So you’ve found the perfect candidate for your new hire. They have the right set of skills, fit in well with your culture, and have the ambition to succeed. But despite these traits, they may not be able to work for you because the location of your organisation is a limiting factor.

In fact, it is estimated that 95% of qualified candidates are restricted to assessing due to their geographical considerations, including:

  • Commuting time or distance of your workplace.
  • Not willing or able to relocate to the job location due to relocation costs, living preferences, cost of living, or family considerations.
  • Potential immigration/ visa issues.

Giving in to these challenges and restricting recruiting to your location has the potential to have adverse effects on company performance. Sure it might not be an issue for a SME in Auckland to access a talent pool with suitable candidates, but on a larger scale the problem becomes apparent.

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Take rugby in New Zealand as an example and please forgive me for using sport as an analogy. In 2016 the Wellington Hurricanes won the Super Rugby competition deeming themselves at that point as the best regional side in the Southern hemisphere, yet the side only consists of a handful of local players because it is recognised that by only considering hiring local from a region that consists of 5% of the total population, there is no way to can claim to only sign top talent and sustain long-term success.

Whether your talent pool is big or small, you need to convince people that to apply and want to work for your organisation. To put it simply, the perceived benefits need to outweigh the risks involved in such a decision and the unknowns involved with moving to a new town, city, or even country can be even more daunting. To succeed, candidates need to be able to go beyond a job description and visualise the work environment and make sure it is one they can thrive in.

If you want to make a difference as a recruiter, you need to acknowledge any low-cost strategies that allow you to substantially increase the size of the qualified talent pool; and yes, I’m talking about remote work. By all means its no new concept, but whether its trust issues or perceived as a risk, many organisations still prefer employees to work within the same 4 walls everyday.

Some of you reading this will be skeptical from the moment remote working was mentioned, and I can understand why as while it may not be a suitable option for many organisations, it does present itself as a lucrative alternative to attracting talented candidates from a wider area. Remote working also allows some candidates to overcome some of the challenges listed above and remove geographic location as a boundary.

For many candidates the offer of remote working may appeal instantly because it won’t impact their current situation, but it is important to also consider how it may affect their life from that point forward. Are they happy to isolate themselves and only come in to the office and interact with other employees on occasion? Will they be able to perform to the required standard autonomously? There are an endless number of scenarios where you could argue having a less talented employee in the office is more useful due to the resources available to them.

Whatever your approach whether it involves remote working or some other form of incentive, it may be worth having a look at just what you might be able to offer that can help attract talent from new areas. It might not work out, but what have you got to lose?

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Is your job suitable to work from remotely?

Selecting jobs– obviously blue collar jobs are not going to get over the first hurdle here, but professional, knowledge-based work is a likely option to consider converting. Developing a checklist to see if jobs can meet their requirements outside of the office.

Ongoing communication– no team member wants to be kept out of the loop when news is going around the office, so periodic communications is a must whether its by a phone call to your manager or being invited to dial in on web calls or meetings.

Performance Indicators & recognition– you can’t always assume a remote worker is going to be productive 100% of the time they are away from the office, so ongoing goals and metrics are key to spotting waning productivity levels long before it becomes an issue.

Necessary technology– getting high productivity levels is dependent on workers having the right tools and resources at their disposal whether information is stored in a cloud-sharing platform or by using a VPN to access the office network.

Managerial consent– traditionally the first reaction from managers is resistance. A clear business case needs to be presented which outlines how the worker will be able to perform their duties outside of the office in a way that makes it efficient to do so. To overcome trust issues, managers will need a toolkit or some method to help them learn how to manage remote employees.