5 Strategies for Recruiting in Rural Areas

September 16, 2013

Despite continued high unemployment, many companies struggle to hire qualified talent, particularly for executive and professional positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that between 2010 and 2020 job growth will be 15.7% for accountants, 20.5% for human resources professionals and 22.2% for certain technology roles. 

These factors create a difficult recruiting environment for many employers. Companies in non-major rural markets face an even bigger challenge than their metropolitan counterparts when trying to fill professional positions, given the talent landscape in their communities.

There are many great companies located in rural or non-major markets, and they want the best and brightest people working for them. If you’re one of these companies, attracting the best talent will take extra effort, but it is certainly possible. Below are some hey strategies for doing so:

1.  Review your position specification, which we refer to as the “success profile.” Determine what is truly required, preferred or a plus with respect to education, certification, experience, skills, personality traits and management style. Be flexible and stick to those skills and experiences that are truly critical for success in the role.

2. Develop strategies to locate candidates that once lived in or grew up in your market or a similar one. Make sure that your current employees are aware of the opening and that you have a strong employee referral program in place so that they can tap into their personal networks to refer qualified candidates.

3. Be prepared to articulate a realistic vision for future growth to prospective candidates. In order to entice candidates to leave the safety and security of their current position, they need to know that your company offers long-term career potential.

4. Provide relevant and up-to-date information on your business regarding strategy, financial strength, trends and differentiators. Top-level candidates want to be a part of a growing, forward-thinking organization.

5. Offer information to prospective candidates about your community and the broader marketplace including schools, demographics, business environment and housing. In order to give your company serious consideration, candidates will need to be able to picture their future home life as well as their work life.

With these recruiting strategies, you’ll be in a position to attract top- level, professional talent. A non-major market can be just as enticing as the big city—you just have to present it as such.

For more recruiting tips, read the full whitepaper here.

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