How to Use the Region as a Recruiting Tool

September 28th, 2016

By William A. Ramsey, of Barrett McNagny

Corporations—and for that matter all types of businesses—are comprised of all types of people.  And the people who make up businesses generally seek happiness and fulfillment, not only in their professional careers, but also in their personal lives. Therefore, when recruiting top talent, particularly people who are not from Northeast Indiana, the process and sales pitch must include what the region has to offer outside the workday.  

As a (mostly) life-long resident of northeast Indiana, I know that this part of the state is a great place to work and live, and it has been great both for my parents and my wife, who are not from Northeast Indiana. Local leaders and businesses have ensured that Northeast Indiana offers a wide variety of educational, entertaining, and enjoyable activities for people of all ages. Communicating this lifestyle to a recruit can make all the difference between that person going elsewhere or choosing to come to Northeast Indiana to join our already rich and diverse talent pool.

Not a One-Size-Fits-All Strategy

Of course what interests one person will not necessarily interest another.  Recruiting and interviewing should not be viewed as a one-size-fits-all process.  When a company is truly interested in recruiting an individual, as opposed to filling a slot with any warm body, a minimal amount of effort getting to know a little bit about a job candidate can help a company to easily highlight the aspects of our region that might appeal to that candidate’s professional and personal interests, helping to convince that candidate that he or she could be comfortable living and working in Northeast Indiana. 

Do Your Homework

A simple email exchange or a five-minute telephone call prior to an interview can yield information that will allow an interviewer to highlight relevant parts of the region to a recruit.  Sometimes tailoring an interview will be simple.  She likes baseball?  Take her to a TinCaps game or at least arrange to take her by or through Parkview Field.  He loves animals, science, or has children?  Conduct part of the interview while walking around the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Fox Island, or Science Central--beloved and unique institutions that can operate as an enormous draw for professionals of all ages.  Gaining even a general sense of a recruit’s background or interests can allow a company to go beyond the typical on-site interview, show a recruit that the company values and is interested in the recruit as a person, and increase the chances of landing the prospect.

Be sure to check community calendars (such as those posted online by Visit Fort Wayne and IPFW) for events, festivals, or attractions that are going on around the time of a potential interview. Conducting an interview during any of our many summer festivals has obvious benefits. Concerts, shows, and other events showcasing local organizations and people take place throughout the year and can serve as a compelling component of the recruiting process. 

Spend a few minutes thinking about where to go for meals.  Northeast Indiana is home to numerous specialty restaurants that can provide prospective employees with a unique and memorable meal.  The simple questions, “What kind of food do you like?” can make it easy to make a lunch or dinner an enjoyable part of the interview process and a great way to showcase a local business.

Follow Up Strategy

It would be impossible to show someone all the region has to offer, no matter how much time your interview process affords. This is a good problem. Providing a list of links to regional companies and institutions, such as the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership or Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., or encouraging someone to subscribe to the Downtown Improvement District’s newsletter will help keep the city (as well as your company) on the recruit’s mind. Following up after an interview with an email regarding a local event that would be of interest to the recruit can also communicate that your company is connected to the community and takes seriously its interest in employees’ happiness outside of work.

Bottom Line: Sell the Community, Not Just the Workplace

Northeast Indiana is a great place to do business; your company can sell that idea to recruits on its own. But your company also needs to sell the idea of happiness outside of work. Northeast Indiana is an easy place to sell. The strong higher-education presence and plethora of restaurants, children’s activities, civic organizations, fine arts institutions, recreational and leisure activities, and athletic teams (and this list is by no means exhaustive) provides something for every individual. In turn, these activities and opportunities provide something for your business—an opportunity to show a recruit that he or she could be happy living in Northeast Indiana. 

William A. Ramsey's Biography

William Ramsey is an attorney with the Northeast Indiana law firm of Barrett McNagny. He represents clients on appeals, medical malpractice defense, general liability defense, and business litigation. He also represents corporate and professional clients with licensing and compliance issues.