Sourcing From Out of State – Good or Bad?


Sometimes HR professionals get caught in a rut. Sourcing, sourcing, sourcing, day after day, it can be easy to feel as though there is an endless sea of candidates and finding the right ones to fill positions can feel like looking for the needle in the proverbial haystack. That is, until one considers the horrifying alternative: not having any candidates from which to source. Yes, it does happen for some companies operating in locations where there simply aren’t deep pools of talent, with the proper qualifications and skills needed for the available jobs. So what does one do as an HR pro in this environment? Begin to look farther afield; maybe even out of state? If you’re considering sourcing out of state, here’s what you need to know about the benefits and liabilities of this particular activity.

Benefits of Sourcing Out-of-State Candidates

First and foremost, the benefit of sourcing candidates from out of your general locality is the immediate access to talent with the required skills that may be in high demand and short supply where you’re situated. This is particularly beneficial in areas where the local colleges and universities are not producing candidates with degrees in fields your organization requires.

Another solid benefit comes in the form of diversity in the workplace. Sourcing from afar almost invariably results in adding talent with diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds which improves the overall composition of the workforce for all the reasons analysts recommend diversification.

Lastly, a key benefit of sourcing out of state comes in the form of seeding new territories. Exploring areas outside your own can provide the intelligence critical to selecting locations for expansion. A history of hiring from a given area will work to your advantage if you decide to set up satellite operations in that part of the country.

Liabilities of Sourcing Out-of-State

The obvious downside to sourcing from afar is the cost – both in terms of time/effort and dollars – it takes to successfully execute. Between advertising, travel, relocation costs, additional postage and a host of other considerations, the long-distance sourcing can add a burden to cost efficiency.

Of course, there is also the extra time associated with hiring talent from far flung regions as it will take longer for a hire to start. Waiting for homes to be sold, families to be prepared for the move and other concerns makes this a less attractive option. 

In additon to this, some everyday HR processes can be problematic when performed over a long distance.  From gathering references to processing background checks across state lines, the distance can sometimes make a difficult difference.

Lastly, when new candidates come from entirely different regions, there can be some friction as they attempt to assimilate into the cultural norms which exist in their new location. This isn’t always a problem, but it has been known to occur.

The best option for companies in areas where talent pools have dried up is to partner with a strong and experienced workforce management organization that has established relationships with suppliers across the country. Having such a relationship will do a lot towards ensuring the benefits are captured while the liabilities are marginalized.

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