Infographic: Attracting Big Talent to Small Towns


Stating that there is currently a shortage of skilled workers in the US is somewhat of an understatement. According to a recent study carried out by Korn Ferry, the global talent crunch will exceed 35.2 million people by 2030. Businesses in small towns and cities are naturally hit harder due to an already limited talent pool.

With that being said, the situation isn’t as dire as it might seem. Every small town has their own unique set of advantages which, if marketed correctly to the right candidates, can comfortably secure top talent.

To help further your cause, in this blog, we’ll share a couple of strategies that prove effective in attracting big talent to small towns.

Identify your City’s Unique Strengths

The strongest competitive advantage available for businesses in smaller settings is to leverage their city’s unique benefits and brand the organization accordingly. Emphasize the culture and benefits not available in larger cities. Not everyone wants to live in a large metropolitan city, and by emphasizing the wonderful quality of life available for those living in small towns, companies can use that to their strong advantage.

The cost of living is typically substantially lower in small towns, and this can be extremely enticing to many candidates. Large numbers of people place a higher value on being able to afford a large house for a lower payment as opposed to living in the city.

Once a company has identified a group of candidates and is bringing them in for interviews, consider having a local experienced real estate agent gather a list of homes in a wide range of prices to share.

You should also ask those final contenders what types of activities that they would be interested in exploring while in town.

For example, we have seen companies set up trips to nearby lakes for a few hours of fishing, or boating. Or perhaps hire an instructor for a rock-climbing session. Not only are such benefits relatively inexpensive, but they’re also tantalizingly attractive for city dwellers that wish to live and work close to nature.

The key is to find out what your candidates find most appealing. 

Aside from scenic beauty, even simple offerings like a museum, smaller classroom sizes, open access to the sea, or a quaint downtown area positively impact recruitment efforts. According to Harvard Business Review, a whopping 80% of employees are willing to weigh quality of life advantages over a pay rise.

The key is to effectively weave such benefits into the marketing and recruitment strategy for maximum impact.

Know Your Audience

As mentioned in the previous point, the key to attracting the right talent is fine-tuning your recruitment strategies. In order to achieve your goal, you need to be aware of the interests and hobbies of your desired candidates.

  • Begin by targeting people that have moved out of your town to larger cities but may be interested in coming back. Pulling lists of graduates from local high schools and colleges is a terrific place to start. You should also advertise in local areas, with the hope that family members currently living in town will share those ads with others that may be right for the role.
  • If your area is known for fishing, consider placing an ad in a fishing magazine. If your location is known as a terrific bird watching area, focus on targeting bird watchers. You get the idea. Remember to cast a wide net. Your goal should be to catch the attention of all potential candidates…or their spouses.
  • The key is to consider what makes your area unique, and then seek out qualified candidates that would place value on those aspects.

Remote Working

Millennials want to work from home and we are seeing more and more highly sought after candidates turning down lucrative offers altogether when they are not afforded the ability to have some flexibility in their work week. Capitalize on this trend by offering workers the opportunity to work from home. By offering virtually based work options, you can dramatically increase your candidate pool. Even if employees need to be physically based in your headquarter city, if you can offer them the ability to work remotely at least part time, you will position yourself well above the competition that is not open to this relatively new concept. In addition to increasing the list of potential candidates, your business will also experience increased productivity, loyalty, and motivation.

If you’re serious about hiring qualified workers, please consider utilizing the services of an experienced recruiting team. Since 1999, International Search Consultants has been a leader in executive search.  ISC Jobs offers executive recruiting services that help businesses in small towns attract top talent. Get in touch with us today for more information!