Construction hiring managers are finding it more and more difficult to bring in the better qualified and driven candidates, while in-house hiring teams are pressured to get the open positions filled. According to the 2019 Sage Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey from January of this year, 77% of construction companies plan to expand their payroll in 2019, all while the US census is still reporting the unemployment rate under 4%.
Recruitment and Executive professionals may entertain options on interview that can be interpreted by the interviewee as givens, however they become disillusioned when exercising the option and learn that it is not going to happen, or at least not anytime soon. One of those situations we encounter repeatedly, is that their current employer offered on interview the potential to relocate to another location during their foreseen tenure at the company. The employee finds out when going to exercise the option, that relocation was only an enticement to get them to sign on. The employee then wants to leave, not only to achieve their relocation goal, but because they are disenchanted with the credibility of the company they work for.
Asking on interview if the company offers location transfers to their other offices may not be enough if a future company transfer is important to you. Many companies have multiple office and geographic project locations, although personnel are hired in for a region, division or specific project. It is more an exception than the norm for a company to transfer employees from division to division. How do you confirm the company you are hiring on with does in fact offer geographic transfers, and even if they do you will fit into the other region’s workforce?
1. Once the hiring manager has verbally stated a geographic transfer is available, ask if you can meet the hiring manager from the office or region you are seeking to transfer to.
Speaking with the hiring manager from the reciprocal office will give you verification not only to a possible transfer, but it will also give you the opportunity to see if the office you are desiring due to location is also the office you would desire all together. A company office out of Virginia could specialize in large Federal projects, whereas the same company’s office out of Florida could build all multi-family and you have no experience with multi-family or you just don’t like it.
2. Inquire if the company has a written transfer policy.
Many companies have multiple locations, but if they do not have shared services for human resources, risk management and legal it may be too time consuming and costly for them to transfer you verses hiring someone local to the region already. Companies that are equipped to handle inter office transfers will typically have written policy as to the process for applying, approval and execution of your request.
3. Process the promise yourself by verifying what makes sense from a business prospective.
If you plan on moving in a year, and are hiring in for a project just mobilizing with a twenty-four-month schedule, would it make sense for the employer to pull you from the project? The only way possible would be if your role is somehow phased out by that stage in the project or they have someone coming off another project already trained to step in. Then the stars align need to align on the other end where you would be relocating to. Construction typically does not afford a perfect timing match in two locations, even in this hot market.
4. Ask for the location and the on or before transfer date to be included in the offer letter.
FLCC has negotiated several of these transfers for candidates over the years. It is a more likely option for estimators or other office-based staff because those positions do not require working around project schedules. Typically, the offers are worded “If a position opens up in the (Office Location) for a (Name of Position) employee will be offered the opportunity to apply for the transfer and relocate with mutual coordination between current and future supervisor. It is much more difficult to coordinate a transfer for field- based roles. The diversity of project teams and titles vary from location to location along with the items mentioned in the above talking points.
5. Demonstrate your requirement and timing for a future transfer.
Discuss up-front with your future employer, including your direct supervisor, your timeline and steps to prepare for the move. The discussion may go as follows: “I will accept the position here in New York, although I plan to relocate to Florida, no later than the beginning of the school year 2021 to be closer to family. Based on the anticipated project schedule, I will be able to complete the current project and provide flexibility with timing for the transfer to your Florida office.” Make it a discussion and listen to potential roadblocks and their support of your move. They may support the move, but not necessarily to work for their Florida office. As you take steps to prepare for your move, including selling your house, your spouse transferring their job etc.., communicate in writing to your supervisor that you are still moving forward. If you visit the new location, make sure to visit the office and supervisor to build that relationship and feel out if the welcome mat is open and the timing will align. Also, do not make assumptions that the employer will assist financially or with paid time off for the move. After all, you are the initiator.
If you are working for a true leader and professional organization, they will value your forthrightness to the length of your local commitment. If you care about your professional rating, you will be more likely to be bold enough to discuss mutual benefit and understand your options before accepting the position, instead of assuming a transfer is an actual option. If you don’t verify, it can surely be denied.