Recently, while recruiting, I have come across several very qualified candidates who are only willing to work remotely. Usually, the companies I am recruiting for will not consider hiring remote employees. I was really sad to have to cut a few people loose just based on the fact that the commute was not realistic for them. As technology progresses and it becomes even easier to stay connected it is difficult to not think about the future of remote employees.

I can see the pros and cons of hiring someone remotely. Some positions definitely require someone to be on site every day – but it seems like a lot of positions don’t necessarily require that. Take recruiting for instance – theoretically, this type of work could easily be performed from home, and I am sure there are plenty of recruiters that work remotely.

So, should expansion-stage technology companies be open to hiring remote employees? Possibly. It depends on the role.

Here is some food for thought:

Pro: Finding awesome talent that may not be local. There are talented candidates everywhere. If the hire is critical, the search has been lengthy, and the skill set is special you may want to consider it.

Con: Level of accountability. Can you be certain this person is doing what they should be doing all day long? Nope. However, the output will eventually speak for itself. Typically, a person who has been in the same role and worked remotely before will work out best.

Pro: Reduced costs. Does your company offer food, drinks, equipment, and/or child care? You could save a lot of $$ letting an employee work from home using their laptop.

Con: Getting in touch. It’s not so easy to run over to someone’s desk and ask a quick question when they….aren’t there.

Overall, I definitely think remote employees can work out well and be an asset if the person has the right qualities. But before hiring someone out of your area code I would make sure they:

  • Are dependable and not flaky. This person should build trust and prove they are dependable no matter what.
  • Stay connected. Since you can’t stop by their cube it’s a must that they are almost always close to email or their cell, and can respond quickly. Set up regular communication times and expectations.
  • Are irreplaceable. What’s really the point of having just an average to below-average employee who doesn’t come into the office?
  • Are extremely proactive. There is obviously no one in the flesh telling this employee what to do or how to do it. It must be his or her responsibility to get things accomplished and reach out for help if needed.

Would you hire a remote employee who is the exact talent you’re looking for? I say yes!

photo by: ACorralejoPhoto & HeatedGround

Sign-up for our Free Weekly Newsletter to get the best new ideas for building technology companies.