Recruiting Challenges and Solutions for Rural Organizations Looking to Grow

Recruiting in rural areas is a significant challenge for companies. While many businesses are headquartered in or have satellite locations scattered throughout rural areas, HR managers and recruiters still struggle to attract top-level talent.

Even as recently as a year ago, the unemployment gap between rural and urban populations was considerable. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of telecommuting, that rift has narrowed considerably, leaving both metro and rural businesses looking to rural markets to acquire competitive talent.

Today, the traditional hiring approach (or, post and pray recruiting method) is no longer practical when hiring in rural locations. To find highly qualified people for rural job openings, your company needs to consider other variables.

Here are our top four tips for recruiting the best talent for your business in a rural community!

Consider telecommuters

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a massive boon in remote work. Tapping into local companies as you create target lists is a great place to start, but don’t neglect professionals in rural locations who also telecommute. According to a study by Edelman Intelligence, freelancers make up 35% of the American workforce. Now more than ever, it’s easy to access a pool of deeply experienced and qualified freelance talent. Depending on the role you are filling, this can expand your talent search beyond the boundaries of your small town.

Consult with local institutions

Connect with local universities, chambers of commerce and other institutions related to the role you are seeking to fill. People in small towns tend to know each other on a more personal level and can help your business tap into their professional network.

Offer a robust benefits package

To attract high-quality talent to your organization, it’s also essential to offer an even more attractive benefits package. Are you willing to provide a competitive salary? Will you cover the cost of relocation expenses? Does your benefits package include top-level health insurance benefits, profit sharing and unlimited PTO? Rural companies often have to put in twice the effort of their urban competitors to entice candidates to consider the position.

Promote your community

Your candidate is not only buying into your organization but the community as well. Be ready to fields questions like average home prices in the area, local school ratings, and if the community offers ample outdoor recreation space like parks or lakes. These are all things that will help you sell the candidate on making a move to your area. To give your company serious consideration, candidates need to picture their home and work life in your community.

In a small town, a business’s reputation is their bond. Your company needs to be a positive force for the community. In time, you’ll become a trusted brand, and a business people want to work for.

Hiring for a rural position is no cakewalk. Using a cookie-cutter approach in your recruitment practices will ultimately result in too few candidates, more open positions and high turnover.

To be successful in your recruiting efforts, follow our tips and ensure your HR or recruiting professional has the expertise and perseverance to get the job done!