Why more Midwestern tech cos are ‘boomeranging’ talent away from the coasts

As pockets of tech entrepreneurship expand in cities across the Midwest, local companies are coming to find that they need to invest in strategies to keep tech talent in the region, and maybe more importantly, to bring tech talent back home from cities like San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. But, what can companies…

NickCromydas

Nick Cromydas, CEO, Hunt Club

As pockets of tech entrepreneurship expand in cities across the Midwest, local companies are coming to find that they need to invest in strategies to keep tech talent in the region, and maybe more importantly, to bring tech talent back home from cities like San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.

But, what can companies do to attract “boomerangers” back from the coasts? Is there a way to “sell” someone who has never thought about settling in the Heartland?

Nick Cromydas, co-founder and chief executive of tech-enabled recruiting service Hunt Club, has helped companies throughout the Midwest boomerang talent back home. Here are his four strategies for appealing to midwesterners living in other cities:

  1. Search for those that have a connection to the Midwest — It’s difficult to convince candidates who have no affiliation to the area to accept a job here. Instead, employers should focus on sourcing candidates that have some type of connection to the area, whether the candidate attended a Big Ten university, or they were raised here. Even having extended family or friends in the area can be enough to convince the candidate to head back to the Midwest. Using referrals and social media networks, companies can find out whether a candidate has a link back to the area. And, be sure to check which high school and college they attended, which is likely where many of their connections are based.
  2. Use the cost of living as leverage — The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3558. A three-bedroom apartment in a city like Indianapolis or Milwaukee costs an average of $1,293. Appealing to talent in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco can be as easy as showing candidates how much further their paycheck will go in Midwestern cities. A software developer earning $250,000 in San Francisco is likely to be living in a cramped two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. But, in Milwaukee or Indy, that same software developer earning $250,000 could be living in a luxury condo by himself. Which would you choose?
  3. Be strategic about when you reach out and follow-up regularly — In recruiting, we call this pipelining. Every Midwestern tech company needs a pipeline of candidates that they’re reaching out to periodically. In these follow-ups, it’s important to find out whether there have been any shifts personally or professionally that make now the right time for the candidate to move into a new role. If you come across a candidate who has been working for 8-15 years, there’s a strong chance that he/she is getting ready to have a family. This could be good timing for them to settle in a city that will support these life changes. The only way for your organization to be involved in this decision-making process is for you to have a pre-existing relationship, which is why it’s so important to keep in close contact with these candidates as they build their career.
  4. Document every interaction in a single system of record — Companies need a single system of record to track progress when it comes to sourcing talent. This can be a cloud-based solution that all hiring managers and decision-makers have access to like Greenhouse or Lever. But, like all tools, these solutions are only effective if they’re being used on a daily and weekly basis. Because it can be a challenge to keep up, especially in today’s tight labor market, many companies are looking for external support. This is where external tech-driven recruiting services can help.

The next time you’re looking to hire, don’t forget to reach out to your fellow ‘heartlanders’ that have moved across the country for a career opportunity. Many will be excited to hear from you and will be more than willing to boomerang back to familiar territory.

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