Needle in a Haystack: How to Successfully Recruit in Rural Communities

ruralYou just landed a large staffing assignment with a great company. Only catch is:  It’s in a rural community.  Dial-up Internet.  No health club.  And the nearest Starbucks is 120 miles away.

No matter how great the workplace, sourcing talent in this scenario isn’t easy. But it is possible. A 2012 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior study found that 83 percent of millennials and 58 percent of baby boomers are willing to relocate for the right position.  Here are five ways to help geographically-challenged clients attract and retain the most capable candidates.

1. Understand Candidate Motivation. Seventy-three percent of workers say they would leave their current job for more money; 62 percent say they would make the switch for more responsibility and advancement opportunities according to a 2013 CareerBuilder job panel survey.  The takeaway? Money talks, but even if you can’t offer an above-market rate salary, make the job the differentiator. Sell candidates on the chance to make a big short-term impact and demonstrate the relationship of the job to the company’s growth plans.

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2. Lead With Your Strengths. A company’s reputation and culture can be a big draw.  You’ll also want to stress your locale’s quality of life advantages such as lower housing prices, crime rates and cleaner air. Showcase positive media coverage of the community, including civic clubs, activities and recreational opportunities.  This will help you appeal to candidates with young families as well as boomers and empty nesters looking to relocate to a place where their money can go further.
3. Get Social. Create a compelling social media presence that shows potential candidates why the organization is a great place to work and include testimonials from happy, fulfilled employees.  Use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to reach out to nearby users and ask them to retweet or spread the word to prospective candidates. Search these networks by keyword, location and education and contact potential candidates directly.
4. Recommend Relo Benefits. Offering relocation assistance – even with the stipulation that a new hire stay with the company for a specified period of time – shows the candidate that the employer  is committed, which makes uprooting feel less risky.
5. Remote Possibility.  Finally, if you can’t find local talent and aren’t having luck convincing candidates to relocate, consider making it a telecommuting position. Posting your remote work opportunity listing on industry-specific national job sites will attract an exponentially larger pool of qualified candidates and can be an extremely viable option, if the nature of the work allows.

MORE: New Recruits in the War for Talent

Chris Skerrett

Chris Skerrett
Chris Skerrett is a regional sales manager in CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group. He leads a team of major account executives in providing effective recruiting solutions to midsize to large staffing and recruiting firms throughout the U.S.

Chris Skerrett

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One Response to “Needle in a Haystack: How to Successfully Recruit in Rural Communities”

  1. michele_ellner_montage says:

    Love the article and the angle of advice. I’d like to add one more – leverage video. We’ve had a lot of success helping firms and companies recruit overcoming the geo challenge. The video interview helps the rural company show their tech savvy and show off their brand and quality of work/life. Small town doesn’t mean small tech!

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