Thanks to remote technology, businesses and organisations all over the world have access to talent worldwide. However, what most people don’t realise is that international recruitment comes with legal considerations that need to be taken into account. This article talks you through hiring international talent the right way.
- Freelancer vs. Employee
- The perfect LinkedIn profile for freelancers
- Advantages of international recruitment
- Challenges of international recruitment
- International recruitment solutions – How to find and hire international talent
- International recruitment – Best practices
- Recruiting freelancers from abroad – The process
- Risks when hiring international freelancers and how to avoid them
With the global talent shortage at a 16-year-high, businesses from all over the world are struggling to find workers who are equipped to take on their projects. In fact, according to research conducted by ManpowerGroup, 75% of organisations are struggling to find talent to meet their needs.
To tackle this, millions of businesses worldwide are shifting away from traditional employment and hiring freelancers. This article goes in depth to explain why you should hire international talent along with tips on how to hire them.
Freelancer vs. Employee
Before we look into the specifics of hiring international talent, let’s take a moment to learn if someone actually qualifies as an international freelancer.
A freelancer is someone who will offer up their services to you as a non-employee, usually on a fixed-term basis. These individuals are responsible for their own taxes and do not receive any benefits from you or your company. They also typically work on multiple projects for multiple companies at a time, though not always.
Employees, on the other hand, are workers who enjoy benefits like paid vacations and relevant expenses and work in accordance with a company’s rules and policies.
⚠️ It is important to know the distinction between an international freelancer and an international employee because misclassifying them can lead to you paying heavy fines or even lawsuits.
Advantages of international recruitment
Now that you know the difference between international freelancers and contractors and international employees, let’s take a look at the benefits of hiring the former.
#1 Access to a global talent pool
By hiring international freelancers, businesses can access a wider pool of talent with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This can bring in new ideas and fresh perspectives to their projects.
Plus, freelancers need their clients to be satisfied with their work in order to ensure that they keep getting new projects. This means that projects will be delivered on time and completed according to high-quality standards.
#2 Cost savings
Another benefit to international recruitment is cost savings and the profit margin. Hiring international freelancers can be more cost-effective than hiring local ones.
This is because in some countries and developing nations, labour costs may be lower, which can result in lower hourly rates for freelancers. This is particularly helpful for small businesses or startups with tight budgets.
Hiring international freelancers can provide businesses with more flexibility in terms of project timelines and work schedules. This is because freelancers work according to their own schedules which can differ from a business’s regular hours.
Plus, freelancers residing in different time zones can work on projects outside of regular business hours, allowing businesses to meet tight deadlines.
#4 Building relationships and greater global reach
Finally, international recruitment can help businesses expand their reach globally and build relationships. Because international freelancers have networks worldwide, you can promote your business in new markets and connect with even more people.
Building relationships with international freelancers is key to successful collaborations. Businesses should take the time to get to know their freelancers and invest in building strong working relationships with them. This can help ensure that projects are completed on time and to the desired quality.
Examples of successful collaborations with international freelancers
Let’s take a look at some examples of successful collaborations that businesses and clients from around the world have had with international recruitment.
#1 Srđan Stanić + Gravitus, Inc.
Srđan Stanić is a lead/senior iOS engineer with experience in engineering management. He was responsible for leading the iOS engineering at the Gravitus Inc. startup during a critical phase of development.
Gravitus Inc.’s CEO, Eric Wagner, describes him as an indispensable team member who is self-driven and collaborative and who helped him restructure their codebase for performance and collaboration.
#2 Alen Cmrecki + Ulf Petschel
Alen Cmrecki is a CAD designer who worked with Ulf Petschel. He was described as fast and professional and as someone who develops the necessary passion to think ahead and bring his own ideas to product development.
#3 Kevin Liere + Fielmann AG
Kevin is a network engineer who worked with Fielmann AG to master the most complex phase of their digital signage transformation. According to Operations Manager, Marek Hausmann, with his expertise in the areas of network/firewall, system administration and support, Kevin was able to fill the gap exactly.
#4 Adrian V. Duda + Ulf Petschel
Adrian is a certified Machine Learning engineer who worked for Haefeli & Schroeder Financial Lines Ltd on Cloud Capabilities for a new insurance platform. He has worked with the firm twice in order to assess efficient Machine Learning pipelines and deployment options.
Challenges of international recruitment
Like everything, there are also a few challenges involved in international recruitment. Some of these are as follows:
#1 Language and cultural barriers
Hiring international freelancers may present language and cultural barriers that can make communication and collaboration challenging. Businesses should consider these factors when hiring international freelancers and take steps to mitigate them.
For example, you could encourage open communication so that international freelancers can voice their queries and worries. It can also be beneficial to use straightforward language and avoid phrases or slang that may be challenging for foreign freelancers to understand.
#2 Legal and tax considerations
Businesses should be aware of the legal and tax implications of hiring international freelancers. They may need to comply with foreign laws and regulations, and there may be tax implications for paying international freelancers.
You should do everything you can to learn about regulations in order to avoid legal ramifications. You could also consult an attorney who can help you ensure a smooth and successful recruiting process.
#3 Payment and currency exchange
When hiring international freelancers, businesses should consider payment methods and currency exchange rates. Make sure that any payment methods are secure and reliable, and factor in currency exchange rates when budgeting for the project.
This will prevent you from being blindsided by how much extra you may have to pay in terms of fees or banking commissions.
#4 Communication and timezones
Working with international talent can result in time zone differences and scheduling issues, which may prove harmful to productivity and collaboration.
To mitigate this, should consider using communication and collaboration tools to facilitate communication with international freelancers. Tools like Skype, Zoom, and Slack can help bridge the distance and make having meetings easier with international freelancers.
International recruitment solutions – How to find and hire international talent
#1 Freelance platforms
The easiest way of finding international talent is through freelance platforms like freelancermap, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
Freelance platforms, like ours, help get you connected to thousands of skilled workers who are ready to tackle your next project. All you have to do is sign up, post a job description, and then pick through the application to find the right freelancer for your needs.
Pros of using freelance platforms:
- Access to a larger talent pool: You’ll be able to find the right freelancer with the right skills for your project from anywhere around the world.
- Ease of hiring and onboarding: A freelance platform makes the process of hiring and onboarding a freelancer much easier than finding someone on your own or using a traditional agency.
- Easy payroll process: A freelance platform helps provide a secure payment system that prevents delayed payment.
- Tailored deadlines: You can save time by hiring people with expertise in specific fields.This helps avoid long term delays and can help you reach deadlines.
Cons of using freelance platforms:
- Commission fees: Possibly the worst thing about freelancer platforms is the commission fee that you have to pay as a project provider.
- Unpredictable quality of work: Platforms can’t always guarantee quality over quantity of the freelancers that are applying for your projects.
Did you know that freelancermap has no commission fees?
That means you pay 0% when you land a job!
#2 Networking with other businesses
Another way of finding the right talent internationally is by networking with other businesses and clients. You can ask your coworkers, colleagues, and industry contacts for referrals.
Pros of networking with other businesses:
- Tried and tested: Getting referrals from your network means getting the best freelancers for your project. Other businesses and clients will only refer someone to you whose work they’ve been impressed with.
- Can save on time: Looking for a freelancer through your network can help you save time on creating job ads and job descriptions to find the perfect candidate.
Cons of networking with other businesses:
- Not always the right fit: Sometimes a freelancer may be right for another business or project but may lack the skills needed to work for you.
- Limited by the contacts you have: In order to find freelancers through other businesses, you need to have a network. This may not always be the case for everyone.
#3 Posting job ads on social media
Posting ads on social media is another great way of getting in touch with the right freelancer. Lots of freelancers are in the habit of joining LinkedIn and Facebook groups where they can gather and share opinions on different subjects and thought processes.
Infact, according to data from a poll run by us on LinkedIn, 82% of freelancers use the platform to look for new freelance work.
Pros of posting job ads on social media:
- Targeted talent pools: Because of social media’s diverse range of specific groups, you’ll be able to narrow down your talent pool.
- Branding boost: Sharing job profiles on social media can notably boost your brand and improve visibility and credibility.
- Recruiting cost savings: Creating a social media job posting is free, efficient and has low time to hire.
- Higher quality candidates: Most freelancers on social media are tech-savvy and have the necessary know-how about emerging business and relevant industry trends.
Cons of posting job ads on social media:
- Potential hiring bias: Social media profiles could create a bias, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
- Difficulty with contacting candidates: It can sometimes prove difficult to initiate direct contact with candidates on social media because of private messaging rules.
- Can attract a high volume of candidates: Posting on social media allows you to attract a high volume of applicants – all of which you have to go through and filter.
#4 International freelance recruitment companies
Finally, you can look to international recruitment companies that specialise in helping freelancers and clients connect with each other. The pros and cons of working with these companies are as follows:
Pros of working with international recruitment companies:
- Skilled candidates: Because these companies specialise in freelance recruitment, you can be sure that they’ll get you the right freelancer with the right skills needed for your project.
- Help with the hiring process: The recruitment company will be responsible for managing the hiring process and providing the freelancer with a good candidate experience.
- Knowledge of international markets: Recruiters with international hiring experience have knowledge of the market or industry in which they are located. This helps them make informed decisions when choosing freelance candidates.
Cons of working with international recruitment companies:
- Higher costs: The most obvious con of working with international recruitment companies is the fee you will have to pay to use their services.
- Quantity vs quality: Sometimes, for profit-motivated recruiters to meet their targets, they send across old and irrelevant CVs to their clients.
- Cultural fit: Recruitment companies don’t often present and advertise your brand properly. Freelance applicants therefore won’t completely understand your company, and so won’t know whether they’re the best fit for your team.
International recruitment – Best practices
Here are some best practices to follow when considering international recruitment.
#1 Check timezone difference
Before working with any international freelancer partner, check their timezone and ask them about their work schedules. Also provide them with your own work schedule and availability. This ensures that both of you know which time is perfect to contact each other.
#2 Take note of any cultural differences
Respect and acknowledge any cultural differences that could potentially affect your working relationship. Customs in international countries can influence freelance working hours and work ethics and should therefore be taken into consideration.
#3 Have a written contract
Having a written contract is essential not only for running a reliable, functioning and secure business but also to prevent any miscommunication that can arise between you and the freelancer you’re working with.
Make sure your contract mentions clearly that your freelancer is an independent contractor and NOT an employee.
#4 Check with local laws
This is perhaps the most important step in the process of hiring international talent. Make sure that you check the local laws of the country you’re in and the country your freelancer is in. Different countries have different laws that determine the requirements of an independent contractor and so make sure you are not in violation of any of them.
💡 Consider hiring local legal counsel before working with any international freelancers. This will reduce any risks considerably and ensure that you are compliant with local laws.
#5 Ensure smooth communication
Clear communication is crucial when working with a freelancer. Especially one that’s overseas. Make sure you answer any questions that your freelancer may have beforehand and be upfront about your preferred communication method.
Also, be clear about how often you would like to check-in or how often you would want an update on your project.
#6 Provide feedback
Another thing that you can do to ensure a smooth process is to provide your freelancer with constant helpful feedback throughout the length of the project. This ensures that they understand exactly what’s needed and can help prevent any delays in the project.
#7 Ensure timely payments
Many freelancers rely on timely payments to make ends meet, especially in international countries. Make sure that you pay contractors for their services according to the timeline established in your contract.
Recruiting freelancers from abroad – The process
The process of hiring international talent can generally be broken down into the following steps:
#1 Screening and recruiting
The first step in international recruitment is screening and selecting the right candidates. Because you cannot meet with your freelancers, you will need to conduct thorough virtual interviews and look over their experience carefully. You may choose to conduct background checks but make sure that this is legal in the country where your freelancer is from.
#2 Contractual agreement
Next, you will need to create a comprehensive and detailed contractual agreement. Make sure you outline crucial aspects such as pay, services, timelines, confidentiality agreements, ownership of work, etc. You will also want to include local laws that will be followed in the event of a legal disagreement.
#3 Compliance with laws
The most important thing to keep in mind when recruiting freelancers from abroad is to ensure that your business is in compliance with laws and regulations related to freelancers and contractors. These laws will differ depending on where you and your freelancer live so make sure you check them before drafting any contracts.
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For example, in the US, you have to classify your contractor correctly and create a robust agreement before starting on any work. This agreement needs to include the scope of work describing the services, compensation, confidentiality and data protection clauses, etc. You may also need to file proper tax forms and compile and report the total compensation on the appropriate tax slips. What’s more, you will need to collect IRS form W-8BEN in order to ensure that the freelancer is not a US citizen.
Similarly, in the UK, freelance contracts should be governed by the laws of the country where you are based. This will help facilitate the enforcement of the agreement by the UK courts. It is also suggested that you check your freelancer’s self-employment and tax status.
In Spain, freelancers are entitled to some yearly paid time off, even if they work just for you. Some EU countries also have regulations in place in order to curb false self-employment. This means there is a limit to how much work a certain freelancer can do for you before they’re considered an employee. It is therefore crucial for you to check and comply with local regulations and laws and labour guidelines.
The final step in the process of international recruitment is to make sure that there is a safe and reliable payment procedure in place. This will ensure that you’re protected from any fee surprises and your freelancer will also get paid in a timely manner.
Risks when hiring international freelancers and how to avoid them
As mentioned above, the biggest risk that you can take in this situation is misclassifying workers. Every country has its own set of rules when it comes to distinguishing employees from freelancers and misclassification can result in fines or in some cases, even jail time!
For example in the US and Canada, misclassifying workers can lead to fines and penalties whereas in France, in addition to paying a fine, you could get a maximum sentence of 3 years in prison.
The best thing to do to avoid risks and legal challenges is to consult with an expert prior to working with a freelancer.
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