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Local Candidates Only

What is the true motivation of an employer who states "local candidates only" in a job ad?

Do they mean "we won't pay relo", or "we won't help with immigration" or is there something else at work?  Note: the employer in question is a large and well-known private sector company, and they do not do the bulk of their business in defense or anything else sensitive.

(And as for "local", although the employer in question is in a foreign country, the work location is only 150 miles from where I live.)

David Jones
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

It could also mean "we've got no sympathy for your commuting woes" or "you'll be expected to work 18-hour days and any expenses arising from that are gonna be your own problem".

Fernanda Stickpot
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

There are a few possible motivating factors. One is that they simply want to reduce the gross number of submissions (believing that a good enough candidate is available in the area), so it's a simple filter. Another possible factor is that they want to keep salary expectations lower -- people submitting for positions that require relocations generally anticipate higher salaries.

.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I've asked this question numerous times of employers when I was job hunting. I was actually employed at the time, but wanted to move to a different part of the country. I got one of three answers:

1. changing jobs is stressful enough without throwing in a move and we don't want to have to deal with the fallout

2. knowledge of local culture, idioms, etc. is crucial if the task is be carried out successfully

3. we have local unemployment problems and feel it would be more socially responsible to focus on local candidates

Once I got smart, I asked what would happen if I just moved first and then applied. Most said that they either wouldn't have any way of knowing that I was a recent transplant or would assume that I've already made the 'proper' committment to the region and would thus be a legitimated candidate.

Ron Porter
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Is it a provincial location? *We* prefer local candidates since they're less likely to decide on a move to London after 18 months!

SteveM
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

One of the tricks I've used to get around the ridiculous "Local Candidates Only" filter is to become a local candidate: I acquire a postal address at a mailbox store and a forwarded phone number from a message service.

Don't get a PO Box unless you have to. Renting a box at a place like Mailboxes Etc will usually give you a street address rather than a PO Box.

Many phone message services will offer to forward your calls directly to your cell phone. Of course, you then have to pay the long distance charges.

This makes me look like a local while I continue to work in a place I'm desperate to get out of...

Jeff Watkins
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

`One of the tricks I've used to get around the ridiculous "Local Candidates Only" filter..'

Just as a philisophical point of interest in relation to a prior threat, how does this differ from saying you achieved educational credentials that you didn't really? In both cases you are ultimately lying under the pretense that, in your opinion, the employer is wrong to ask for such a ridiculous filter.

.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Perhaps my trick really is tantamount to lying; but I don't really think so. There's a difference in intent:

I don't intend to continue living where I am and take the job.

For example, I currently live in Jersey City but I'm keen to leave the Manhattan market for somewhere in NH or VT. However, because the job pool in NH and VT is somewhat shallower than Manhattan (although since I have no financial background it may not be too dissimilar) I'd like to make certain there's a job for me before I move.

By incurring the expense necessary to appear local, I am signalling that I am very serious about moving to the area.

However, this is only necessary when you go the resume bombardment route. If you have an inside contact, you can usually get around the "local candidates only" requirement because you're bypassing the HR filter.

By contrast, if I were to falsely claim a degree from Harvard it would not (typically) be a signal that I intend to obtain a degree from Harvard should I get the job.

Jeff Watkins
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Mr. Dot:

The difference is: asking for education credentials is smart, and asking for "locals only" is dumb.

Klodd the Insensitive
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

So which of Rob's three points above do you feel is invalid?

Mr Jack
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Sorry: Ron, not Rob.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Jeff, . is just f*cking with your head, it's alright to try to get jobs in a big city as long as you put some effort into making a presence in that said city. And in fact getting a mailbox (that redirects for example) and a phone number (ditto) is exactly those first steps towards building a presence. Once you get a contract, it will pay for car/transportation and a small office--thus completing the We Are A Local Service Provider picture.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

So Jeff, show us the money shot: did it work? Tell us about it.

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

It worked just fine when I moved from Seattle to the NYC area. However, now I've discovered I dislike living near and working in Manhattan, which is why I'm looking to head up North (to VT or NH).

Jeff Watkins
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I think you've proven the point about why employers state "local candidates only"...

You applied/accepted a position only to decided that you don't like living there afterall. Now your employer has to go to the hassle of looking for a new employee and training them for a job you probably shouldn't have taken.

Obviously it isn't just a 'ridiculous filter' since it would have saved your current company the expense of a mis-hire if you hadn't tricked them into thinking you were local.

RocketJeff
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I don't know why employers require local residency, but I sure ran into this problem when I wanted to  move to California from Michigan. I applied for dozens of positions, indicating that I wasn't expecting relocation reimbursement, and was already packed and ready to move right away. Nobody even called me back.

After I moved to the Bay Area, even though I was living in a motel and only had a pager number, I had no trouble getting an interview, and had a job inside two months.

-Mark
(wouldn't want to try that trick *this* year, though)

Mark Bessey
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

RocketJeff, actually, my employer already has to hire and train someone new, because I've already left them. I haven't yet moved out of the NYC area; but my wife and I have made that part of our 5 year plan. We want to raise the (future) wee Watkinses in a more rural setting.

For family reasons, it was important to me to move back East. I did that by establishing a presence in NYC and then getting a job. I found shortly after actually moving to Jersey City (across the Hudson from Manhattan) that I simply didn't like living here. That has undoubtedly coloured my enjoyment of working in NYC.

We'll be moving (this weekend actually) out of the NYC area but still within the range of daily commuting to Manhattan: there's grass outside my new front door, I can take the cats for walks on the grounds (yes, really), and walk into the village. I'm certain that will make working in Manhattan a bit more enjoyable, although I know I'll dislike the daily commute.

My employer didn't lose me because of location mismatch, he lost me because the company failed to deliver on the expectations it set during the interview process. My wife and I are both originally from NY (she Up State and me The Island), so we're actually quite comfortable in the State just not this close to Manhattan.

Jeff Watkins
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Consider getting at least a voice mail and even better a mailing address close to the company.

No amount of promises in your cover letter that you will relocate at your own expense will do as well as a local phone number.

I discovered this when I wanted to relocate from Las Vegas to LA. Resume after resume disappeared down the rat hole. Then I got a voice mail # in the 310 area code and friends let me use their West LA address. At once I started to get about 20% response rate for resumes.

Cowardly Anon E. Mouse Coward
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Perhaps they simply want to be able to easily meet candidates in person.

Matt
Thursday, March 25, 2004

I second Matt's theory, so in addition to what I said, I think you should be prepared to visit in person for a in-person interview, if you want to apply for such jobs out of town. Really, it goes without saying.

Li-fan Chen
Thursday, March 25, 2004

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