How to Learn from the Way States Recruit Employees

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The talent shortage has businesses getting creative when it comes to effective recruitment methods. From benefit packages to on-site chefs and even monthly massages and housekeeper service, carrots are being dangled in hopes of attracting top candidates.

States are getting into the game, too. For them, economic development requires a ready workforce, and drawing employees to their state creates a win-win situation.

Here are two unique recruiting methods by three states and some takeaways you can use to fill your own talent pipeline.

1. Quality of Life

Forty-three percent of people work remotely, according to The New York Times, and that means they can live pretty much anywhere. The state of Montana is tapping into this trend using a unique tactic for economic development by recruiting telecommuting employees to live in its sparsely populated state.

Montana's U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte, founder of the software firm RightNow Technologies, mailed glossy brochures to the alumni of two local universities, inviting them to "come home to Montana." Featuring pictures of lakes and wildlife and touting the state's quality of life, he also shared tips on how to get buy-in from your boss for working remotely.

If your business is located in an area that offers great lifestyle amenities such as skiing, beaches, mountains or parks, use them when you're trying to attract employees. Montana's goal was to attract new residents by encouraging people to telecommute. If your organization has jobs that can be done remotely, communicate this perk in your recruiting methods, and expand your reach to universities outside your state.

2. Fond Memories

Sometimes fond memories can be effective recruitment methods. NPR notes how Maine-based recruiter Ed McKersie runs the state government-funded program Live and Work in Maine, and his goal is to get former residents to move back. Partnering with local colleges and universities, McKersie reaches out to alumni networks appealing to their sense of nostalgia. He also uses Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with former residents who might want to return home by reminding them of what they left behind: moose, lobster and picturesque winters.

Use this same tactic in your recruiting by keeping the lines of communication open with former employees. So-called "boomerangs," these employees are in high demand as they know your business and culture. Also, leverage your employees' personal network. Up to 30 percent of all new hires come through an employee referral, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The tactic turns all of your employees into recruiters, saving you time and resources.

By being open to creative ideas and recognizing the strengths of your organization and city, you can start to win the recruitment battle.

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