Hale Kreycik knows the U.S. job market is tight. But the chief executive officer of Converse County Bank in Douglas, Wyo., never thought it would take two months to hire a new loan officer.

In searching for a commercial and agricultural lender with 5 to 10 years of experience, Mr. Kreycik put advertisements in newspapers as far away as Denver and Omaha. He also asked friends in the industry for names-to strikingly little avail.

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