What are the chances that the best possible candidate for your job lives within commuting distance?
How much better do you think your applicant pool would be if you could draw candidates from anywhere a job post can reach?
We know the answers to both of these questions. But I frequently hear two things from businesses that are looking to hire.
One is that they aren’t interested in attracting candidates from outside their area. This isn’t because the jobs require any knowledge of the location. They just feel that the trouble of convincing someone to relocate isn’t worth it.
I get that. Moving is a pain in the butt. It’s costly, takes a ton of time, and may involve leaving family and friends. Convincing someone to move is hard work.
The other thing I hear is that they can’t get candidates to relocate. Eventually, I think, these people become the same people who aren’t interested in attracting candidates who need to relocate.
I understand the problems, but if you’re not expanding your hiring efforts, you’re missing out.
For one, if your competitors are reaching a bigger applicant pool, it means they’ll have the opportunity to get better employees, and get ahead.
We’re also smack in the middle of one of the most difficult times to hire ever, with the lowest unemployment rate in 10 years, and the highest number of people employed.
Reaching out to attract employees from further away might just save you right now.
Here are some techniques we’ve used at Betterteam to help our clients attract employees willing to relocate.
1. Sell the Heck Out of the Job
I go more in-depth in this article, but the idea is that you need to write a job posting that’s more than just a list of the things that you want in an ideal employee.
If you want people to relocate for your job, you need to convince them that this job is worth going through the trouble of relocating for.
2. Sell the Place
Just as important as selling them on this as the job they want, you’ve got to get them excited about the place they’ll be relocating to.
Start by talking to your current employees. What do they and their families love about your city or region? Is there something they really love doing on weekends that’s special about your location?
You’ll also want to look into things like local and regional attractions, such as recreation opportunities, a great restaurant or entertainment scene, etc.
Finally, there are plenty of resources on the web that will give you information about how local schools are rated, affordability and crime rate. Just do a search for your city or region, along with “schools,” “affordability,” etc.
Here’s an example of the location section from a job posting for a company based in Austin, Texas:
Austin ranks #2 in U.S. News and World Report’s 100 best places to live! Known as the live music capital of the world, it’s got an awesome culinary scene, terrific weather and beautiful natural surroundings.
- Austin schools rank well above the national average.
- Local crime rate is well below the national average.
3. Find a receptive audience.
Ok, you’ve given them reasons to work for you and relocate to your area. How do you make sure this gets in front of a receptive audience?
For starters, once you have a great post, hit a variety of job boards that have a broad reach. Start with the big ones like Indeed and Craigslist, but look into industry specific job boards as well.
A great post on the right boards will get you started, but now let’s get a little more tricky.
Use Facebook ads to target candidates around the country.
Facebook ads allow for really precise targeting of who sees your ad.
So, for example, if you were hiring electrical engineers in a place that’s really well known for its outdoor recreation opportunities, you could create an ad aimed specifically at people in this profession who have an affinity for outdoors activities.
When you set up the ad, I recommend choosing “Conversions” under “What’s your marketing objective?” With your goal being to send people to your careers page.
When you get to the page in Facebook where you’re asked to define your audience, enter the job title. When you type it in, you’ll see the chance to specify it as a job title, and not just an interest.
Now click “Narrow Audience” and enter interests you think will be useful. See my example below.
So, you’re targeting the right people, who have an interest in a benefit your city/region offers. Be sure to mention this benefit in the ad you create. So, with the example above, you might end up with and ad like this:
Google can also help you target areas where the employees you need have been laid off.
Using Google alerts, you can get notifications for when there have been layoffs in the positions you’re hiring for.
Finally, look for local candidate magnets.
RightNow Technologies, a Montana company that was acquired by Oracle a few years ago, had trouble hiring for tech and skilled positions at their Bozeman, Montana headquarters.
Not too surprising. A lot of people would have advised them to move operations to a place like Silicon Valley.
But instead they got creative. They went to their local university and got contacts for alumni, betting that graduates who had moved away would be interested in coming back to their alma mater.
They got in contact, offering jobs and reminding former students of all the great things about Bozeman, and were able to fill many roles.
You may not have a university like this in your area, but be on the lookout for anything that would have attracted workers to the area at one point, and may be able to lure them back.
Where I live, for example, there’s a nearby ski resort and a national park. Both of these places attract people to the area for seasonal work. Chances are there’s a lot who have come for a summer or winter, gone elsewhere to finish a degree or take a career oriented job, and would love to return.
There may be opportunities to work with them and attract some of these people back to the area.
Ok, no more excuses! You’ve got the tools you need to attract more workers to relocate for your jobs. If nothing else, work on writing job postings that attract more applicants, and be sure to add a section to your postings about what’s great about your location.
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