The Journey of Rural Recruitment

By Tracy Dandeneau, Director, Recruitment Operations

Rural recruitment is a journey, one filled with its own set of challenges and rewards.  When a recruitment project leads to the heart of rural landscapes, the search process requires a unique lens and sourcing skill set. In this article, we dive into the specific challenges that hiring managers face when seeking top talent for businesses nestled in rural settings. We also explore tips to attract and engage candidates best suited for rural opportunities.

Some of the common challenges with rural recruitment are:

  • A limited talent pool
  • Local gaps in required skill sets for your organization’s needs
  • Challenges of relocation or daily commute
  • Housing shortages and lack of economical options
  • Lack of career advancement resulting in retention challenges

Below are our tips to address these challenges and support you in your rural recruitment journey.

Top 5 Tips for Rural Recruitment:

1. Ensure your job posting highlights the benefits of working for your organization and of living and working in a rural community. Focus on the ‘what’s in it for the candidate’ when writing your posting. Emphasize the benefits of rural living; limited commute, strong educational systems, sense of community and close-knit social environment.

2. Leverage your local networks. Engage with local organizations, schools, and businesses to tap into their networks. Hold a job fair at your organization with tours and sessions that offer a glimpse into your culture.

3. Clearly communicate your compensation, relocation and benefits offering.  Ensure your offer aligns with the local cost of living and provides incentives aligned to your industry and rural community living.  Consider providing relocation support. This could be assistance with securing short term as well as long term housing. Take into consideration transportation and moving expenses.

If there is initial or long-term commuting required, consider reimbursement for travel or perhaps a gas card to cover for those initial costs. Another way to support is with a package of local contact information regarding real estate, schools, banking, sporting activities and other community programs.

4. Provide learning and development opportunities and invest in long-term career growth supporting retention for the future.

5. Emphasize the positive aspects of living and working in rural areas. Rural towns have evolved, offering an array of services within the community that contribute to a better quality of life and a harmonious work-life balance. Sharing what you and your community have to offer can go a long way in securing a ‘yes’ from a top candidate. 

These tips address just a few of the challenges associated with rural recruitment, as each unique rural organization will have their own hurdles to overcome when searching for top talent to join their team.  

Taking a Strategic Approach to Rural Recruitment

Partnering with a dedicated team of recruiters with hands-on experience in rural recruitment is another option for your recruitment process. As part of our team’s rural recruitment process, we focus on building strong networks within rural communities, nurturing relationships, and cultivating a database of skilled candidates that have a previous connection to the community or are looking for a change in lifestyle. Taking the time to understand our candidates’ career aspirations and their family’s needs is at the core of our approach and is, in our experience, essential to ensuring lasting placement and fit.   

When done strategically, it is possible to uncover exceptional talent that will contribute to the continued growth of rural businesses and communities. If you are a business seeking exceptional talent, consider partnering with our team of specialized rural recruiters and together, we will embark on the journey to discover extraordinary talent for your organization.