How do you fill a role when there is limited local talent within a specific skill set you are seeking? 
Our national teams have run hundreds of these types of searches over the past five years. We have strong opinions and anecdotal evidence as to how you can accomplish these feats. 
In order to illustrate this properly, we’ll examine a functional discipline where this problem presents throughout the United States, Fund Accounting searches outside of New York City. 
Alternative asset managers have grown tremendously outside of the Greater New York City Area, yet many find themselves in markets where potential available support staff in competitive firms are nonexistent, and comparable professionals have limited to no awareness of Private Equity Funds or Hedge Funds. 

According to research from LinkedIn Talent Insights as well as candidate populations from our proprietary database, there are around 5,000 Staff and Senior Fund Accountants in the United States.  New York has around 1,000 of these professionals. 

The top five cities include New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Salt Lake City. 

Miami has become a very popular destination for Alternative Asset Managers, however, less than 100 Staff and Senior Fund Accountants reside in the city. 

If your business moves to or is in a city like Miami, searching for this level of candidate can be difficult.  If we assume around a 10-20% turnover rate throughout the country, there may only be 4-5 viable candidates for an open position. 

When presented with this data, a specific search plan from an experienced firm is necessary to complete a search in a timely fashion. 
Here are the typical options we present in these situations, assuming the local options are not considered plausible. 

Relocation Hiring 

We have completed many searches involving relocations.  The trick is to understand the motivations for an individual to move.  Employees need a compelling reason to change their life beyond the employment opportunity.  Careful vetting is critical to completing a successful placement with this strategy.  These types of options typically take much longer and usually come with a greater cost and a higher chance of failure. 

Remote Hiring 

We saw a major surge along with the rest of the market in terms of remote hiring.  The appetite has decreased for these types of arrangements, but some firms are still utilizing this strategy.  The clear benefit is total access to the available candidate population.  We have seen extremely successful hires with remote hiring.  Because of logistical concerns, time zone, working hours, and candidate/employer planning, all are critical to ensuring a long-term successful relationship. 
Build Strategic Office, or Utilize Existing Alternative Office 

Often, firms will have a presence in multiple cities or states increasing their access to a niche candidate population.  The benefit here is that the employee will still have collaboration and engagement with other individuals from the firm.  It is important that a senior leadership professional in the organization will agree to mentor and support any hires outside of their typical structure should this strategy be employed. 

If no alternative office exists, many of our clients have tasked us with building a strategic office in cities with a larger talent pool of the near and long-term anticipated needs for the business.  This is an excellent option, and again usually needs a senior leadership professional who is motivated and empowered to manage and grow these teams. 
Finding Similar Skill Sets Locally 

When examining all options, we feel this is by far the most underrated and consistently underutilized strategy.  Options 1-3 will all provide excellent outcomes when executed with the right parameters in place, however taking the time to train a strong and motivated junior professional will typically yield equal value.  By accepting alternative skill sets, the talent pool will naturally widen within a geographical area.  The most important piece to completing a successful search with this strategy is engaging with a firm that has a history of these types of placements.  Candidates must have some type of motivation to learn these skill sets and develop industry knowledge, and that must be vetted carefully to ensure a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact our Accounting and Finance team. Additionally, if you have a difficult search or would like to learn more, be sure to check out our practice page to connect with us!  

How to Prepare for a Recruiter Interview with a Staffing Agency

Because the basis of your job will revolve around communication and sourcing, you should be going into this conversation with specific talking points and questions at the ready.