One lasting effect of this pandemic is location fluidity. Covid has accelerated the move to the suburbs for young families. A large number of city dwellers with the means to own or rent a place outside a major city have taken full advantage of working remotely. Single, Remote-working Millennials and GenXers that have no ties to bind them have been making lifestyle moves to warmer, lower tax climes and even colder ones (Skiing/boarding anyone?)

Some such moves are permanent, some temporary, and a bunch more who made the move are fuzzy about their long-term intentions. Linkedin, meanwhile, still insists that people choose one fixed location for their profile. If candidates declare themselves open to opportunities and open to relocation on Linkedin, the candidate can indicate desired locations outside of their “home” base, but their home location still remains fixed for the outside world’s eyes. In some of these fluid cases, that fixed home location doesn’t reflect reality anymore.

In a sample set of 500 candidates for a search we did last week where the target candidates were split across both NY and Chicago, we noticed 15 had “officially” moved to either Florida, Texas, Colorado or SoCal according to changes to their LI profile location. At least 15 more that we talked to had permanently or temporarily moved but had not declared that on their profiles largely for one or more of these reasons:

  • because  they either still view that city as their “anchor” location territory wise 
  • because they saw their skills being more marketable/better paid when associated with that city 
  • because they still wanted to be found by recruiters doing city-centric searches in their home city.

In the recruiting world, companies have taken note and adapted to remote working and hiring remote sellers. Our default marching orders before Covid used to be to do city-specific sales searches (generally tied to regional territories for field sellers or near an HQ location). Post-Covid about half the formerly city-specific sales searches we were doing have been moved to nationwide searches with fluidity on territory depending on where the hires get made. For those searches, we have gone from searching “within 30 miles of NYC” to, literally “anywhere, USA”. I expect this to come back a bit when companies realize how unevenly geography-wise they have hired field reps in this period and when they see how they need to service customers in a given region without expensive and time-consuming travel to get to them. 

I, therefore, think fixed location recruiting for sales roles will still be important post-pandemic. Companies will still want to build up a sales culture in central locations like HQs or Larger satellite offices even if they now officially embrace full or partial remote working within commuting distances of those cities. Companies will also still want to hire core regional field sales roles hubbed around cities like Chicago, SF, Dallas, LA and Atlanta – reps who know the companies and the clients within those geographies. 

So what does this mean for location-fluid sellers appearing in recruiter searches and for remote sellers or location-fluid sellers that want to be found by recruiters? 

  • For these new nationwide searches, these sellers will obviously still be found regardless of what location is on their profile. 
  • For city-specific searches for, say, the city they just left, they will be found ONLY IF they do a white lie and declare that location even if they aren’t there. Recruiters are generally ok with this “bait-and-switch” approach as long as the true location is clarified by the candidate right upfront. We understand why candidates do it and sometimes the location requirements of the client are slightly fluid themselves so it all works out.
  • For city-specific searches (eg NYC), if they declare their new location, (say Florida) they will simply be skipped over.

The “white-liars” therefore get to see both types of searches. The truthful candidates don’t even if they may still be a fit based on their current location circumstances or near-term plans.

In this new world of location fluidity though, there is a lot of gray areas where companies miss out on great candidates being truthful about their current location that could still be a fit for the roles. These include candidates that…

  • might be ready to relocate back or are open to doing so
  • want to split their time between their new chosen location and their “home city” *
  •  keep a pied-a-terre/crash pad in their “home” city *
  • have great relevant contacts/ client connections in the search location

*sometimes state tax declaration reasons prevent candidates from declaring a split-interest or doing a white-lie on location. 

Forcing a candidate to lie or potentially miss out on opportunities if they do not, is far from ideal. I think there is a better way for Linkedin to support these situations. I suggest that there are a few more searchable field options that Linkedin could provide for sellers, namely a breakdown like this for recruiters to see whether candidates are officially open to opportunities or not. I think candidates should be given the option to populate new specific fields that include…

  1. A Primary location
  2. A Secondary location
  3. Core Territory hub location(s) (which may or may not be different from above).
  4. A Qualifying/clarification field about location status that isn’t dependent on them being “open to opportunities”. i.e. A field where a candidate can declare current circumstances around the location, their near term or future Intentions and lend credibility to claims on ties to a location (eg ” I have a crash pad in NYC but split time between NYC and Florida”, or “spent 10 years working as a geo rep for midwest Finserv clients out of Chicago”)

The current fixed abode stance on Linkedin isn’t really fit for purpose for a whole new class of sellers. It is high time for them to make some minor but important changes by adding such fields that are searchable to recruiters to maximize the opportunities the platform can bring.

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