How to Source Candidates for Rural Areas


Recruiting people from a rural area poses unique problems. If you operate in New York City or Los Angeles or Chicago or any number of large cities, you have millions of potential candidates within a commutable distance of your headquarters. That isn’t the case in more isolated areas. Sourcing viable candidates for open positions becomes much trickier.

Trying to find workers in a rural area means you have a narrower candidate pool. It also forces you to operate in a much larger geographical area. Meanwhile, infrastructure – things like public transportation – might be completely non-existent, making it difficult for your ideal hire to get to you.

But while finding qualified prospects in a rural area gets more complicated, the task is far from impossible. There are steps you can take to improve your ability to find the right candidates. Here are a few tips you can follow to make sourcing candidates in a rural area more fruitful:

Change Your Recruitment Process

Recruiting tactics that work well in urban settings might not succeed in more isolated areas. You will have to tailor your process to the situation, maximizing your ability to find the best talent under the circumstances.

In rural areas, you’ll have to expand your geographic area. You might receive applications from people living far away from your physical headquarters. Meanwhile, your interview process might rely more heavily on phone and video interviews.

Consider Telecommuting Options

Distance will remain a concern after the hiring decision is made. You don’t want to lose a good prospect just because they happen to live a couple of hours away.

Be flexible with scheduling and telecommuting options. That way, you keep the position viable for more candidates. Your new hire will have to come into the office for training and certain activities, but you’ll get more candidates by enabling most of the work to be done remotely.

Target Potential Rather Than Accomplishment 

In the collective imagination, rural areas are the home of farms and other similar endeavors. As such, think of your recruiting strategy along agricultural lines. Instead of finding talent, you might have to cultivate it.

You might have to change your recruitment strategy to match the realities of the marketplace. The high-experience worker might not exist in your area. So, instead, target underlying traits. Look for potential, rather than trying to find a candidate who is already fully formed.

Provide Intensified Training 

If you’re looking for diamonds in the rough, you’re going to have to do a lot of polishing. It’s just the nature of the situation.

By emphasizing talent over experience, you are effectively resolving to bring in raw recruits. You’ll have to help them overcome the learning curve. This will involve a more intensive training program, potentially with a commitment to ongoing education.

Focus on Retention

Searching for talent in a rural area can be tough. Therefore, you should do everything you can to keep the talent you have.

Provide added benefits for your current employees where you can. Also, promote from within and encourage a long-term relationship with your valued team members. This will prevent you from having to launch the difficult task of replacing the people who leave.

Recruiting in any area comes with unique problems. You need a recruiting partner who understands your unique situation. Partnering with a top-flight staffing firm, like DHR, ensures that every position gets filled with qualified, enthusiastic workers, who will grow with your company.

Contact DHR today to learn more.

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