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Recently, I've noticed a couple job postings that say they'll only consider local applicants. What is the motivation for this? It seems like it shouldn't make a difference if applicants are willing to travel for interview and/or relocate on their own budget.

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You should specify how much "local" you mean: same country ? Same region ? Same city ?

As a recruiter explained me a couple of years ago, in their specific case they request only local (here local means "same small city or the neighboring area") applicants for quality of life reasons. The logic behind their decision was that the nearer the worker is to the office the better from a quality of life perspective: no long travels to/from work, maybe option to go home for lunch, possibility to take the children from school or to get through all the small tasks of the everyday life without any particular hassle.

Of course there is the other face of the medal, that they tend to not specify: you are near, so they have not to pay for travel (very rare where I live anyway) or for lunch (no tickets, no canteen) and maybe you can work some more time since being so near to home even if you work 30 minutes more in the evening you are home at a pretty decent time.

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They do not want to have to pay for travel or relocation. Even if a candidate made the trip on their own, what is to say they did not ask for relocation assistance once the offer is made. Now you have an additional expense the employer was not expecting.

I personally worked around this by removing my address from my resume and replaced it with 'relocating to the DC area' when I was targeting Washington DC for jobs.

  • 5
    Employer also weeds out all the applicants that require VISA sponsoring. – Isaiah3015 Aug 30 '18 at 23:08
  • @Isaiah3015 yes and no, they could be working for a company currently, but would require continued sponsorship. I usually see that as a separate statement to the effect that only US Citizens or Citizenship required in the posting. – Bill Leeper Aug 31 '18 at 13:58
  • Exactly this. However most employers who have it on there will have no problem if you tell them you're moving there for personal reasons and are not expecting relocation. And even if they will, trying and seeing never hurt- worst case you'll get a rejection. – Gabe Sechan Sep 4 '18 at 7:01
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I can imagine that employees who have moved to the city extra for the job are at greater risk of quickly resigning - just because they realize they do not like the city - for whatever reason: too expensive, missing friends, different culture.

  • Opposite is also true, if you moved because of the job then there are more chances you endure a job which doesn't fit because of the expenses and troubles of relocation – Adriano Repetti Aug 31 '18 at 7:43
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There is a number of reasons for the employer to post "local only candidates" offer. In reality, it doesn't mean that company only considers local employees - I was leading a project in Frankfurt in 2015-2017 and most of my recruiters could only find people from London or Berlin, so I posted "local only", knowing that our recruiters will cover London and Berlin pool of candidates.

I can think of some other reasons:

  • They want to hire somebody really fast, maybe even interview within a week. They had a bad experience recently, and just want to avoid it.
  • For some reason they might think it's easier to get a culture fit. Once colleague of mine was complaining that their hire spent 2 month trying to find a suitable apartment, and then just left. If that happens twice in a row - I can imagine employer being a bit afraid for a period.
  • As in my example - they have other agents/recruiters looking globally.
  • Could be "Agency Experience Mentality" - Employer might believe that there is something about local people, that will give them specific perspective. Usually ad agencies organisations for example try to find people with "Agency experience".
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Recently, I've noticed a couple job postings that say they'll only consider local applicants. What is the motivation for this?

Some companies conclude (usually through experience) that hiring non-local workers isn't working out for them, and choose to avoid the hassle.

Sometimes the local market for talent is rich enough that there is no need for non-locals.

Sometimes they have been burned by applicants travelling long distances who later drop out of the running after several interviews.

Sometimes the company just wants to support the local economy.

Lots of reasons, lots of possible motivations.

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