Hunted Worldwide: Nashville

It’s consistently voted one of the friendliest cities in America.

The music capital of the United States. And arguably, the world.

Nash Vegas. Cashville. The Athens of The South.

I spoke with digital, tech, and FS specialists Orbis Consultants, who previously did us the honour of showing us round New York, to get the lowdown on what it’s like recruiting in Nashville Tennessee.

Market Overview

In recent years, the market in Nashville’s grown solidly. It’s a big hub for diverse, tech-centric industries: healthcare, finance, the automotive sector and, of course, music.

Nissan have their North American HQ here.

UBS have their Business Solutions Centre here.

AllianceBernstein picked Nashville as their global HQ, moving here last year.

And when big companies do that, they hire hundreds – if not thousands – of staff. Case in point: last year, Amazon, who admittedly don’t use recs, opened their Operations Centre of Excellence in Nashville, filling 5,000 jobs in the process.

So in short, there’s a lot of recruitment going on. Particularly when a big name announces a new HQ. But that’s on top of day to day business. And as more companies establish offices or bring certain functions over from New York, Chicago, etc, that will only increase.

Contract Vs Perm

Generally speaking, the US is quite perm-heavy. That’s not to say contract recruitment doesn’t have its place. In fact, the rate markets grow here, and the nature by which they do – that is, booming – mean there’s a rich well of talent to both draw from and move around.

Tennessee’s an “employment at will” state, which means employees can leave a company whenever they choose. Which means taking someone from a perm role and popping them into a lucrative contract got that much easier.

Professional Community

I’ve mentioned a lot of big hitters across different industries, but Nashville’s home to a solid startup space too. So the professional community here’s reasonably diverse.

Similar to London, your chances of finding someone who grew up here is a bit of a coin flip. So typically, the line between colleagues and friends is likely to be blurred. And that’s further enabled by the number of meetups you’ve come to expect in a big city.

Orbis are new to Nashville, and are in the process of building a network of C-level execs to create stronger links between businesses local to the region. If you want to be a part of laying the groundwork for that, click here.

Business Culture

If you’re coming from the UK, you’ll find the market’s less crowded. And generally, the industry’s less regulated.

In the US, a career in recruitment’s something you’d work towards, rather than fall into.

That said, it can be a slightly more chilled working environment. The thing about us Brits is we’ve no problem working hard, but we aren’t always the best at working smart.

And in Nashville, it’s in your best interests to finish up and be out the office on time: with the nightlife on your doorstep, you’ll have plenty of options to develop extracurricular business relationships too.

Language

It’s America, so you’ll be speaking English here. Although due to the melting pot of cultures, Spanish and Arabic speakers should also be able to get by pretty well.

Business Development

Some of the larger US recruitment agencies have made their way down here. Some of which sit onsite at the big clients in an RPO capacity.

Internal recruitment’s the order of business. And there’s a knack to operating in that space. Otherwise, it’s a frontier to be conquered by agency recruiters.

In fact, identifying which companies will work with you, and which never will – and picking your battles accordingly – might be one of your main challenges.

The CBD

Nashville has zones. Downtown’s the central one, where most of the high rises are. You can walk across it in under ten minutes.

It’s where you’ll find Broadway, the Convention Centre, and more honky tonk music than you’ve ever heard in one place before.

Then just outside, you’ve got built up neighbourhoods retaining a downtown feel. There’s Germantown, which you’ll find, ironically, is quintessentially American. East Nashville’s a bit like Shoreditch or Brooklyn. And the Gulch is one of the trendy areas, with a healthy contingent of companies based there.

Dress

More business casual than casual. You’ve got to dress to meet your market, obviously. But shirts, definitely, if not full suits. You’d be unlikely to rock up to a meeting in jeans and a polo, put it that way.

Travel

Nashville’s one of 6 cities in the US where 3 interstates connect, making it an easily accessible location. The WeGo Public Transit system keeps the city well-connected, with over 46 different bus routes. The Music City Star Train has limited service but links the city and nearby neighbourhoods.

In downtown, you’re better off walking. Although if you’re in a rush, Uber and Lyft cost peanuts. And as with most American cities, there are electric scooters you can hop on to nip about when you need to.

Life in the city

Weather

Mild winters and subtropical summers (90+ fahrenheit, around the mid-30s in celsius). It’s humid too, but then that’s what air conditioning was invented for.

Failing that, splaying under a tree and not moving is a free, environmentally friendly option too.

Housing

Due to continued investment in the city, there are plenty of new developments with more coming. Modern apartments with great facilities like pools, tennis courts, and dog parks on site.

If you’re renting, the average you’ll pay’s about $1,500.

If you’re in the market to buy, just a few minutes outside of downtown you can find acres of land if you wanted to live out the picturesque American dream. That could set you back a million bucks. Although, if you’re clever, patient, and a bit canny, it could only cost a third of that.

Food

Nashville’s dining scene’s known for next level chicken, barbecued everything, and something called “Meat & Three” meals (pick one meat and three sides). But make sure to check out the myriad dive bars, fine dining options, dinner theatres, and farmers’ markets to really get a sense of what’s on offer – you’ll be spoiled for choice and unlikely to be disappointed.

Japanese fusion restaurant The Green Pheasant comes highly recommended by the team at Orbis.

Outdoor Space

If you want a taste of the great outdoors, Nashville has some fun places to explore. Zipline through the trees, play a round of golf, hike the trails in Warner Parks, or take part in Nashville Running Tours.

And there’s plenty else to keep you busy, like kayaking in the Cumberland River, walking through botanical gardens, and B-cycle bike sharing for a day trip round the city.

Social Scene

They call Nashville ‘Music City’. And you’ve got the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Music City Walk of Fame, plenty of tours and live music on virtually every street.

You can find out more about what musical goodness is on offer, here

Sport’s absolutely massive in Nashville too. At the time of writing, the Predators – Nashville’s ice hockey team in the NHL’s western conference, central division – are currently fifth in a tight league. The Tennessee Titans just missed out on a playoff spot. And Nashville SC are brand new to Major League Soccer this year.

Family

Nashville’s home to a university ranked 15th in the country: Vanderbilt – or Vandy, between you and I.

It’s cranked out a number of Academy and Grammy Award, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. So if you’ve got similar planned for your little ones, this is one heck of a place for them to go to uni.

Cost of Living

While the potatoes here are the 14th most expensive in the world (?!), Nashville’s cheaper than London and New York City, with most living cost calculators putting it between 30% and 60% less than the Big Apple.

There’s a much more in depth break down here.

One thing which makes a massive difference to the cost of living here is…

Tax

…there’s no state income tax in Nashville.

According to Google, “the minimum combined 2020 sales tax rate for Nashville, Tennessee is 9.25%. This is the total of state, county and city sales tax rates. The Tennessee sales tax rate is currently 7%. The Davidson County sales tax rate is 2.25%.”

If you’re curious, there’s a really thorough breakdown from the Tennessee State Department, here.

Visas

The US state dept’s Directory of Visa Categories has plenty of information on the myriad options available.

The most relevant option for Recruiters is the E2 visa.

You’ll likely need 3 years’ (minimum) experience, plus a degree, in order to get approval. 4 without.

Visa applications usually take about 6 weeks to process and there’s a warmish 60%-70% chance of approval. If you tick all the right boxes.

International Travel

Nashville’s Airport serves 540 daily commercial flights to 75 nonstop markets. It’s now the 33rd busiest airport in the US. Take direct flights to popular cities around the country, including LA, Miami, Boston, Denver, and Seattle.

And not to worry, direct flights to London go via British Airways.

Final bit of trivia for you here: Nashville Airport was the first in the country to allow ride-sharing.


Orbis Consultants made their name in some of the most competitive markets known to man. You can find out more about them by revisiting that time I asked Co-Founder Craig what it was like starting a business with his best mate.

And next stop en route to world domination for Orbis is launching their Nashville office. If you want to be part of that, click right here.