Recruiting Talent in Rural America

Talent wins! Recruiting the talent needed to win has become increasingly difficult over the past decade, particularly in rural areas. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary reason is simply that the talent pool is much smaller than in urban areas.

When recruiting in rural areas, utilize the following strategies to aid in locating and acquiring talent.

Employ a proactive recruiting strategy. The practice of posting jobs and praying for talent to apply only leads to jobs that remain unfilled for months on end. The passive candidate market is where you’ll find talent, but you must be prepared to sell those candidates on why their future will be better with your company vs. their current one.

Build a strong employer brand. In rural areas, reputation matters. If you build a brand around factors that will motivate candidates to join your company, you will be the employer of choice in the immediate area. Some of these motivators are security, prestige, career momentum, and lifestyle. While pay and benefits are important to candidates, the aforementioned motivators will spark interest and inspire them to explore your available opportunities.

Be prepared to sell your company and the unique attributes of your town and area. Are there lakes, great hiking, or camping? What about a sense of community and belonging that has long been lost in urban areas? How does the school system rank? The cost of living is an attribute that should be mentioned. Contact your chamber of commerce to obtain statistics and selling points about your area as well.

Evaluate the skills necessary to perform the job. You may be able to increase your talent pool if you discover that some skills could crossover from other industries.

If the position allows it, consider recruiting work-from-home employees. Many workers have become quite efficient while working from their home offices. Allowing a position to be worked remotely dramatically increases your talent pool, and recent studies have shown remote workers are happier, more engaged, and more productive.

Enlist outside recruiting help. Many search firms have experience recruiting in rural areas, and they know where the talent is located and how to approach them. They can also assist with onboarding new hires and may have relocation experts as part of their ecosystem.