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How to fill jobs in difficult locations

We recently took a call from an architecture firm in Victoria who were struggling to find a junior architect to start at their firm. This came as a surprise, as the number of graduate architects competing for junior architect positions is certainly at the higher end of the scale. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t receiving applications until I had a look at their job advertisement. The architecture firm wasn’t in the bustling CBD of Melbourne. It was three and a half hours North-West of the state capital, in a sparsely populated regional area. This was the problem. How could the business attract top talent to up-sticks and move to regional Australia?

This is the strategy we came up with to fill jobs in difficult locations:

Think like a real-estate agent

Without being prompted, the owner of the businesses started to describe the office and surrounding areas over the phone.

“It’s a state-of-the-art, modern building we designed using sustainable resources. It is situated at the top of a large hill, with 180-degree views of the adjoining townships. The building and scenery really are stunning,” she explained.

We agreed that the first image a prospective candidate should see when they clicked on the advertisement and landed on the company website is a high definition photo of the office and surrounding area. It could be the deciding factor in a suitable candidate applying for the job, or re-starting their job search.

Secondly, we had a chat about the type of lifestyle her team enjoys in the remote location. The business owner started explaining the picturesque hiking trails, the unique wildlife, the nearby rock-climbing and just how peaceful the area was to live in. We decided this information should feature in the advertisement as a key selling point.

Get competitive

A quick search on Adzuna for Junior Architect positions revealed the average salary employers were willing to pay to secure top talent at their firm. The owner of the firm acknowledged they may need to up the stakes a little to attract talent away from the capital cities.

What the owner had failed to include in their initial job advertisement was they would:

  • Cover relocation costs
  • Offer a generous bonus scheme
  • Subsidise a portion of the rent.

This is key information that could entice a prime candidate to apply for the position. 

A final top tip here is to list the salary in both the title of the job and the job description. Job ads with the salary in the title attract 20% more interest.

Zero-in

There is one distinct advantage of hiring for a remote location. You can get very specific and targeted with your advertising.  A shallow pool of candidates can equal a high bang for your buck return on paid advertising.

One top tip is to use targeted campaigns on social media to get in front of local job seekers. Facebook provides the option to target right down to suburb level. Your ideal hire could be right under your nose.

Ultimately if you’re smart with how you invest your recruitment budget, use data effectively, and remember to focus on the most relevant information in the job ad, the recruitment process will run much more smoothly.  Make sure you are visible, that you are tracking where your best applications are coming from, and seek out new channels if what you are doing now isn’t working.