Questions candidates ask when considering the Fargo region (and the answers, straight from local recruiters)

Many of us love living in the Fargo Moorhead region, but we can probably admit that recruiting folks to the area might not be the easiest job. While the questions are fairly typical and easy to answer, it’s sometimes a challenge convincing the candidates to give the metro a try. Good news is that we’ve talked to lots of folks who have moved here, and they tend to really enjoy living here.

So we reached out to a few busy recruiters we know, and they gave us candidates’ most often asked questions along with the recruiters’ (and our) answers.

What is the culture like?

(Local Recruiter) The Midwest is known for being “nice”, if you heard of someone being “Minnesota (or North Dakota) nice” – it’s true. We’re dedicated to our families and treat everyone, including newcomers like our family without knowing you.

(EDC) While there is a strong Scandinavian influence, there are folks with every background and that makes for a beautiful, eclectic mix. We have a lot of entrepreneurs, artists and creatives. Add in the engineer-minded folks in a culture where everyone is inclined to work together (we credit the crazy winters) and you have a culture where folks roll up their sleeves and get things done. We’ll admit we have a bit of a reputation for being closed but if you get out and invite us, we’ll definitely show up. We just tend to get stuck in our routines. Just maybe avoid making fun of our accents.

What is the cost of living?

(Local Recruiter) It’s all about what you value, however the Midwest is very affordable. For example, in California you can spend hours comminuting 10-15 miles, in Fargo you can get almost anywhere in 10 minutes or less. We often will give an example of how much an apartment will cost with utilities included, garage, etc.

(EDC) When compared to the rest of the country, the FM region’s cost of living is average. It’s much cheaper to live here than New York or Chicago, and beyond that, we are comparable to your general mid-sized city. It’s true that there are a lot of benefits beyond what you will pay for a gallon of milk or bag of chips. With short commutes saving precious time and a lot of accessibility to all the things you want or need, there are a lot of perks that contribute to your happiness. Plus, there’s something to be said for the friendly people and area’s overall laid back feel. Once you get used to strangers smiling at you, you might find the greatest benefit is the intangible, which is often our best kept secret.

What’s the weather like there?

(Local Recruiter) We get the opportunity to experience all 4 seasons – summer, fall, winter and spring. They’re all beautiful and offer their own set of pros and cons.

(EDC) We know what you’re asking. How cold does it get and does it stay that way, right? We’re not going to lie. In January, it can get pretty cold dipping into the single digits or lower with a wind (we’ll give you tons of advice about dressing for the cold). It’s true that you can dress for the cold and for the most part, you can park pretty close to the door, and auto start means your car will be warm when you get there. Of course the brutal cold isn’t a regular occurrence. In fact, spring is nice, summers are warm and fall tends to be warm to cool, depending on the year. Now in this area, we have a saying “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. The weather is a little unpredictable here and that makes life interesting.

What do we do for fun in the winter?

(Local Recruiter) This is a funny one, and I always laugh. I refer them to the live in Fargo website but also the Convention and Visitors Bureau. To give them a high-level overview, I talk about our updated downtown, the number of restaurants that we have, how we embrace the weather during Frostival, the lakes area being close for ice fishing and snowmobiling. I also highlight the sports activities if I know they are fans. If I know what they are looking for I will also highlight our different breweries and colleges.

(EDC) Being outside in the winter is actually a blast. We have ice-skating rinks all over, there’s downhill sledding (dress in layers, you’ll get hot), cross-country skiing, ice fishing etc. Of course, if you would rather sit inside in a cozy sweater, there’s lots to do thanks to a robust arts community, plenty of unique coffee shops and museums.

What is there to do in Fargo?

(Local Recruiter) I try to find out what they like to do for fun, and then provide them with solutions that resonate with their interests. I go over the fun activities downtown, and highlight some of the great restaurants. I also speak about the fun sporting activities. I try to find out if they have families, and then make sure to provide them with fun events that are family friendly. I give them the website to give them a great resource to check out various things. Things to do

(EDC) So, there are a few calendars and if you look at any given day, there will be three or four activities going on catering to every taste and age. Beyond that, in the summer the Minnesota lakes begin about 30-40 minutes outside of the metro, so you can keep your summers pretty busy with swimming, water skiing, camping and hanging out by the campfire. Plus, there are plenty of music festivals and outdoor events including a great farmers market in downtown Fargo every Saturday. Bluestem is a beautiful outdoor amphitheater, and the concerts there are awesome. We have plenty of cool pubs and restaurants. There are also plenty of sporting events year-round. We have all the things you can do in a bigger city, but they all are easy to get to.

What are the school districts like?

(Local Recruiter) I usually refer them to Live in Fargo under learn here and if they want to know specifics, I do have a couple of school contacts that I share. Education Info

(EDC) We have a lot of great options for education, from small towns to bigger schools inside the city. Class sizes in the FM public schools hover around 20, and your kiddos will have access to a range of services including AP classes, gifted and talented and support options. You can also attend some excellent private schools. Beyond the K-12 system, we have tech schools and higher education systems that are top notch.

What are the housing options?

(Local Recruiter) I try to find out if they are looking to rent or buy. I send them a few links to apartments near our company, along with the names of different realtors and companies that would help them find appropriate housing. I also provide them with information regarding housing market prices and how it compares to where they currently live. Housing Info

(EDC) There really is something for everyone here. You can be part of a smaller town (or buy a farm house) just outside of Fargo Moorhead, or you can live in older character home in North Fargo. You can build(or buy) a brand new house or live in an upscale apartment. Love the water? Buy a house or cabin on a Minnesota lake.

What are some of the benefits of living here?

(Local recruiter) I refer them to the Live in Fargo website yet again as it is a good resource. I give them a high-level overview of our growing state and market here in the FM area. I talk about our cost of living including apartment availability, new housing and current real estate. I talk about all the shopping, restaurants, and indoor facilities for kids. I also talk about the proximity to Minneapolis/St. Paul area, Duluth, and Canada. Live here

(EDC) There are a lot of benefits depending on your interests. It’s a great community with friendly people. Some things we haven’t mentioned…you can easily connect to people who can help you. If you’re an entrepreneur, you can easily find the answers you need with a quick phone call or two. Some people also like to know that we have the basics so yes, we have a Costco and all the amenities you would expect. It’s pretty safe here. We have clean air and water. We also have an international airport that adds direct flights all the time so if you need a sandy beach in January, it’s easy to fly to whatever tropical place you love.

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