In the Trenches: Hiring Locally or Afar?

BrettSnyder by Brett Snyder on March 14, 2012
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The search for our first employee has taken several turns. I thought I had someone ready to go, but he backed out at the last minute, so I had to start the search all over again. The re-search brought up some solid candidates, but they ended up bringing up a whole new set of questions.

I’ve spoken with several candidates about the position, and not all of them have been local. Some were out of the area, but some were several states away. What I’m trying to figure out is this: Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or does it really even matter at all?

We don’t have a Cranky Concierge office location. Everything is home-based, so it technically doesn’t matter where this new employee works. That being said, there is always something to be said for proximity. We could have weekly meetings to keep a stronger working relationship and that would help to build the culture of the place. That could be a very big plus.

On the other hand, I have concierges scattered all over the U.S. (and one in Europe), most of whom I’ve never met. That’s not a problem with that role since it really is more independent and doesn’t require much interaction with me on a regular basis. But one concierge is local, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet up with him on a couple occasions. It’s nice to have that more personal connection, but is it really necessary?

I’m hardly the first person to grapple with the telecommuting issue, but my opinion at this point is that if there’s a good candidate out of state, then that shouldn’t prevent me from hiring that person. And since California law is so strict, I can easily just keep running the business under California law and not risk running afoul of the law in most other states.

What do you think?

BrettSnyder

Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.

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