How to Draw Top Talent to Not-So-Glamorous Cities

Marketing Recruiter | Relocation

Convincing people to relocate for a job is hard.

Even for the best companies. And it doesn’t help if your location isn’t a dazzlingly attractive hotspot destination, either.

No matter how appealing you find your city, attracting out-of-town talent can be challenging if the national perception of your area isn’t overwhelmingly positive. You’ll have to do some extra research (and maybe get some help from a marketing recruiter) to show off your what makes your city great to top marketers you want to hire.

How to Grow When Your City is a Tough Sell

marketing recruiter great city

You’re in a great spot business-wise. You’ve seen growth in recent years and see potential for more in the near future. You offer competitive compensation and are confident your company is poised to be a great place for career growth. You know it’s time to complete your marketing team with some really great talent and move to the next level.

Just one problem: you’re struggling to attract the people you need to your city.

Maybe it has an unsavory representation in popular media. Or it’s in a climate zone suitable for a polar bear.

That might not be a problem for you personally—there are undoubtedly plenty of redeeming qualities about the place you call home. In fact, it may have been a factor in your success. There are many reasons why a location like this might be great for your organization:

  • Low costs of doing business
  • Geographic proximity to suppliers and distributors
  • Affordable costs of living

But your ideal location can also serve as a liability when it comes to courting out-of-town top talent that is in high demand.

Reluctant Relocaters

The unfortunate truth is that people are already reluctant to uproot themselves and move to a new location, even for a better job. Better compensation usually isn’t enough on its own to motivate top performers. They don’t want to just move up on the payscale; they want to move closer to their ideal lifestyle as well. And if they don’t think your area can offer that, they will look elsewhere.

When you approach the best talent in a field about an opportunity with your company, it is hard to get them to look past your location’s poor reputation. If it even has one. Some locations are just bland enough, at least to outside eyes, to have no reputation at all. Even if they aren’t bad cities by any measure, some places just aren’t sexy.

If you call this or any of hundreds of U.S. cities with similar reputations home, you know as well as I do that this isn’t a fair assessment. Your city might not have the same popular distinction of a Miami or San Francisco, but still have plenty to offer if you know where to look.

If you hope to stay competitive and maintain consistent growth, you will have to find ways to break through these preconceptions to draw A-level talent to your marketing team.

Bringing out the Best of Your City

5-Marketing Recruiter | Relocation

Photo: City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain

Sometimes no amount of realistic compensation will attract the talent you need if they don’t find your hometown appealing.

So how do you convince your best candidates to move from their jobs in New York or L.A. to your medium-sized Midwest hometown? What can you tell talent to entice them to your muggy Southern city when they’re considering offers in snowcapped Boulder or sunny San Diego?

Do Your Homework

In any sale, you have to know your audience and what they want to hear about your product. A job listing is no different, especially if it means relocation from another part of the country. Do as much research as you can about the candidates you’re interested in.

What stage of their lives are they in?

  • Are they single?
  • Do they have kids?
  • How old are they, and how old do they act?
  • Where do they want to be in five years professionally, socially, and financially?
  • What are their passions, their hobbies, their fears?

Interacting with your target talent armed with this knowledge will help you start subtly start promoting your location and steering your conversations toward what your candidates want to hear. You can drastically improve your odds of an accepted offer if you persistently associate your city with their desired lifestyle.

Show Your Passion

Maybe you aren’t crazy about your city—it’s just a place that you happen to live and work. But if you do love it, that can make a huge difference to others. When you can express it in an appropriate way, passion and excitement about a location can make even the most hardened skeptics reconsider.

Be an Ambassador of Your City and Get a Marketing Recruiter to Help You

If you hope to bring top talent to a not-so-famous area, you must be  familiar with what makes it great—and have a realistic understanding of what makes it less appealing to outsiders. A thorough knowledge of all your city has to offer is best, but might be unrealistic, especially if you’re busy with high-level functions of your company. At the very least you should be familiar with a few key factors and know what resources you can turn to for more information.

Real Estate and Housing

Regardless of their interests or life stages, everyone needs somewhere to live. Whether it’s a single bedroom highrise condo in the heart of downtown or a three-story suburban home, this is a key factor in any moving decision. Be familiar with where the real estate market is hottest, where the best deals can be found, where property taxes are most reasonable, etc.


If your candidate has children or is young enough that they’re a possibility in the foreseeable future, they’re going to want to know about the quality of schools in your area. If your city has a good education system, you’re in luck. If not, you’ll have to do extra legwork to find out which schools do have a reputation of good performance or research the best private schools in the area.

Local Trends

Keep a finger on the pulse of your city and be ready to address positive and negative trends with your candidates. Rising crime rates? Falling property values? Are certain cultural scenes seeing a lot of action? Any industries or neighborhoods getting revitalized? Staying on top of regional trends will allow you to get in front of any awkward questions and frame discussions in a more favorable light.

Getting Help

Even if you love your city and know it’s a good place to live and work, it can be tough expressing that sentiment in a way that’s compelling to outsiders.

Your local government and business organizations might have resources you can leverage to help your cause. For instance, many cities’ Chambers of Commerce offer detailed information about the region’s economic development that explains to businesses and individuals alike why the area is an attractive destination to relocate.

A more effective solution is often to enlist the help of someone with experience recruiting high-performing talent from locations around the world and bringing them to cities of all shapes and sizes. A marketing recruiter knows how to connect with top candidates and “sell” almost any location.

More Local Marketing Recruiter Help For Great Cities That Can Be a Hard Sell

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