In the Trenches: Hiring Locally or Afar?

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?

About Brett Snyder

Brett is the Founder and President of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. He also writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier.
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3 comments
Brett Snyder
Brett Snyder

@mowogo - Good question. I don't believe that I rely on my local concierges any more than those outside, at least not for geographical reasons. But it is a good thing to think about.@Jim - I'm not worried about payroll - that's why I outsource it. But this state is easy anyway because there is no state income tax. And I've spoken with my employment attorney who assures me that operating on California law will be just fine in this instance. I'm not "assuming" anything. And the employee will be doing a lot of different things, as is the case in any small business. Nothing needs to be done locally, but that's the case for this entire business.

Jim
Jim

Well, two comments. First, you can't assume that you can "keep running the business under California law and not risk running afoul of the law in most other states." California may be strict, but it is not the common denominator. You do need to investigate the laws of other states and make sure you are in compliance. You need to remit income taxes to that state's tax agency, for example.Secondly, what are you planning to have this employee do? That will answer the question of whether a non-local candidate would be suitable or not.

mowogo
mowogo

I think you really need to evaluate your opinion and how involved you are with your local concierge vs. your remote ones. Do you lean on them more? Are they more involved in the business in general? How you deal with that really says what you should be looking for with the location of your employee.

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  2. [...] In the Trenches: Hiring Locally or Afar? – Intuit Small Business Blog As I look for employees, I find myself looking at long distances for some candidates. That brings up some questions. [...]

  3. [...] In the Trenches: Hiring Locally or Afar? – Intuit Small Business Blog As I look for employees, I find myself looking at long distances for some candidates. That brings up some questions. [...]