• Relocation experts are community advocates, sources of knowledge and tour leaders for potential buyers.

In today’s highly competitive job market — where 68 percent of HR professionals are experiencing difficulty recruiting candidates — companies cannot afford to limit their recruitment to local candidates. This is where relocation comes into play.

Companies want to ensure that job candidates are sold on every aspect of the organization — including the ZIP code.

That’s why HR departments and recruitment firms have started to partner with real estate agencies that specialize in relocation to take on the role of selling their city.

I can tell you from experience that the partnership just makes sense. As the owner of a St. Louis-based real estate agency, I 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 is our job then, as a team of St. Louis experts and advocates, to show them why they would love to live, work and play here.

There are a variety of ways real estate companies and relocation experts can help recruit out-of-town candidates for their partner organizations. Here are five of the most common, and most successful, tactics:

1. Advocate for the community

The real estate agent should demonstrate genuine city pride. Great relocation partners not only love and appreciate the city they are selling but also participate 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.

But when the relocation expert is constantly involved in exciting events throughout the city, it’s impossible for them not to be passionate about it — and that passion is contagious.

2. Know a ton about the area

In addition to finding a new home, relocating also means new schools, doctors, hair stylists, childcare, athletic teams, summer camps, grocery stores, etc.

Fortunately, real estate agents with a relocation specialty are not only knowledgeable about the homes they are showing and the housing market, but they can also act as incredible resources when it comes to life in the community.

We can guide candidates throughout the various decision-making processes and let them know that they will have a well-informed ally — even after they have committed to the position and made the move.

3. Make personal connections

The things that sell one candidate on a city aren’t always guaranteed to appeal to the next. That’s why a critical step in any good relocation specialists’ process is to really get to know the candidate and his or her family.

This involves much more than reading their resume or bio; it means taking the time to sit down with them for 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? Are they religious? 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.

4. Give community tours

Once the agent has gotten to know the family on a personal level, it’s time to give them a taste of their potential new home.

Take the rest of the family on a tour while the candidate is in interviews; that is the perfect time to showcase parts of the community that meet their needs and wants.

Let’s say the job you are filling is in an East Coast city, for example, and your top candidate is from Colorado. Her children have grown accustomed to the abundant outdoor activities available and are wary of the apparent concrete jungle.

It’s a relocation specialists’ job to take them to the nearest nature preserve and make them aware of the outdoor scene the city has to offer.

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, companies can’t afford to leave the location out of the equation.

Jill Butler is the CEO of and founder of RedKey Realty Leaders St. Louis — an independent real estate agency created on a foundation of love, service and fun. You can find RedKey on Twitter @RedKeyStLouis and on Facebook.

Email Jill Butler.

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