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4 Keys to Recruiting Top Talent in Remote Locations


Recent studies have shown that prosperity growth and new venture creation in remote locations often outperform their metropolitan counterparts. Research has also illustrated the demographic challenges of recruitment and retention in more remote geographies.

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Leveraging regional and company differentiators can provide a significant competitive advantage when recruiting talent in remote locations. Results from our Talent Acquisition Profile Survey teased out the following high importance dimensions of talent attraction to business owners and hiring managers:

Culture Alignment, Employee Value Proposition, Defined Recruiting Process and Proactive Sourcing. The remainder of this material will focus on these four characteristics in the context of recruiting in remote, rural geographies.

1. Culture Alignment

Strong business outcomes, financial performance and specific types of cultures have never been linked. However, an individual’s performance and tenure with an organization can be tied directly to person-organization fit, often referred to as culture alignment. Recent work with a cooperative in outstate Minnesota supports this:

  • It was understood that a new leader with the cooperative needed to share the values of the employees, shareholders, the board of directors, and other upstream and downstream constituencies. Locating candidates that share those values is the foundation for a successful search.
  • One example of these values, from a 7 dimension opposing values culture model, is innovation. The cooperative is an industry leader that continues to innovate while balancing the interests and responsibilities that are unique to cooperative structures. A significant piece of the culture fit puzzle is to seek out and attract leaders that possess this bias to innovation with values that align with the cooperative’s principles.

Discussing the culture of continuous improvement and measured innovation early in the search process enabled a very rich pool of candidates that possessed a very important shared value, among others. Building a comprehensive high-performance candidate model, that integrates values among other competencies, is an important foundation for talent acquisition success.


2. Employee Value Proposition

Communicating what drives your team and stories that reflect your values are extremely important to share with candidates very early in the process. This allows you the opportunity to check for alignment and also allows the candidate to self-deselect if there is a misalignment. To start developing, or refining, an employee value proposition try brainstorming by asking your leadership team and employees:

  1. How does your organization differentiate itself in the marketplace?
  2. Why do your top performing employees stay with your firm?
  3. What has their experience been? What engages these top performers to make their work meaningful?
  4. Where is the organization going and how do great employees support this growth?
  5. What are your company values that support a great experience?
  6. How do employees benefit from your company’s leadership style/structure?
  7. What is attractive about your rewards or recognition program?
  8. What are the shared values that bring vitality and strength to your workforce?
  9. What does the future hold for your company in terms of innovation and continuous improvement?
  10. What do you and your colleagues enjoy about the region, community, and location? Share why you live there and what it means to you.

When communicating with prospective talent, from social media to in-person contact, presenting a well thought-out and meaningful employee value proposition separates you and your organization from the pack.

3. Proactive Sourcing

Identifying and attracting high-potential candidates should be as consistent and mainstream as your accounts receivables and payables process and receive just as much attention. Underpinned by a strong employee value proposition, reaching out and proactively sourcing talent brings results. “OK – that’s all great and wonderful but how do you find them?”

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Rural-to-rural. Individuals that originate from rural communities are more likely to understand and appreciate the values of working in a smaller community.
  • Timing. Many people return to their hometown, or like communities, for many reasons. Presentation of an exciting career opportunity may be the only obstacle left in their decision making to return to a more rural setting.
  • Partnership. Active support of educational institutions, community, nonprofits, and economic development corporations can lead to productive candidate sourcing channels.
  • Industry. When attending trade or association meetings proactive recruiting should be an expected outcome on par with meeting potential clients. Events that draw on a national basis provide access to a geographically disperse candidate pool that has something significant in common with your firm.

Related Post: 5 Tips on How to Find Best Fit Candidates ➢



4. Defined Recruiting Process

Recruiting for remote locations often involves more expenses related to travel, lodging, entertainment and time. Considerable effort, time and money can be wasted on an ill-defined recruiting process and poor candidate experience. Why bother to actively recruit someone, paying for mileage or airfare, lodging and other expenses and then provide a subpar experience? Convert a very event-driven process to one that is reliable, repeatable and successful. Some elements include:

  • Effective workforce planning that captures the current state, desired state and talent gaps within your organization.
  • Strong messaging driven by the employment value proposition that reflects the culture and values of the firm.
  • Proactively source talent with rural and smaller community experience from schools, universities, competitors, adjacent industries, and employee referrals.
  • Effective systems that support and nurture the talent pipeline.
  • A consistent and effective presence on social media and an excellent career site that support all facets of talent attraction principles.

To conclude, remote locations add a layer of complexity and difficulty to attracting talent but the principles remain the same. An organization’s culture and track record of innovation are distinct advantages when recruiting in difficult geographies. Building a robust recruiting process, that acts as an ambassador for your firm in the talent and commercial marketplace, will help you see opportunities where others see impossibilities.



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