Recruiters often feel a strong sense of pride about local knowledge. I hear members saying that someone from outside the area would never understand how it works in my market. In years past, recruitment was a local business and in time the chain operations and the flexibility of the work force changed that paradigm in a big way. Today you can live almost anywhere and recruit for anything in a completely different geography.
Having that said, there is still strong local pride and a sense that only so much is possible from a distance. Such a situation became evident to a US northeastern recruiter just a short time ago. The northeastern recruiter had a hot new opening with a client company in New Jersey. The position was in the oil and gas industry. Of course the recruiter was willing to consider help from local trading partners within the network and even those from the US southeast and southwest as oil and gas are prevalent in those market places.
After a few weeks of working with the known experts from the northeast, southeast, and southwest, a new member in Australia offered to work the opening. The offer was met with skepticism, “How is a recruiter on the other side of the world going to help me on my US job that requires a US candidate?” The Aussie claimed to be skilled at finding the hard-to-find types of candidates that would be needed to complete this search.
After a few false starts and some early or late night calls, the two recruiters covered the basics and got to work reviewing candidates. The Aussie was not kidding…a few gems were uncovered with great speed and the industry expert was surprised. Ultimately, the Australian located a strong fit Engineering Manager candidate from Houston willing to relocate to the east. A match was made, the deal completed and recruiters, client and candidate were left with a smile.
“I learned a lesson,” said the northeastern recruiter. “Skill is more important than location when it comes to research. A recruiter in Australia that was good at what they do was able to locate and gain agreement for a cross-country move that locals could not accomplish.”
The recruiter that is the subject of this story has now done deals in the US with candidates sourced by Australians, and South Africans. In all cases these were US-based positions with a requirement of US-based candidates.
This is proof that what you know and how good you are at doing research is perhaps more important than your location. While location can help make you even more effective, it is not a requirement for good results.