Rural America Recruitment. 5 steps to compete for Talent.


rural fall

Rural America is thriving  across the United States. From hospitals, to manufacturing to small businesses- Rural America is bursting with opportunity for the  professionals, entrepreneurs and individuals who are ready to run from Urban America and embrace all that Rural America has to offer.

Yet many businesses and hospitals in Rural America are recruiting as if it’s 1985. 

Hunter Ambrose Recruitment & Executive Search firm has recruited for Rural America since 2006. As the CEO, I grew up in small town America, lived outside of Yosemite National Park when my children were young and find myself living in Clay County, Missouri. Throughout my career,  I’ve lived in 8 of the 10 Big Cities in America including San Francisco and Chicago. I know both sides of that medallion.

At some point in everyone’s life  the need to know your neighbors, to not hand over 40% of your salary for rent, to truly embrace a life-work balance and reclaim every minute of the day as time well spent- This is an open door to explore living in Rural America. Trust me. Your Candidate’s are waiting. 

For every organization in Rural America Recruiting for Talent-  Let’s make 2020 your best Recruitment Year Ever. 

  1. Posting + Praying = Poor Results

Even if you’re Tesla or Cedars Sinai Hospital, posting a job online will not fill the search on time with a pool of A Talent. We’re at 3.2% unemployment and at virtually 0.00% unemployment for the healthcare sector. It’s TOUGH to RECRUIT even if you’re a Fortune 500 or one of the nation’s top medical centers.

So the candidate’s your getting from posting and praying online may be qualified on paper but most likely they’re the candidates who are unhappy at work without a clear job search strategy.  They’re applying to see what sticks. Job postings are part of the process but to rely on that format exclusively is a rinse and repeat for hours wasted and offers made though never accepted.

2. Recruitment is not 9-5

Do a test. Have someone call your HR Department about a position or apply online. How long does it take to get a response? For the Rural Hospitals we’ve tested at the request of their CEO’s- The average is an alarming 4.5 days! Some hospitals never called back or just set off an endless game of telephone tag. For a candidate actively seeking a position they’ll receive 7+ contacts per day  for a new position. If your HR / Talent Team isn’t returning EVERY CALL by the end of business- You’re losing talent and wasting money.

Hunter Ambrose consulted for a  hospital that was spending over over 1.5 million dollars annually because they couldn’t  fill the open RN staff positions. We had a solid pipeline of candidates, they were following the Hunter Ambrose Strategy but we couldn’t convert candidates to hires. Why? Because HR would only schedule interviews from 9-5 and as  HR was in an endless loop of meetings, it would take 5-14 days to schedule a candidate.

If you’re hungry for Talent you need to adjust your interview protocol to the Talent’s schedule. We staggered the the HR Team to cover a 14 hour window Monday- Friday and a remote 4 hour window on Saturday. Within 100 days we had Staff RN vacancies down by 93% and the hospital had ENDED it’s contract for Travel Nurses. Millions saved. Success achieved. Bottom line- Be available on the Candidate’s time frame or lose the Candidate. 

3. Have a Process and Practice it. 

Have you heard about the Hallmark Experience? Since we moved to Clay County just behind our neighborhood are beautiful farmhouses, pastures, horses and an old Hallmark factory. In getting to know our neighbors I’ve heard stories about when people would go to interview at Hallmark back in the day. How everyone would be greeted in the lobby, get the same tour and at the end of the interview receive a small bag of Hallmark SWAG. Even if you didn’t get the job it was a special experience and you felt like a guest. What kind of experience does your organization provide from the first contact with the candidate to the hire or declination? Are you providing a Hallmark experience? Are you communicating with Candidate’s with a smile,  transparently and disqualifying  candidates with professional kindness?

For EVERY  business hiring in Rural America- You need to have a process and practice it and that PROCESS needs to go above and beyond to compete with Urban America. It should be a step by step process that your HR / Talent Team  embraces and implements daily. If your team isn’t taught and sold on embracing metrics, KPI’s, leveraging technology and wrapping that whole Digital Recruitment Process in a “Mayberry” message – You’re missing out on Top Talent.

4. Check your Online message. 

Would you want to work at your organization by viewing your organization’s online message? If you’re expecting someone to relocate to Rural America the online message needs to be fresh, engaging and relevant.

  • Website- Has it been updated within the past 12 months and is the word JOBS on the top of the homepage? Is your site mobile friendly?
  • Online Application – Does it take less than 3 minutes? And can you complete that application from your phone? No? You’ve just lost another candidate.
  • HR Email- Even if EVERY position is filled do you provide HR’s email so prospective candidates can forward their information for future hires? Build that pipeline.
  • Social Media- Is it updated daily with jobs, community events, beautiful pics and showcasing what’s AMAZING about your company and your community? Are you gaining followers weekly? Do you have a Social Media Strategy to increase followers?
  • Influencers- Are you connecting with the Influencers in your company and community to drive recruitment? What  members have the highest number of followers? Are they sharing your tweets’ and Insta- worthy posts promoting the company and the community?

5. Demonstrate Diversity. 

There’s so much to love about Rural America. However, one area of improvement is creating an open minded culture where Rural America is welcoming to all.

Everyone should be welcome in Rural America. And Rural America needs every person who wants to join the community to make it better. I encourage every CEO of a Rural America organization to start a conversation about diversity and work with their HR / Talent Acquisition Teams . As you’re launching your Talent Acquisition Strategy for 2020- Be sure to focus on diversity with measurable goals and best practices. You might be missing out on your best Candidate’s by not communicating just how open to diversity your organization is striving to be.

Is your Rural America Business or Hospital in need of a Talent Acquisition Strategy for 2020? Schedule a call with Hunter Ambrose and let’s talk about bringing Top Talent to Rural America.




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