How to Get an Executive to Accept Job with Relocation

executive relocation services How to Get an Executive to Accept Job with Relocation

Relocating for a job is a significant decision, with reasons being emotional as much as rational and financial. A move can be a deal-breaker in executive searches, where the candidate’s willingness to relocate is as crucial as their qualifications and experience. 

The importance of understanding the factors that influence an executive’s decision to move cannot be overstated. Companies must grasp what drives these high-stake choices – whether it’s the promise of career growth, the need for a suitable environment for their families, or the array of benefits and support provided by the new organization. Addressing these considerations early on in the recruitment process is essential.

Recognizing Deal breakers in Executive Relocations

An often-underestimated aspect of executive searches is the significant role that relocation plays in the final stages of a hiring process. It can, quite unexpectedly, become the stumbling block that causes the entire deal to unravel. An anecdote from one of my earliest executive searches serves as a pointed example of this.

The search was progressing exceptionally well; the candidate was highly skilled and showed genuine enthusiasm for the role. Everything from job responsibilities to compensation had been agreed upon. However, as we approached the pivotal moment of contract signing, hesitation crept in. Despite my inexperience at the time, I could sense the looming risk of the deal collapsing. Ultimately, it did fall apart—not due to salary disputes or role responsibilities, but because of a personal, deeply human factor: the candidate ultimately could not bear the thought of leaving her ailing mother behind to move across the country.

This incident was a hard-earned lesson in the critical importance of thoroughly understanding an executive’s personal circumstances in a relocation scenario. You have to ask questions that are seemingly unrelated to the job, and then you have to read between the lines and listen for what they’re not saying. 

If I had done that more effectively, I might have anticipated the issue. With that insight, it would have been possible to discuss and arrange comprehensive care options for her mother, either in her current community or in the new city in a move with my executive candidate. This could have ranged from ensuring continued care in situ or moving her mother along with the candidate, thereby alleviating the candidate’s concerns and potentially saving the deal.

The takeaway is clear: potential relocation deal breakers must be identified early in the executive search process. These issues should either lead to a candidate’s disqualification in the process or be promptly addressed through tailored solutions. This requires recruiters and hiring managers to engage in active listening and exhibit a high degree of emotional intelligence throughout the search. Recognizing the signs of a candidate’s deep-rooted personal ties and understanding their potential impact on relocation decisions is not just an added skill—it’s an essential part of successful executive talent acquisition.

executive relocation move across country How to Get an Executive to Accept Job with Relocation

Factors Influencing Executive Relocations

When a senior executive is considering a move to a different part of the country for work, several key factors come into play. These factors can significantly impact the decision-making process and can either encourage or deter an executive from taking up a new opportunity.

Career and Financial Prospects

The potential for career advancement is often the primary motivator for executives contemplating a relocation. A new role that offers a clear path to professional growth and development is attractive. Additionally, the financial aspect of the role, including salary increases and bonuses, plays a significant part in the decision. An executive will weigh these opportunities against their current position to determine if the move is a step forward.

Family and Community Ties

Familial considerations are crucial when an executive is thinking about moving. The extent of their family’s integration into the local community, including schools for children, support systems, and the spouse’s employment, can influence the decision heavily. The potential disruption to the family’s stability is often a key concern that needs careful evaluation.

Personal Engagement and Opportunities

Executives will also consider their personal involvement in the local community outside of work. This includes their social networks, professional networking groups, and involvement in community or charitable organizations. The depth of their engagement in their current locale can be a strong anchor, making the thought of leaving and rebuilding that network elsewhere daunting.

Real Estate and “Golden Handcuffs”

The term “golden handcuffs” refers to financial incentives and rewards that bind an executive to their current role or location. In the context of real estate, this can mean having a favorable mortgage interest rate on a current home, which could be lost when moving to a new area. With the real estate market’s fluctuating interest rates, an executive might face financial loss or increased costs if they decide to sell their home and purchase a new one elsewhere. This financial tie can serve as a significant deterrent to relocation.

Career Advancement, Company Culture, and Personal Considerations

Ultimately, an executive will balance these factors against the professional opportunities presented by the new role. The culture of the new company is also a critical consideration. An organization’s values, work environment, leadership style, and team dynamics must align with the executive’s principles and working style. Personal considerations, such as lifestyle preferences and the potential for work-life balance in the new location, will also play into the decision-making process.

Each of these factors must be thoroughly examined by the executive in question. Companies looking to attract top talent need to be aware of these considerations and be prepared to address them comprehensively when discussing relocation with potential candidates.

Senior Executive Relocation Packages

A senior executive relocation package is designed to facilitate a smooth and worry-free transition for the executive and their family. For CEOs and other high-level executives, these packages are typically comprehensive and cover a range of financial and supportive services to alleviate the stresses of moving.

Possible Components of a CEO Relocation Package

Housing Assistance: A cornerstone of the package is housing assistance, which may include help with selling an existing home or buying a new one in the destination city. Companies often cover closing costs, real estate commissions, and sometimes even offer to buy the executive’s current home if it cannot be sold in a timely manner. In addition, temporary housing is often provided to allow the executive and their family to settle in before making a permanent housing decision.

Moving Expenses: All moving expenses are generally covered, including the cost of packing, shipping, and insuring household goods. This service typically extends to cover the transportation of vehicles and even pets. The objective is to ensure the executive does not incur out-of-pocket expenses for the physical process of moving.

Family Support: Recognizing the importance of family stability, relocation packages usually offer support that caters to the needs of the executive’s spouse and children. This may include job search assistance for the spouse, school search assistance for children, and orientation tours to help the family acclimate to their new community.

Transition Assistance: To help executives integrate into their new role and location, companies often provide coaching or mentorship programs. These can help executives navigate the cultural landscape of the new company and region, ensuring a successful transition on both a professional and personal level.

Financial Incentives: In some cases, executives may receive special financial incentives as part of the relocation package. These can take the form of signing bonuses, cost-of-living adjustments, or additional compensation to offset any potential financial loss or inconvenience caused by the move. Since relocation benefits can be taxable, many companies offer a tax gross-up, which is additional compensation to cover any taxes the executive would owe on the relocation benefits provided.

Travel Expenses: Companies cover travel costs associated with scouting the new location, including trips for housing searches and schools. This also allows the executive to gain familiarity with the new area before moving.

The specifics of a relocation package vary widely depending on the company, the level of the executive, and the location to which they are moving. However, the objective remains consistent: to remove barriers that might prevent an executive from accepting a new role due to relocation challenges. A well-crafted relocation package demonstrates the company’s commitment to the executive and helps ensure a positive start in the new position.

Benefits of Professional Relocation Services

Utilizing professional relocation services offers real-life advantages for top-level executives facing the complex process of moving. These services specialize in handling the logistical and administrative burdens of relocation, allowing executives to remain focused on their current responsibilities and the strategic aspects of their new role. A key benefit is the provision of a single point of contact who acts as a concierge to coordinate all aspects of the move, from real estate dealings to the physical move of belongings, ensuring a cohesive and streamlined process. 

These services extend beyond mere logistics; they provide tailored support that addresses the nuanced emotional and social needs of an executive’s transition. This includes acclimatizing the executive and their family to the new environment through community insights, schooling options, and local networking opportunities, significantly easing the personal side of the transition. For the executive, this holistic approach to relocation not only minimizes stress but also contributes to higher productivity and a quicker adjustment period, allowing them to hit the ground running in their new position.

It’s clear that executive relocations should be seen as a strategic asset in talent management. Companies that recognize and act on this can secure skilled leaders and show their commitment to supporting new hires through major transitions. By offering well-structured relocation packages and services, businesses not only ease the moving process but also enhance their appeal to high-value executives.


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About Michael Morgan

ae18397d4200b6543d24926998dce3a8?s=90&d=mm&r=g How to Get an Executive to Accept Job with RelocationMichael Morgan is the Vice President & Managing Director at Medallion Partners. He's responsible for company wide day-to-day delivery of business results, team leadership, cultivating trusted partnerships with clients, and client-specific strategic analysis. Michael ultimately works to bring change to people's careers, propel companies, and impact industries.

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