To come to Fort Wayne from the outside and fall in love with the city. That is what employers want when hiring new faces to join their companies in the Summit City. And that is a service that Northeast Indiana Talent Attraction (NEITA) is looking to corner the market on.
The brainchild of Lynn Reecer, the mission of NEITA is not brand new, but is currently undergoing a renewed focus eight years into the life and testing of the business model. Reecer, who recently sold her real estate firm Reecer Properties to Encore Sotheby’s International Realty, now has increased time to focus on this brand and business model while still serving as a real estate broker to her clients through Encore Sotheby’s.
NEITA’s business model operated under the Reecer Properties entity for its first eight years as what was called the recruiting and relocation division. As of Jan. 1, 2018, it became its own separate company serving to match-make Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana on a personal level to perspective employees coming in from outside the area.
“It is like a second arm to headhunting and a huge help to executive teams and their HR departments. Traditional headhunting is primarily the sourcing of strong job candidates for employers to then vet. They can be located all over the country and consequently do not know our community well,” Reecer said. “Selling the company, career and the job is just a part of it, but what candidates tell me is the most important part to this decision is ensuring the community is the right fit for their family and lifestyle.”
Reecer is a transplant to Fort Wayne too. She came here with her husband to his hometown over 20 years ago after living in Dallas, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus and her native Dayton, Ohio.
NEITA starts with every client by finding out about their recruiting process. Reecer says that it is NEITA’s goal to be heavily involved from the very beginning through employer questionnaires to determine their needs in a candidate. When NEITA reaches out to the potential employee, it becomes a very personal interaction to determine the true deepest needs for that person and their family to relocate to Fort Wayne from wherever they are currently living.
“We can ask them things that the employer cannot but that they need to discuss about their personal lifestyle needs such as religion and places of worship. We will mail them information, get them excited about wanting to come here and explore the city and find out more. Every candidate is very unique in their needs,” Reecer said. “What I have learned after doing about 100 of these recruiting partnerships with employers is that it starts very broad. Then, once you start to satisfy most of their objections, it comes down to one final hurdle we have to overcome and this usually takes a great deal of staff time in researching, phone calls, appointments and meetings.”
Reecer made note of some specific examples through NEITA of successfully persuading desired job candidates to accept their job offers and move here from the west coast and central time zone last year. When it came down to that “one thing” for some of these candidates and their families, it may be specific health issues of family members. So Reecer’s staff digs in to learn more about the specific diagnoses’ and best fits for care and treatment. They then set up interviews and tours of the facilities for the families. NEITA even takes candidates, who are used to life out on the water, out on boat rides on Lake Wawasee. It is those little things which are quite time-consuming that add up to winning over a candidate, says Reecer.
“We often become their first friends here and keep in touch after the relocation further helping to assimilate them into their new hometown.
“We hear all of the time that in Fort Wayne, it is difficult to recruit out of town. Sometimes, you can’t even get them to come for an interview, But with this method, and our great concierge level ambassadors, it’s easily doable,” Reecer said.
NEITA also works to have a strong arm for retention of the employees they help place by continuing to acclimate them to the city and area. Reecer said they will field calls on all sorts of topics from employees once they are in Fort Wayne, right down to giving a suggestion on a nearby dog groomer.
“We want them to be really happy here and keep jobs here,” Reecer said.
As 2019 gets rolling, Reecer wants to challenge the employers in and around the city to look at how they have done things in the past, how well it has worked for them and at what cost monetarily and timewise. NEITA wants to ask how many candidates you may bring in until you get an acceptance. Are you getting your first choice, second or fifth? Or maybe you came up empty- handed after all that time and effort invested by how many of your team.
Part of NEITA’s model for employers around the area is to ask them about their time, cost and retention and helping them with a customized solution that is personalized per employer and candidate.
“This effort can greatly help the whole community. We want the best and brightest doctors, the best teachers, the first-choice candidates,” Reecer said. “We can market northeast Indiana all day long, but we must also have a boots on the ground, one on one, personalized sales effort in place to accompany the marketing efforts executed by enthusiastic community ambassadors (salespeople).”
NEITA uses a contract for their client businesses on a case by case basis that is tailored to their needs depending on the number of candidates they are bringing in to Fort Wayne. Perspective businesses can contact Reecer for a no-charge first appointment where their individual needs can be analyzed.