Declining an applicant due to geographic concerns?

Thursday, September 18th, 2008 - career management, CV Writing, Job Application, job hunting, job relocation, resume writing

Remote Job Search

Hand Framed - Day 126

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Nechiele asks: Is it common practice to decline an offer of employment for a qualified candidate due to geographic concerns? I ask this because I have actively applied to several positions that I am well qualified for and have consistently been declined due to my location. I’ve gotten several ‘suggestions’ to outright lie and say I live in the area that I am looking at for employment; apparently that makes me a much more desirable candidate. That is an action that I’m just not comfortable taking. I am more than willing to foot my own relocation costs yet that fact seems to be overlooked more often than not. I am beyond frustrated to say the least. Any suggestions?

In answer:

Look at this from the employers risked standpoint:

  • They have 150 CV/Resumes for this open position
  • They have 10 highly qualified candidates
  • 8 of those candidates are local

Add in the current economic woe’s, and many companies are backing away from relocations due to:

  • Hardships in home sales
  • Costs of interviewing

But the biggest problem from the employers view point is that simply retention of employees is statistically better with local or regional candidates. It sounds like they have been burned in the past, either by quick turnover or a candidate accepting the position and then backing out before the start date. This typically occurs when the interviewer fails to determine the true motives of the job seeker, and might be the reason why the position is vacant to begin with. Also, many CV/Resumes say that relocation costs are not necessary, but then when the offer is on the table, the applicant asks for it.

Hence, what you are experiencing may feel discriminatory at the moment, but keep in mind that until your feet are on the ground in the community that you are seeking employment, you are not seen as a viable candidate unless you are totally outstanding. This isn’t true for certain hard-to-fill openings but generally, you are seen as too high of a risk.

My advice is not to lie. You need to make it very, very clear at the outset in your Cover Letter that you are interested in the job because to want to, and have already planned to, relocate to that area. If you truly do not need relocation assistance, then put in your Cover Letter and repeated in the CV/Resume that relocation costs are already covered and be sure you don’t ask for it.

Good Luck!

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