DECEMBER 1989

When push comes to shove in a tight labor market, recruiting farther afield is certainly an option, but how much farther afield? If you want the new recruits to stick around, John Leehman recommends that you look in "areas where the climate is similar to yours and the market is depressed."

Leehman, executive vice-president of Bread Loaf Construction Co. -- a 160-person business in Middlebury, Vt., in the heart of New England's ski region -- considered both Denver and Houston as possible recruitment sites since the construction market was flat in both cities. Because Houston's climate differed so dramatically from Vermont's, Leehman ultimately decided to place a newspaper advertisement in ski-happy Denver.

It worked. Résumés flooded Bread Loaf's mailbox. Leehman spent two days in Denver interviewing approximately 30 candidates. Ultimately, he hired four employees.

In the ensuing two years, one did leave after his first six months and another eventually yearned for home and returned to Denver, but, Leehman insists, "For the cost of a hotel room, plane ticket, and 30% of their relocation costs, it was worth it."