How to recruit in rural areas

August 17, 2020 Mary Lorenz

While many companies nationwide, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, have made the transition to a remote workforce, some businesses still depend on workers to be on site for certain roles.

For companies located in more remote areas, this has never been an easy endeavor. If your business is located in a rural area and depends on having employees on site for certain roles, use the following tips for finding and recruiting quality candidates for your open positions.  

Play it safe

As coronavirus continues to spread, employees may be (understandably) nervous or anxious about being in an office or physical workplace, and the implications it may mean for their health and safety. They need to be sure the company they work for has a plan and processes in place to protect them.

Whenever and wherever you are reaching out to prospective job candidates, make it clear that their safety is your top priority, and highlight the steps you are taking to accommodate employee concerns, adhere to local, state and federal guidelines, and keep them safe. 

Separate your must-haves from your nice-to-haves

Take another look at your job description and ask yourself if all your “required” qualifications are truly critical to the role, or if you can transfer a few to the “preferred” list.

Consider what skills a candidate absolutely needs coming in, and which ones they can learn on the job. Creating a little wiggle room in your job requirements can go a long way in widening your pool of potential candidates.

Give them an offer they can’t (easily) refuse

Before applying to or accepting a job, candidates want to know, “What’s in it for me?” Don’t shy away from addressing what makes your company a great place to work. Perhaps it’s your unique company culture, the opportunity to move up quickly or a strong focus on work-life balance.

Whatever your strengths are, play them up and place stress on the perks they might not find elsewhere. In fact, make sure you highlight any unique benefits of your company’s location, such as a lower cost of living, better schools, nearby parks or attractions, or a strong sense of community.

Ask current employees what they like about working for your company and weave that into your message as well. While you’re at it, ask if there are any benefits they’d like to see, and that could strengthen your employee value proposition even more.

Enlist the help of current employees

Your employees can be some of your best recruiters. Consider creating an employee referral program, and incentivize employees to refer people in their network to your jobs. Then ask your most engaged employees to offer written or video testimonials or participate in day-in-the-life videos, which you can include on your company career page and on social media.

These tactics help prospective employees see what it’s like to work for your company – and everything they have to gain as a result – from those who know it best.

Partner up

In addition to listing jobs as you normally would on job posting sites and social media, go one step further and partner with local colleges, universities, trade schools, chambers of commerce or industry associations to advertise your job postings and participate in (virtual) career fairs.

Don’t discount staffing firms, either. A local staffing firm can bring in candidates you might not find elsewhere, and they can help you position your company as a workplace of choice for quality candidates.  

Want to learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting the workforce? Download our recent survey results guide.

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