H1 Visa, Relocation, Working Remote: When Do the Benefits Outweigh the Cost of Hiring?
When hiring for a position you always want to find the ideal candidate. The one who lives down the street, who fits right in with the culture, has more experience than required, but is expecting a smaller salary than offered. Well, most of the time what you are looking for is what we call in recruiting “a purple squirrel”. If that person does exist there is a good chance that he or she is happily employed. Your goal should be to find the next best candidate — one who may be perfect experience and culture-wise, but who perhaps has a requirement or request that raises the cost of hiring and makes the process a bit more complicated.
Hiring costs like relocation, visa transfers, or requests to work remotely are never ideal, but if it’s a candidate who would be great in the position then, under the right circumstances, they are a small price to pay.
For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, H1 Visas are work visas awarded to non-US citizens who have experience and knowledge to bring to a company in the US that “cannot” be found in a candidate who is a citizen. That being said, they sound more difficult to obtain than they are. Obviously, companies don’t need to interview everyone in the United States before hiring an H1 candidate. They just need to put forth a “reasonable effort” to find a US candidate before moving forward with an H1 candidate. They also need to pay the H1 candidate as they would pay the US candidate. After the application fee and legal fees, the total cost to sponsor an H1 visa is a few thousand at most (depending on what your legal fees are; the application fee is a few hundred). The visa is good for 3 years. In the grand scheme of things, that is not a lot to spend on the right candidate.
However, it is much more likely that you are interviewing a candidate who is already working under an H1 visa. The process to transfer the visa is very simple and incurs an even lower cost.
Relocation needs and requests are more common in senior-level searches where the market in your area is small and you are forced to look elsewhere for the right candidate. Companies are becoming more and more open to providing relocation assistance to candidates who will be moving themselves and their family to work for the company. Similar to H1 visas, in the grand scheme of things, spending an extra $10,000 on the perfect candidate now will go a long way when the candidate is bringing value-add to the company for years. Common large relocation expenses include: moving services for things and vehicles, family transportation (flights, etc), help with closing costs on the sale and purchase of homes or fees if a lease is broken, and temporary housing, if needed.
Similar to relocation, if you cannot find a candidate in your area and need to look elsewhere, you will find candidates who are not willing to relocate. Depending on the position and the candidate, it may make sense to allow them to work remotely, either from home or in a remote office (i.e. Regus). When considering a remote employee option, you will want to make sure that the candidate will be successful. The best scenario is when the candidate has previously worked remotely and has references who can speak to their productivity. If the employee would be working from a home office, the monetary expenses would include phone and Internet line for business use along with travel to the office as needed. If you or the employee is uncomfortable with the home office set-up, there is the remote office option where you would rent space in an office building for the employee to work from every day.
Clearly the situation needs to be the right in order to consider these options, but you should keep an open mind and at least consider them. If it’s the perfect candidate, then it is worth the extra expenses since it will better the company and have a significant value-add in the long run. The important thing is to remain educated on the costs and benefits of these options.