A lot of clients come to us with the same problem — they are having a hard time trying to find skilled workers to staff up their rural offices, especially in today’s hot job market. If your business is trying to fill positions for a remote/rural location, it’s a tough feat to find talent with the right skill set along with the desire to relocate.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the top four reasons cited for people to relocate are housing (48%), family (30%), jobs (19%) and other (2%). Simply put, fewer people move because of a job and we all know that once a family is entrenched into schools and sports, is even harder to get them to move. Most choose to relocate for a better home, a better neighborhood, or to downsize their current home. Plus, more than twice as many people stay within the same county as opposed to moving to a new county, which makes selling the idea of a job transfer out-of-state even more difficult.
These factors create a challenging recruiting environment, where despite your best efforts, you may be frustrated with the slow progress or lack of response when trying to attract talent for positions in your rural locations. How do you overcome these challenges? Evaluate and amp up your sales pitch.
Jobseekers will not want to relocate without a strong impetus to do so. Offering relocation expenses is definitely one way to motivate candidates to make the leap and cross the country to join your organization. But, it’s not enough. The question is — are you giving them enough reasons to make the move? In other words, why should a candidate consider moving to work for your firm?
Based on my experience in bringing talent to rural locations, I can tell you this — you’ll have much better luck at recruiting for your rural office if you create a compelling value proposition and are able to communicate it to the right audience. So where do you start?
The 5 Cs of Recruiting Successfully in Remote Locations
The heart of a compelling pitch lies in your understanding of the local market and what may be its selling points to your potential candidates. This is hard to achieve if you haven’t first done your research. A great way to start is by looking at the 5 Cs — candidates, community, competition, company, and costs.
- Candidates. Consider the role(s) that you are hiring for. Why would a potential candidate consider working in this role for your firm? What would entice them to make a career (or location) move? Your goal here is to gain a deeper understanding of the motivations, personalities, and aspirations of potential candidates. That way you can position the role and the opportunity more lucratively and in terms that resonate with them. We often see companies understand that they will need to promote someone externally to get them to this undesirable location. When candidates want to develop and move up the career ladder, having that opportunity present itself is very attractive. In other words, don’t be afraid to hire a current manager into a director role.
- Community. When trying to convince candidates to switch to a particular location, a pertinent question is — what are the positive things about moving to this location? To answer this question, you need to perform sufficient research to understand what amenities your town offers and who they would appeal to.
For instance, a couple with kids may be interested in the fact that the community offers a lower cost of living or that housing developments in the area come with a lot of untouched open space, parks, and great schools. In contrast, a single, recent college grad may be more interested to live in close proximity to hiking, bike trails, and nearby excursions.
You also need to understand how the cost of living in the town compares to larger cities where you may be trying to recruit candidates from. This could be a huge incentive for candidates looking to buy a home, but can’t afford to do so in their current city.
- Competition. Knowing your competitors in the area helps you understand what they are doing right and where you have the advantage over them. Look at companies within your same industry as well as other prominent local employers. What benefits and perks are they offering? How does their culture and growth opportunities measure up to what you’re offering? Find these answers to create a better and more persuasive brand message
- Company. Identifying your current employees’ preferences and motivations can reveal a goldmine of information for targeting new talents. Some questions to delve into are —
- What do they like about working at your firm and what keeps them here?
- What does the career path look like for someone that works in your local office? For example, are there advancement opportunities to work at the HQ (in an urban location) later on?
- How does your compensation and benefits plan compare to your competitors?
- Does your company’s culture reflect in the local office too?
- What long-term career potential does your company offer?
- Costs. Attractive salary and relocation expenses are not the only factors of importance when it comes to getting jobseekers hooked into your offer, but they do matter, nonetheless. Thus, it’s a good idea to understand the costs and process associated with relocating candidates to a remote location (check out these relocation stats to get a better idea) After all, that’s a pretty big change you are asking them to make. And, you’ll need to sweeten the deal.
Once your basic research is done, you’re well on your way to build a well-rounded message to position the opportunity, your firm, and your community in a way that resonates with potential candidates and addresses what they care about most.
You will need to lay out the big picture plan for the role(s) you’re trying to fill. In other words, what’s the overall plan to promote/ move people to and from this location? Use current employees as examples so future employees can see the path.
Last, but not the least, when negotiating relocation with a candidate, put yourself in their shoes. Think about the needs of the person you’re trying to uproot and that will help you understand if you’re on the right track.