How much of a barrier is location when recruiting?

By Mairead Simons

Remote working has now had a hold over many of the industries in the UK for over 2 years. With WFH as a new option, lots of organisations have been opened up to explore potential candidates without even thinking about their location. However, with many companies now being pushed to make the long-put off return to the office, they may find a whole range of new challenges when they decide to start recruiting.


Not only will there be plenty of ‘pandemic hires’ who will struggle significantly with integrating into an office which may be much further a field than they would ever have considered pre-remote working but hiring managers will now be coming across issues in recruitment that did not exist when home-working 100% of the time was the norm. Taking on home-based employees in Scotland for your office based in Cornwall might have seemed like the answer to all your prayers in the midst of 2020 however this may not be sustainable in the long term and hiring managers will have to be mindful of this when recruiting. 

Although there will be organisations who are now perfectly designed to incorporate both office and home workers, those who are expected to be office-based once again might face problems when recruiting. There are certain companies / offices for whom this will not be a problem, for example London, Manchester and Birmingham will more than likely have enough talent within reach that the location of an office will not be a dealbreaker. However, if your main office is not situated in a major city or heavily populated area, the location can be a huge barrier when recruiting. Interviewing alone, when candidates are expected to physically go into the office, can be a problem especially when candidates are already in work and trying to arrange interviews around their current working patterns. 

For higher-paying roles, candidates will often be more open to travelling a further distance a few days of the week, but employees on lower salaries might not be able to do the same, so this will be something to factor in when thinking about how far a field to recruit from.

A flexible approach is going to be needed to make sure recruitment efforts aren’t hindered by location. Actively getting candidates into an office might have to be an ‘every now and then’ thing rather than an every day thing. At the end of the day, the larger the radius you are looking in, the more suitable and available candidates you will encounter.

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