Tactical Approaches to Close More Relocation Deals, Part 1

Oct 29, 2009

Relocation has become something of a nightmare for many recruiters.

The details, the whining, the demands, the questions, and the art of the negotiations can be overwhelming. Countless recruiters are having fall-offs very late in the placement due to relocation issues that they thought were already addressed. In fact, several recruiters and clients are swearing off relocation altogether.

But is that the best approach?

In this menacing economy, it is critical for your clients to attract top talent to achieve growth. Clients who once considered dropping relocation are now leaning on recruiters to take care of the leg-work involved in getting a candidate to sign on the relocation dotted line.

So where do you start? How do you proceed? Where can you get information?

You are a skilled recruiter, but ultimately there are certain things that may be completely out of your control. The most critical aspect of dealing with a relocation placement is making sure that you, your candidate, and client are taking the same steps toward success.

Establish the Information Flow

In order to help a client with a relocation placement, you must first ask three critical questions:

  • First, determine which relocation benefits are covered; get a policy snapshot if one is available. Don’t be afraid to ask this question and ask it early, and don’t be afraid to clarify what they mean. If your client tells you, “Relocation is covered,” ask what that means. Each person and each company can define “covered” in a different way. Don’t be surprised by a $2,000 lump sum for your executive when the offer is presented if you do not ask. Don’t make the mistake of pre-closing your candidate on a ‘covered’ relocation and end up paying for a move out of your fee to keep the deal alive. Inadequate and insufficient offers go out every day.
  • Second, determine whether your client plans on covering the taxes imposed by the IRS on the relocation benefits. If you are not sure which benefits are taxable to your candidate, take a look at the IRS website and publication 521 for clarification ( Most relocation expenses are considered taxable benefits to the employee whether they are paid to a vendor or the employee. If your client is reimbursing $20,000 in taxable expenses, but not grossing it up or covering the taxes, your candidate could be surprised at tax time as the typical tax impact is around 40% or $8,000.
  • Third, find out how they intend on helping the candidate move. Do they have a relocation provider or in-house person who counsels the candidate? Do they give a relocation lump sum and let the candidates fend for themselves? It is important to find out so that you can come in and complement what they are lacking in assistance to your candidate. If they do not have an agent taking your candidate around the destination area on interview, consider doing that to manage what, where, and how your candidate views the destination city.

Identify Objections

Now it’s time to approach any objections that the candidates will bring up, even before the telephone interview. Are there inadequate aspects of the benefits? Is the area known as a tough city? Is there a perceived prejudice about the area?

Answer those objections before you begin your search for the perfect candidate. Gather information about the destination area from cost-of-living information to school reports. Gather the selling points of the area and put them in front of your candidate. It may even be a good idea to find out something about the area that you like. This will help you get excited when you are pitching prospective employees about the position and the location!

Give the candidates a summary or spec sheet on the area early so they can put aside their perceived objections and move on or out of the process.

Tomorrow, in part 2, look for ways to handle common relocation objections.

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