'Location, Location'? It Isn't Everything: Here's How to Attract out-of-Town Talent. Expand your search beyond your own backyard by convincing candidates that you're seriously interested in their success.

By Heather R. Huhman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Skills, talent, culture fit, ambition: These are just a few of the qualities leaders look for in new hires. While there are job candidates who embody all these things, options may be limited due to a company's geographic location.

Yet some companies work to overcome that limitation.

Related: Recruiting Tips That Will Make You Rethink the Gig Economy

TalentCare is one such company. Michelle Hubble, who's vice president of employment brand and recruitment marketing for the healthcare recruiting agency, deeply believes in widening her candidate search to find the best talent for her Austin-based company.

Of course she understands the difficulty candidates and their families face in transitioning and relocating. But she strives to help candidates get past any reservations by having candidates complete an online self-assessment. This helps her team understand candidates' work styles and show them that the company is sincerely invested in their success.

Related: 4 Things to Remember When You're Recruiting Goal-Oriented Talent

"It's quantifiable, and the scoring can be customized," Hubble told me of the assessment process. "For some candidates, this can be a turn-off; it takes time and thoughtfulness." In addition: "Candidates who refuse to complete the assessment show us they weren't the right candidate. And for those who do [fill out the assessment], it shows them we are serious about their success, and not just our own."

Job-seekers are looking for companies like TalentCare: employers willing to help them move their careers forward. Here's how leaders can make this willingness known to their candidates, to attract the best talent from from both near and far:

1. Walk a mile in their shoes.

Out-of-town talent, meaning people looking to relocate or work remotely, have very specific needs. They want to know a job will fit those needs before making a final decision. Hubble described how she helped one particular candidate see this by putting herself in that man's shoes. "Instead of reading a description of a job and a list of requirements, our job advertisement helped the candidate picture himself in the work environment and imagine whether that environment would be one in which he would thrive," she said.

Being specific about the job qualifications isn't enough. Focus on the industry, what challenges current team members face and how the company helps those employees overcome them.

"For TalentCare, one of our biggest selling points is that we do things differently. We create solutions where none exist yet, so we are a very collaborative and innovative team," Hubble shared.

2. Make the company's culture clear.

Candidates aren't searching just for careers; they're searching for a place where they and their families can grow. This means they need to trust that a company's culture is the right fit for their personality and work style.

"Generally speaking, people really want a home, a place that makes them happy; so, illustrating the company culture and values-alignment throughout the recruiting process has been a helpful tool for us," Shane Evans, co-founder and president of Massage Heights, a massage franchise headquartered in San Antonio, told me via email.

Evans described how she put her company's values to the test when hiring five key executives who lived far away.

"What ultimately attracted them was our family values and, of course, the opportunity to grow with a brand that is still in its infancy, as far as size goes -- [and one that] has a lot of upward potential. Obviously, benefits and profit-sharing for some key individuals are important, too, but it ultimately gets down to potential and culture," Evans said.

So, the message is, when hiring, be straightforward about your company culture through all stages of the hiring process. Use current employees' video testimonials to share what they love about the company, its leaders, their co-workers and their positions.

In addition, share on social media photos of team-bonding activities or projects that hold special meaning. This will help out-of-town talent gain a closer glimpse inside the company's culture and how they might fit in.

3. Show off the company's location.

For many candidates, the decision to relocate isn't based only on the job, but the location. Brian Metcalf, CEO at GreenRoom, a full-service digital marketing and public relations agency in Miami, takes full advantage of Florida's warm weather during cold-weather recruitment months.

"We typically find the majority of our talent from the Northeast and Midwest during cold weather months," Metcalf explained to me in an email. "During the cold-weather recruitment period, we make sure our social media channels showcase all of the wonderful outdoor activities and gorgeous weather we enjoy while the rest of the country is buried under snow."

GreenRoom continues to highlight what its location has to offer during in-person interviews. These take place in the company's conference room, which overlooks a pool and the Biscayne Bay.

While those of us at other companies may not have warm weather and alluring waters to attract talent, our locations all have their own attractive features. That allows you to share your employees' favorite places to eat, local attractions for both adults and kids and reasons why relocation might be a positive adventure.

Then, once your candidates are sold on the location, let them know the company cares about their ease of moving and transitioning. Use a relocating platform like UrbanBound to make the moving process easier. With this tool, out-of-town talent can quickly ask questions with online support, begin onboarding and even book relocation services.

4. Keep traditional recruiting intact.

Connecting with out-of-town talent often requires a lot of digital resources. But some of the best candidates are still found through good old-fashioned networking.

Brian McCarter, CEO of Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, a company that provides on-demand energy and sustainability performance assessment and management software solutions, looks at industry events for people who are disrupting the market .

McCarter's team members, based in in Trumbull, Conn., were recently charged with finding a director for their Colorado C-PACE program.

"My partners and I had been closely following something called the Investor Confidence Project, which set out to standardize energy-efficiency finance projects, to make them more attractive to investors," McCarter explained to me via email. "We became active in discussion groups that focused on developments and got to know Tracy Philips, the man who was heading up the effort."

Through their networking efforts, McCarter and his team discovered Philips wasn't just making moves to standardize energy efficiency finance projects -- he lived in Colorado. Some would say McCarter was lucky to find someone who fit the position perfectly and lived in the recruitment location. However, it was the CEO's persistent networking that really found and attracted Philips.

Related: 7 Tips to Improve Recruitment

So, follow his lead: Attend networking events in as many locations as possible. Find passionate people who are in the same space and could meet the company's future needs. Even if people aren't actively looking for work, leaders have the opportunity to make meaningful connections that could eventually pay off.

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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