Can Employers Afford to Focus on Hiring Local Talent?

Can Employers Afford to Focus on Hiring Local Talent?
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Recruiters and hiring managers have long used job boards and social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) to recruit candidates, but some still rely on more traditional methods such as foot traffic, in-person job fairs, ads in local newspapers, and networking via civic organizations such as a chamber of commerce or the Rotary Club. 


Hiring locally boosts the local economy, helps a business stay community-minded, and streamlines what can be a complicated onboarding process – nearby candidates have no relocation expenses, usually can start sooner, and are more “known” commodities.


[RELATED: MOAA’s Job Board, Powered by Indeed]


But like so many parts of our lives, the pandemic forced significant changes in established practices.


As video interviews became the norm, employers quickly realized they could hire the best talent from anywhere. And the notion of “local” became less and less important as more positions moved to telework – about 56% of full-time U.S. employees told Gallup they could do their job fully remote.


Not surprisingly, the same poll found remote-capable employees who don’t work in their preferred location are more likely to experience burnout and have a desire to quit. Even though employers may prefer a qualified local candidate, the tight labor market and demand for talent makes that demand far less important than in previous years.


That doesn’t mean job-seekers should ignore their local networking options – many of MOAA’s nearly 400 chapters have liaisons to their local business communities and can provide a leg up in your employment search. For more resources, both local and national, visit


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.