Most companies understand the importance of candidate assessment for global assignments, and many tools exist to gauge the adaptability of the candidate and family. Increasingly, companies that want to protect their investment in a domestic move are applying the same thought process and using some of the same tools.
A Resume Isn’t Enough
Most of the time, whether for a global or domestic move, the first consideration is technical competence. Can the candidate do the job? While this is obviously critical, our global experience has shown that without the proper cultural fit and adaptability, the assignment is likely to fail. And this can be just as true for a domestic move, even though the cultural differences are not as profound. If the employee or family is not comfortable and satisfied with the new location, the employee will not last. Surprisingly, companies often disregard the cultural aspect of domestic moves and assume technical competence will carry the day.
What to Look For
As you build a list of technically capable candidates, take the time to look for qualities that point to adaptability and flexibility as well. You probably have a pool of talented candidates, more than one of whom is qualified to do the job in technical terms. A self-assessment can help you get a feel for how an individual handles change, including potentially stressful situations like navigating new relationships, dealing with people who speak different languages or dialects, and taking on new challenges. When it comes to management, you want to find someone who has strong leadership qualities that can be applied broadly to build successful teams anywhere, not just in one location.
Don’t Assume Your Candidates Know What to Expect
Also beware that many people might think they are more adventurous and open to change than they really are. You might have candidates who are enthusiastic about the job itself and say they are fine with relocation. But their attitude can change drastically as they learn more about the position. For instance, a person who is generally willing to take on any adventure and move anywhere, may suddenly lose interest if they find out you are sending them to a small town away from the big city life they are used to. Their interest and willingness to travel is surely rooted in the fact that there are so many great places to see and explore, but when they realize that their destination offers few adventures they cannot help but be disappointed.
Candidates also need to have a clear understanding of where your company’s relocation assistance begins…and ends. If they have never relocated before, they might very well assume that your company covers the entire cost. They may have been willing to move based on the advertised relocation package without fully understanding their responsibilities in the deal. A domestic candidate assessment can help weed out candidates who are eager to go, but are not realistically prepared for employee relocation, or who will be destabilized once they move and never fully assimilate at their new location.
If your company relocates employees regularly—across the US or around the world—proper candidate assessment, even if it’s as simple as a self-assessment, will ultimately save you time and money. By taking this extra step, you can ensure that you choose the best candidate based on real life experience and potential with your company, rather than just the candidate who is most technically suited to the job locally.