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Why Geographically-Matched Candidates Make Better Hires

Why Geographically-Matched Candidates Make Better Hires

If you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of data overload spilling into the recruiting industry these days. Analytics is the new hot trend (like fidget spinners), with all signs pointing to it having an increased influence in the recruiter’s future business model. In the wake of this new ‘data singularity’ across all industries, it’s important to hone in on the right data to maximize return on your recruiting time, and subsequently – your hires. That’s why we’re focusing on what we believe will be a key component in the success of tomorrow’s most in-demand recruiters: geographically-matched candidates.

Let’s start off by debunking the theory that the most successful recruiters are smarter or better than everyone else in their field. If you’ve spent any time as a recruiter, you know that this statement couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, the difference between them has more to do with effectiveness than actual skill. With automation finding its way into a majority of occupations now, the best recruiters have embraced them, pawning off the most menial tasks and focusing their efforts on the ones that earn them the best candidates. Ever heard of the Pareto principle? It’s a time management theory based on the idea that  “80 percent of all our results in business and in life stem from a mere 20 percent of our efforts.” Scheduling intake meetings, running through onboarding processes, designing pre-employment tests…most recruiters will handle it all. But the biggest time-waster would have to be the actual candidate analysis portion of the job. How many hours have you spent skimming through resume databases, eyes glazed over, making sure that each candidate you’re planning to interview has the right amount of experience, great references, and employer brand compatibility? The answer is probably way higher than you want it to be. So what’s the solution? As the role of the recruiter evolves, the solution is as simple as automation in the form of data-driven recruiting.

Incorporating data-driven recruiting into your hiring process will have an immediate positive impact on your quality of hire. What do we mean by data-driven recruiting? It starts with relying more on statistics and candidate results for your hiring decisions than simple intuition. An effective data-driven recruiting strategy will likely be different for each company, seeing as each client has their own priorities, but if you’re approaching this strategy for the first time, there should be an initial investment of time on your side to collect the data you need (the data that pinpoints the weaknesses in your hiring process) to execute these data-driven strategies. So what data-oriented weaknesses can a recruiter have? Time-to-hire is a very common issue, with recruiters failing to devote time to specialized sourcing and screening prior to an interview and creating bottlenecks in their process. Some recruiters are still operating under the assumption that the longer you take, the better the candidate. To learn more about why the time to hire should be as tight as possible, read our article titled, “From Groceries to Garbage: Why Urgency and Follow-Ups Matter In Recruiting.”

Others may have issues with new hire turnover, which is even more common among recruiters in the healthcare industry. If you haven’t been keeping up with things, turnover in the healthcare industry is said to be as high as 37% (significantly worse than other industries) with no clear signs of it slowing down. Turnover issues can be mitigated by improving communication and clarity of intent during the interview and subsequent onboarding process. Remember this when establishing your new data-driven campaign, and remember that data still requires careful interpretation to have a profound effect on your bottom line.

If we’re talking about quality of hire, geographic matching for each candidate you vet will surely separate you from the rest of the pack. According to a 2016 global trend report published by LinkedIn, it’s a priority for 40% of big companies worldwide (and 45% of small businesses). (LinkedIn 2016) They define quality of hire as ‘the value a new hire brings to their respective company,’ calculated by analyzing a combination of different recruitment metrics like new hire performance, turnover rate, and managerial satisfaction.”

Much like data-driven recruitment, quality of hire will be measured differently by each client, but the end goal should be the same across the board: optimizing performance. That’s precisely where geographic matching comes into play since it’s arguably the easiest adjustment to make your recruiting more data-driven and your quality of hire much stronger. It may seem like a dubious claim to some of the recruiters reading this, but location is one of those metrics that cannot be overstated. Consider your own job as a recruiter: if you’re sending out mass applications for recruiting gigs, and business is slow for the month, is location the number one concern for you at that moment? Probably not. And yet it’s a required field on virtually every job application and job submission board. Another reason to make the switch to a niche job board? Perhaps. Take a look at our article “Why Aren’t The Best HCP Candidates on Traditional Job Boards?” for more information on that topic.

A recruiter’s main objective is to find candidates that are the closest match to what the client is seeking in a future employee, by facilitating a quick onboarding process serving as a close second in priority. Filtering your candidates by geographic location right away will save you a ton of time on every step of the process, from interview, to offers, to onboarding, because they’re more likely to be where you need them to be: performing their duties from day 1 to day 180 on-site. And not only that, geographically matched candidates will often have some sort of link to the location you’re hiring for. Maybe they went to high school right down the street from the in-patient center. Or maybe their favorite Uncle lives there and is willing to let them crash at his place until they find the right apartment. Or even better, maybe a few of their friends have relocated to that area and found quick placements. These circumstances will factor in to what a candidate puts on their job form, and since they aren’t data-driven, recruiters won’t necessarily consider them. But they are just as important. Normally a recruiter won’t be concerned about the geographic location of the candidate until they’ve already chosen their dream hire, and if the candidate is not a perfect match location-wise, the time wasted on deciding to shortlist them will have an impact on metrics like time-to-hire, on top of a decrease in odds that the ideal candidate is still available. According to a study conducted by the World Economic Forum, geographical barriers are listed as one of the main causes of new hire turnover across all industries (WEF 2014). That will come as a surprise to many of the readers, no doubt, but it should serve as another solid piece of evidence in support of data-driven recruitment processes. That’s not to say that every ideal candidate will be located in your client’s backyard; geographical mobility is another huge factor in determining the compatibility of a prospective hire, and your Applicant Tracking System should generally be tossing aside any applicants that do not possess that mobility.

To dig a little deeper, let’s assess a few of the different employee performance metrics that clients use, and how geographically-matched candidates are a better fit for the job based on those key metrics.

#1: New hire performance
New hire performance is basically the data-driven key to unlocking the formula for the ideal candidate. There are several components to a new hire’s performance, though most clients will calculate it based on standard metrics like patient satisfaction of care, wait times, quotas, and more. When choosing a candidate, recruiters should always lean towards a well-matched one instead of an overqualified one. According to the same WEF study, “overqualified workers earn less than well-matched workers with the same qualification and proficiency levels, which in turn may point to potential adverse effects on productivity.” (WEF 12) How do we define an overqualified worker in this case? Some might attribute it to things like prior work experience, or salary expectations. Depending on the candidate, overqualification based on either of these metrics will stem from the opportunity cost of eschewing a better match for the job in question. More often than not, when looking at each applicant submission, the label of overqualified will also be used for candidates that lack geographic mobility, or are simply not geographically-matched.

#2: Turnover & Retention
You’ve likely seen these two buzzwords on every client contract, and it’s because this metric is so useful for recruiters and clients alike, due to its impact on the candidates you’ll both be looking for — both now and in the future. It’s yet another common issue that can be resolved by geographically matching your candidates from day one. The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education found in their study on job turnover that geographic location was the 2nd most frequently cited reason for an employee’s retention, adding credence to our assumptions on geographically-matched candidates. (AJPE 3) In addition, for professionals in the healthcare industry, you’ll hear from many hires that location compatibility can be another factor in employee burnout – making retention much less likely on average.

#3: Hiring Manager Satisfaction
This is one determinant that all recruiters should be more concerned about. Some will argue that this metric will be hard to improve on, based on the wild fluctuations in a hiring manager’s priorities, but geographically matching your candidates is a way to stimulate an increase on your average satisfaction level based on the statistics in favor of employee referrals. Based on data collected and published by ERE, referrals are statistically proven to be a better hire on an overwhelming number of variables like cost per hire, applicant-to-hire ratio, and hire quality. (ERE 2012) Beyond those initial figures, hiring managers across the board will normally be in favor of referrals due to the fact that their own employees will likely be prescreening them using their company’s standards for new hires. Given the overwhelming amount of data that supports this claim, geographic matching could be the biggest bang for your buck in terms of tweaks in your recruiting process. If you aren’t considering a total overhaul in your recruitment operations, make this the one minor change you implement – we’re sure that it will have a significant impact.

Not only are geographically-matched candidates a better hire for your bottom line—they’re better for the economy, too. Take a look at this report published by Marinescu on the Geography of Job Search:

“Using data from the leading employment board, we show that, indeed, workers dislike applying to distant jobs: job seekers are 35% less likely to apply to a job 10 miles away from their ZIP code of residence. However, because job seekers are close enough to vacancies on average, this distaste for distance is fairly inconsequential: our search and matching model predicts that relocating job seekers to minimize unemployment would decrease unemployment by only 5.3%. Geographic mismatch is thus a minor driver of aggregate unemployment.”

The report goes on to outline a very clear correlation between geographic mismatch and job performance. For example, in the second half of the report, they reveal a bombshell statistic: for registered nurses, 5.1% of hires are lost due to geographic mismatch. (Marinescu 2016) If that’s not clear evidence of the importance of geographic matching for recruitment, we’re not sure what is.

To be clear, a geographically-matched candidate is about more than just being in the localized area of the job you’re hiring for. We’ve found that some candidates refuse to consider work in locations other than their own — and for contracts that require some semblance of mobility, those candidates would be a total mismatch. Why would that be? It goes back to the link that many candidates desire to have in the area they’re applying for. Think in terms of how effective a new hire can be if they have a baked-in support network, familiarity with the area, or interest in the location. These types of things can make a hire much more comfortable during the onboarding process. Many candidates know this to be the case, and will often relocate to areas that offer this type of familiarity. So it’s easy to have faith in this method when the data is in support of its implement, and the psychological factors that are driving it can equate to “faster time-to-value” for the employer.

If you value your growth as a recruiter, we would highly recommend that you keep these external factors in consideration.

If you’re looking for tools that will handle the geographic matching for you, Hire by Google is a near-perfect resource, with its virtually-limitless customization and robust filtering capabilities. And if we can toot our own horn for a minute, we would also recommend our own product line for healthcare staffing professionals looking to streamline their hiring methodology. Whether you opt for RMS, our recruiting management system, or our Health Care Job Board, geographic matching is keyed into each system’s workflow processes, delivering the ideal candidate to you in half the time and making us one of the industry leaders in the new “recruitment marketplace.” To test drive one of our innovative healthcare staffing modules, feel free to visit us at

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