Hiring Tips: What to Look for in Non-Local Candidates

When you’re hiring new legal talent, it can be tempting to lean in favor of candidates who already reside in the greater Toronto area. These local candidates appear to have fewer barriers to starting their new job with your organization: They’re already present, they’re invested in the community, and they’re familiar with their surroundings.

The closest candidate in geographic terms, however, may not be the person your team needs. Here’s how to evaluate non-local candidates on the same footing as local ones.

  1. Are they a good fit for the job?

First, always focus on candidates’ skills and experience, no matter which city they call home. Without regard for location, compare your candidates based on their ability to contribute to your practice and your team.

Also, weigh each candidate’s ability to work well within your organization’s culture. Since the office becomes home away from home for many non-local candidates at first, their comfort level with your team is essential to their early success in the role.

  1. How are they planning their move?

When interviewing non-local candidates, ask them a question or two about how they envision their move to Toronto. Listen for answers that indicate candidates have already done some planning about how they’ll make the move.

Your candidates certainly can’t plan specifics until they know whether they have a job in the city. But a candidate who demonstrates that they’ve already considered things like whether to downsize their furniture or which neighborhoods meet their needs shows that they’re serious about the move – and that they understand how to predict and plan for contingencies as well.

  1. How can you help?

Just as companies tend to hire closer to their work, candidates tend to prefer jobs closer to home. If you find an outstanding candidate who lives in another city or province, think about ways you can help them embrace a job offer by making the move easier for them. For instance, you can refer them to others within the company who have made the move who can be an excellent peer resource.  Or, consider setting them up with a company mentor who can assist with the onboarding process and provide tips for the move.

At Kent Legal, our recruiters help connect law firms and legal departments in the greater Toronto area to some of the best available talent. To learn more, contact us today.

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