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I work in IT for a company in Massachusetts that has a remote office (with about 50 employees) in Salt Lake City, Utah. We currently provide all support to that office from the MA office, but to improve service, we need to find someone local (to Salt Lake) who can check in with our remote employees weekly or bi-weekly, and be available to go on-site to take care of issues for us when necessary.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to find/research good IT resources in a remote city? I've Googled and I've searched yellowpages.com for the Salt Lake area, but I'm not finding much. I'm looking for knowledgeable and professional networking/Windows pros, not a couple of guys working out of their home. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by HopelessN00b Jan 21 at 20:06

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"not a couple of guys working out of their home. Any advice would be greatly appreciated." Well, that pretty much cuts out all the freelancers, who I would have thought would be your best bet. –  John Gardeniers Jul 12 '10 at 21:18

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I would treat it largely the same as I would any other interview process, with slight variation depending upon the exact situation.

Emphasis on the phone screen. Write a job description with the key qualifications and then write a phone interview script based on verification of the desired qualifications. Find several potential candidates.

If you are more serious, schedule interviews over a week, and travel to the remote office and conduct interviews. If not, conduct the interview process via the phone and maybe have someone in the local office do a HR style interview.

If you are not looking to hire full time staff, you might have better luck locating a reputable local IT firm and hiring them as a consultant. If they do not meet your Utah staff's and your expectations, it should be quite clear and then hire a competitor.

For a general search: I would focus on local resources such as Craigslist, usergroups, and other professional organizations with presence in the local community. If you have professional resources in your network, seek them out for recommendations in that market.

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Thanks; Craigslist is a good idea that I hadn't thought of. And I was thinking of user groups as well, I'm just not sure where/how to find the ones that would be relevant. Also, I'm kind of assuming that I'll be hiring a local IT firm rather than an individual. I appreciate your input. –  johnnyb10 Jul 12 '10 at 17:55
    
Linux User Groups, MySQL User Groups, VMWare user groups.. just to name a few. Seek out those applicable to the main qualifications you're seeking. –  Warner Jul 12 '10 at 18:15
    
I would go with one of the larger IT firms. If you don't like the guy you're working with, ask for a new one. I don't know many names, but I've known people who work for Robert Half Technology. You could google them and their competitors. –  Garrett Jul 12 '10 at 20:30
    
Robert Half is more contracting and permanent placement. I don't believe they do as much consulting style work. I do not have a go-to company on a national or international scale for consulting but some of them include Oxford, Accenture, and ICC (iccohio.com). I'm not sure how far Oxford or ICC's reach is. –  Warner Jul 12 '10 at 20:43

For fifty people, I would suggest that your company hire someone to work in the office for IT support. I'm sure that with fifty people they could keep him or her busy.

Otherwise, if you're looking for someone to just do weekly or bi-weekly checks, you might need someone running a small business who specializes in consultation work. You might want to try finding other small businesses in the Salt Lake area that are small enough to not have full time tech people but large enough to need tech support and see who they hire for on-demand onsite service.

It won't be easy, since you won't have people doing things your "company way" and may run into dead ends or people who are high in turnover, like some kind of Geek Squad-esque small company. In the long run hiring a person dedicated to supporting your people, getting them acquainted with your setup and your company's way of doing things, will save you headaches if there's any way at all to swing the budget for it.

Only other thing I'd suggest is getting your hands on local newspapers and seeing what ads are run for local computer services. Without being on site to do interviews, you'll still have more issues (can you get some computers configured with Skype for interviewing them?)

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Thanks for the input. I agree 100% that having an onsite employee would be the best way to go; unfortunately, the company won't fund that, so I need to find a different way. I will be travelling out to Utah in a few weeks, so I'm planning on conducting on-site interviews. My challenge now is to line up promising candidates so I don't waste my time interviewing people that are not likely a good match. Trying to contact other businesses and checking local papers is a good idea, thanks. –  johnnyb10 Jul 12 '10 at 17:52
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I worked for an IT firm supporting an office that grew from 15 to 75. I started out there "2 hours per day" and always had imaging to do as they grew. When they hit 40+ I was getting cleared for additional hours on a regular basis, all the way until I was working a full 40 hour shift per week out there. You might want to consider that, and then when the bill from the firm equals what you'd need to hire a part time help desk you can convince management it'd be a prudent choice to switch gears. –  Garrett Jul 12 '10 at 20:32

You could look right around the corner for prospects: http://careers.serverfault.com/

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Flicking through the first few pages it appears those are all dev jobs. I didn't spot a single sysadmin job amongst them. Obviously whoever is taking the listings isn't bothering about what they are for. –  John Gardeniers Jul 12 '10 at 21:17
    
Agreed: careers.serverfault.com appears to be completely devoid of sysadmin jobs. Strange thing, that. –  Skyhawk Nov 4 '10 at 4:07

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