By Jill Butler, CEO RedKey Realty Leaders

Any savvy human resources department, recruitment firm or relocation professional knows that in order to recruit the best of the best, it’s often necessary to look outside of the geographic box. But what happens when the job you’re filling is in St. Louis, for example, and your top candidate is in sunny San Diego? She loves your organization and the career opportunity, but she can’t get herself over the relocation hurdle. For many recruiters, regardless of the company’s location, this scenario is all too familiar.

The Partnership that Makes Sense

When you’re asking candidates to uproot their lives for a job, it’s imperative that they are sold on every aspect of your organization—including its zip code. In order to successfully compete, your company must look at each case individually and take a personalized approach to making your community feel like home.

That’s why human resource departments and recruitment firms are partnering with real estate agencies that specialize in relocation to take on the role of selling their city. For example, as a St. Louis-based real estate agency, we know that most candidates from other areas of the country have never been to our city. Other than the occasional national—and sometimes negative—news story, they often have no idea what to expect. It’s our job as a team of St. Louis experts and advocates to show them why they would love to live, work, and play here.

Sealing the Deal

Here are four tactics that real estate companies can use to help recruit out-of-town candidates for their partner organizations.

  1. Make a personal connection.

The worst thing a broker or sales manager can do is assume that what sells one person on a city will appeal to the next. That’s why the first step in any good relocation specialists’ process is to get to know the candidate and his or her family. This involves much more than reading a resume or bio, but rather sit down with them and have a meaningful conversation. What is most important to each member of the family? What are their hobbies? Are they in school? Will they need to find new jobs? Do they have any special needs?

Here’s an example of why this step is so important: One of our partner organizations once had a candidate whose daughter did not want to move, so we arranged for her to meet a local violin teacher, because we knew she was passionate about the instrument. The daughter fell in love with the teacher and was soon in full support of the move, so the candidate took the job. It was a win-win!

  1. Provide community tours.

Once the sales associate has gotten to know the family on a personal level, it’s time to give them a taste of their potential new home. While the candidate is in interviews, take the rest of the family on a tour to showcase the parts of the community that meet their needs and wants. Those San Diego natives who don’t want to leave their great outdoor scene, for example, may not be aware of the beautiful lakes or national parks that your city has to offer.

Part of our process is to take them through the city in a limo. We go by cultural institutions, tell them about the rich history of each neighborhood, and introduce them to everything we love about St. Louis. Our partners oftentimes tell us that the tour is what solidified their candidate’s decision.

  1. Act as a resource.

Real estate professionals with a relocation specialty are not only knowledgeable about the homes they are showing and the housing market, but they are also knowledgeable about the community. Relocating involves more than finding a new house and making new friends. A new city also means new schools, doctors, hair stylists, childcare, athletic teams, summer camps, grocery stores and so much more. It’s our job to act as a guide throughout the various decision-making processes and ensure the candidate that they will have a well-informed ally—even after they have committed to the position and made the move.

  1. Show community pride.

The real estate firm with which you choose to work should be genuinely passionate about the area. A great relocation partner not only loves and appreciates the city they are selling to your candidate, but participates in the community. Top-tier candidates are, after all, intelligent individuals who will likely see straight through a phony, rehearsed “here’s what makes our city great” spiel.

Many organizations offer exceptional relocation packages and know how to ensure a smooth move once a candidate has signed on. But they often overlook the importance of all that comes before—the relocation marketing imperative to a successful recruitment strategy. As we continue to become an extension of more and more organizations’ HR and recruitment teams, the value that real estate agencies can provide could not be clearer. When competition is fierce for top talent, you can’t afford to leave the location out of the equation.

After holding executive and team leader positions at high-profile real estate agencies, in 2012, Jill Butler RedKey Realty Leaders St. Louis, an independent real estate agency created on a foundation of love, service and fun. Jill was named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by the state of Missouri and St. Louis Chapters of the Women’s Council of Realtors. She has held an Officer position for the Women’s Council of Realtors, and serves on the St. Louis Association of Realtors Board of Directors.