Is Long Distance Recruiting Viable?

Last Updated May 12, 2011 12:52 PM EDT

Working remotely has become a fact of life for many of people. Either we manage people who work somewhere else, or we are ourselves on the receiving end of virtual teams and management. But if people aren't close enough to us when they work, how are we supposed to find, recruit, interview and hire them? Can it be done remotely?

Traditionalists will tell you that hiring requires getting eyeball-to-eyeball with someone. You have to look into their eyes, read their body language when interviewing and get a feel for who that person is. Given the poor hiring choices many managers and companies make, a cynic would suggest we can't do much worse than we do now. Ready or not, though, long distance interviewing and recruiting is becoming a normal part of the HR process.

One person who knows the recruiting business intimately is Rob McGovern. He co-founded the career website Career Builder, and is currently the CEO of They blend social networking and more traditional online hiring methods to help people and companies connect. He's also the author of "Bring Your 'A' Game: The 10 Career Secrets of the High Achiever". We asked him about where long-distance hiring is going.

How has the incredible growth of remote working and telecommuting impacted recruiting?

Companies are now much more willing to have remote employees now that almost everyone has high speed internet in their homes. You can now easily communicate, including video conferencing, using a standard laptop and a home wifi connection. Companies are looking for the best people, no matter where they are, and are willing to source hard to find talent in remote markets using today¹s internet tools.

We all know that most jobs aren't ever even advertised, they come from our networks. With the growth of social networking companies and job seekers have larger and more dispersed networks than ever before.

For managers, if we can't be face to face, what's the best way to handle the interview process and ensure you are interviewing a qualified candidate?

Skype video is rapidly becoming a new way to conduct remote interviews. It allows you to see the person and get a feel for them. It's not perfect but it's better than a simple phone interview (which is how most people make the first cut anyway). When you add the employee's social profile, whether on Jobfox or Linkedin, you can get a very clear picture of the person, and their connections who can serve as references. It's a surprisingly robust and accurate picture.