Do potential hires need to reside near the recruiter or company? How often are engineering or programming positions available to be done remotely?
Applicants don't *need* to live near the company, but both internal recruiters and agency recruiters will spend their time with candidates based on two primary factors: 1 - the likelihood that the candidate will get an offer (how 'good' is the candidate?)2 - the likelihood that the candidate would accept an offer (how likely are we to get this hire?)
Location isn't relevant to #1, but it's entirely relevant to #2 - especially if we know that the candidate is interviewing for jobs in various disparate locations. How likely is it that we'll be able to provide a competitive offer to a candidate that is deemed better than the other offers? There are a ton of factors at play, with the salary to cost of living ratio among them.
When you add in both the cost and time of bringing in candidates from other locations, the risk-reward starts to factor in.
Remote work is becoming more prevalent as companies are figuring out how to get the most from remote employees and the quality of remote work technologies improves.