You have two main options when you need to fill a position at your company: you can hire someone local or you can search further afield. Further afield could mean another city, another state, or even another country, depending on whether you intend to ask the employee to relocate or work remotely. There are pros and cons no matter what you pick.
Advantages of Hiring Outside Your Location
First of all, there are a number of advantages to hiring a candidate from outside your local area compared to sticking with candidates who live nearby.
1. Access a Larger Talent Pool
When you extend your search to include candidates from anywhere in the world, the talent pool can be unlimited. This is valuable if the exact skills you need are not even available in your local area.
Moreover, choosing from a larger talent pool allows you to be more selective. Hiring local may mean that you need to settle for someone who’s just a reasonably close fit to what you need. Broadening your search allows you to find the perfect hire: someone with the exact background you’re looking for as well as a working style that matches your own.
2. Greater Range of Experience
If you hire locally, you may end up with employees who have only ever worked in the area where you’re based. This limits the amount of experience they are able to bring to the company. In contrast, if you consider a wider range of candidates, you may find someone with unique experience that could benefit your business in ways you’d never even considered before.
In addition, more varied experience often means different contacts. No matter the size of your business, more contacts are always useful for new opportunities.
3. Fresh Perspectives
Hiring outside your local area may push you to find employees who have a different approach to work than you. There are numerous benefits to receiving a fresh perspective, ranging from better problem solving to improved product ideas.
4. Workplace Culture
Employees from different backgrounds create a diverse workplace culture. This is fulfilling for the entire team. When working together, you can build off each other’s ideas and become even more creative.
5. Bilingual Workers
To expand into new markets, you may need workers who speak other languages and who understand other cultures. It’s much easier to find bilingual workers when you widen your search, particularly if you want less common languages or knowledge of a specific country.
Advantages to Hiring Locally
Despite all these advantages, there are several reasons why businesses continue to hire locally.
1. No Language Barriers
If you hire someone whose first language is something other than English, there’s a greater risk of misunderstandings. You may need to assess candidates’ written and spoken English before you decide to hire.
2. Uncomplicated Process
The first time you hire outside your local area is especially complicated, as there are several extra considerations to bear in mind. For instance, if you’re hiring a worker from abroad, you need to figure out the legal implications. If you need to bring the person into the country, this may involve applying for a visa.
Relocating vs Remote Work
If you do decide to hire outside your local area, you’ll have to decide if you’ll ask candidates to relocate or if you’ll build a remote team.
Pros and Cons of Relocating Employees
Asking someone to relocate allows you to gain the benefits of a large talent pool along with the advantages of having employees in the office with you. For instance, communication is more straightforward and it’s easy to form personal connections.
However, asking employees to relocate is limiting. You’ll need to find someone who is happy to come to your area. Plus, you may incur additional expenses and will need to spend time figuring out the logistics.
Pros and Cons of a Remote Team
Most companies find that the better choice is building a remote team. Like this, you can hire anyone you want — no matter where they are based. Plus, you’ll be able to continue benefiting from talent outside your local area in the future.
There are a few disadvantages to be aware of, though. For instance, it can be more difficult to keep remote employees engaged, especially if they don’t feel like part of the company. There is also a higher risk of low-quality work, particularly in the case of miscommunication.
Tips to Build a Successful Remote Team
Creating a team of remote employees when you’ve only ever had in-house employees before requires some planning. However, keeping some simple best practices in mind can help you overcome almost all the downsides of having a remote team.
Onboard Your Employees
Help your employees feel like part of the team through remote onboarding. It’s best to create an onboarding framework that you can use for all your remote employees — those you hire now and the ones you onboard in the future. Your onboarding should help employees know where to find their assignments and who to report to, keep their morale high, and maximize productivity.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
After onboarding, make sure your employees continue to feel valued by communicating with them often. This is also important for ensuring employees come to you with any doubts, which can help to avoid mistakes.
Understand Labor Laws
If your employees are working in a different state or country to you, different labor laws apply. Each state has its own laws for aspects like minimum wage, overtime, payroll, and breaks, and some countries may have additional requirements you need to be aware of. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid breaking the law.
Equip Employees with the Right Tools
Provide your employees with the software they need to stay productive and motivated. This may include video conferencing, time tracking, project management, and productivity tools.
Take Steps to Ensure Security
Share security advice with your remote workers to minimize the risk of a data breach or cyber attack. This is even more critical with remote workers than in-house employees, as it’s difficult to put systems in place yourself.
Options for Building a Team
Finally, you have two options of how you create a remote team: you can hire employees or outsource workers. There are some key distinctions between the two.
When you hire an employee, the person joins your team on a permanent basis. The employee can work either full-time or part-time hours. You’ll need to pay benefits, add the employee to payroll, and offer vacation time.
Hiring may be the best option if you want the person to work exclusively for you — or at least a set number of hours a week. However, hiring employees is more expensive than outsourcing. It is only worthwhile if you have a constant supply of work.
Outsourcing means you contract workers just when you need them. This could be on a project basis or you could request ongoing (but irregular) hours. You pay for just the work you receive — either hourly or per project — and there is no need to provide benefits.
Outsourcing is a great option if you have an inconsistent amount of work or short-term projects. It is also the more straightforward choice if you want to work with professionals abroad.
Plus, outsourcing means your business is extremely scalable. In fact, you may prefer to start out with mostly outsourced workers and add employees to your team as your business grows.
Nonetheless, you should bear in mind that there is always the risk that, if you outsource, top talent could leave you with little warning if a new opportunity comes along.
There are many advantages to hiring workers outside your local area — and only a couple downsides, which are relatively easy to overcome. Building a remote workforce has the most benefits of all, as there’s no need to worry about logistics and you are almost unlimited in your hiring options.