrate the difference between the housing market where your candidate is coming from versus where they are going to. If the market where they are at has seen a decrease in home values, maybe the new one has seen more which would result in a possible gain when purchasing.
  • Get as much information to your candidate up front as possible. This will help to address any hidden objections to the relocation and weed out candidates who are not serious about moving forward and SAVE your valuable time.
  • Rely on a relocation partner for help, and if you don't have one find one. This is their area of expertise and takes the non-revenue generating work off of your desk.

Our market is on the road to recovery. It is important for all of us to remain positive. Don't waste your valuable time thinking about the past and negative things. Forge ahead! In the words of Winston Churchill, "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." Is yours where it should be?

Editor's Note: Editor's Note: Mickey Matteson, CRP is an Account Executive with Recruiter Relocation. The company, endorsed by NAPS, specializes in supporting Recruiters through the placement and relocation process. RR helps recruiters, their clients and candidates prior to the face to face interview all the way through the completion of relocation. Visit or call Mickey toll free at 866-787-4949 or