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5 Tips for Recruiting Big Talent to Small Towns


Many top candidates look for job opportunities in bigger cities. If your company is located in a small town, you may feel your candidate pool is limited. However, with the right strategies and effort, you can change that (not to mention that workers have been leaving expensive urban hubs in record numbers). Let’s discuss a few ways to bring top candidates to rural environments.

1. Consider Remote Employees

In 2020, a Gallup poll found 65% of respondents wanted to work remotely. In August of 2021, 41% of employees who transitioned to remote work during the pandemic said they didn’t want to go back to the office, and would consider seeking new, remote employment if that were mandated. Today’s workforce overwhelmingly has embraced remote work, so if you’re finding out that there are limited talent pools in your small towns, consider offering remote opportunities if your business model supports that option.

HiringThing has been fully remote since 2012. Our Remote Work Hub is a collection of our remote-work insights. In charge of hiring, but have a boss who’s skeptical of remote work? Here’s how to convince them to let you recruit for remote positions! Never recruited remotely before? Check out our Virtual Recruitment Guide!

2. Actively Recruit Outside Your Geographic Locale

To recruit big talent, you must first find the talent. Never settle on candidates just because they live nearby. You may miss opportunities to welcome skills and ideas that could expand your company and increase its revenue — a major need for many businesses. Peruse candidates in big cities and outside your normal hiring circles. Use social media and networking to find potential hires and spread the word about open positions. There are many job boards that help you target different geographic regions.  Need some help on which boards to choose? Check out our Seven Steps to Selecting the Right Job Board!

An applicant tracking system (ATS) can help small and medium sized businesses (SMB) organize and streamline your hiring process so you can focus on attracting the type of candidates you’d like. For businesses with more complex hiring needs like franchises, multi-location businesses, and HR Solutions (like the PEOs and ASOs many SMB employ), a private label ATS is the recommended solution. What’s a private label ATS? Let us explain!

3. Discuss What Candidates Want

For individuals to relocate their families to smaller towns, they need incentives. If you’ve found top candidates, discuss their workplace desires and what gives them the most job satisfaction. Find out what would most excite and motivate them to work at your company. Make sure to highlight the benefits that small-town living can offer – such as lower cost of living, more interconnected communities, and shorter commutes. Additionally, the location might not be a dealbreaker if your company can offer the working environment (or benefits) that matter. For example, Glassdoor’s Workplace Trends report found today’s workers overwhelmingly want a flexible environment at work.

What do today’s job candidates want? We have a blog exploring just that, or check out The HiringThing Guide to Increasing Your Applicant Traffic to see how to revamp your entire hiring strategy to increase the types of candidates your organization seeks.

4. Promote Your Community

Candidates should be excited not only about working for your company, but also about living in your specific area. Spend time acquainting them with the local community and its amenities. If you live in a very small area, introduce candidates to locals they could befriend or network with, show them possible housing options, and discuss the current housing market. If they have families, discuss the schools and any other parts of the community in which they will be involved. Moving to a smaller town will affect their entire lifestyles, so highlight what will get them excited (authentically, of course) about the positive lifestyle changes your community can afford.

5. Be Willing to Provide Perks

To attract top talent to your small area, create an attractive package. Offer a competitive salary, even though the cost of living will be fairly low compared to the big city. Additionally, consider other perks, such as the payment of relocation expenses, excellent benefits, unlimited paid time off, etc. Remember, you must work harder than urban employers to entice candidates outside of your geographic area to even consider the position.

Because many individuals want to expand their careers in bigger cities, companies in rural communities are often overlooked. However, with the right strategies, you can entice top candidates to join your team and your small town. These individuals may be exactly what you need to take your company to the next level.

Infographic answering the question "What Benefits Are Most Valued by Job Seekers?"

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Author: Alisiana Peters

Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.