Having the opportunity to work with international contractors offers lots of benefits for businesses., These can include access to a diverse talent pool, huge cost savings, and global expansion. 

However, just because talent is everywhere doesn’t mean the sector is without issues. These complexities cover a wide range of sectors, including finance, onboarding, hiring, talent sourcing, and team management. If you want to stay ahead, you need certain principles and best practices as guidance.

Understanding the Basics of International Hiring

When it comes to hiring international or remote contractors, your first step is to have an understanding of the basics. Here, let’s do an overview of the key aspects involved in international or remote hiring.

Defining International Contractor Hiring

To start, let's clarify what we mean by international contractor hiring. This refers to the process of recruiting and employing individuals from different countries to work remotely for your firm. It is a way of having access to a diverse talent pool without the need for a physical presence.

Identify the Need: Why Hire International Contractors

Once you understand your “WHY”, it can provide clarity and help you align your hiring strategy with the goals of your business. Some common reasons to consider international contractors include:

  • Access to skilled and specialized talent: Sometimes, your firm needs some specialized skills that your local market may not have. International contractors often possess unique skills and expertise that you can tap into. 
  • Cost Efficiency: Hiring international contractors can be a cost-effective solution. This is especially true if you hire from a market with affordable rates.
  • Expand your market into different jurisdictions: If you wish to expand your business into new markets, this is a great approach.  Hiring international contractors who are familiar with the local culture, language, and market dynamics can give you a competitive advantage.
  • Different Viewpoints and innovation: International contractors bring diverse perspectives and experiences to your team, fostering innovation and creativity. 
  • Opportunity to complete your temporary or seasonal work: if you have tasks that are seasonal or temporary, then using international contractors is the best option. 

Determining the skills and experience you need

Once you know why you’re hiring international contractors, the next step is to know the skills needed to fill those roles. Here are best practices to hire based on skills and expertise. 

  • Requirements of the tasks: Identify the key skills and qualifications needed to complete your tasks.
  • Technology and tools: Determine the right software or tools relevant to the project or role.
  • Cultural or market fit: Assess whether the contractor needs to be familiar with your target market's culture, language, or business practices.
  • Soft Skills: Consider the desired soft skills, such as communication, adaptability, problem-solving needed for the tasks to be successful.

Understanding the Legal and Regulatory Implications

Every jurisdiction has their own laws, so does the country you’re hiring from. Before proceeding with international hiring, you should understand what these laws and regulations are. Consider the following aspects:

Work permits 

Familiarize yourself with the work permit and visa requirements for hiring contractors in these countries. Ensure compliance with immigration laws to avoid any legal issues.

Employment contracts 

Understand the legal requirements for drafting employment contracts. These could include terms of engagement, compensation, intellectual property rights, and confidentiality clauses.

Tax obligations

Determine the tax obligations for your business and the international contractors based on the countries. 

Intellectual property rights 

Always ensure that you clarify ownership and protection of intellectual property rights in the contractor's work. 

How to Source and Select International Contractors

How do you go about hiring these contractors? Where do you get them? Which platforms should you use? We’ll answer these and many more in this section.

Online freelance platforms

Explore popular online platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, or Toptal. 

Job boards that cater to remote jobs

Look for remote job boards that cater specifically to remote work or international hiring. Sites like Remote.co, We Work Remotely, or FlexJobs.

Industry-specific communities

Expand your search to include industry-specific online communities, forums, or social media groups.

Recruiter or recruitment agency

Consider partnering with a recruiter or a recruitment agency that specialize in sourcing international contractors. 

One last thing here, you should always ensure that hiring with the methods above may not cover KYC, Payments, taxes, and compliance. It’s important to always handle that with Arbonum or any other service so you operate legally regardless of where you’re hiring from.

Assessing qualifications, skills, and cultural fit

Here’s how to evaluate international contractors to fit the role you’re hiring for:

Review contractors’ portfolios and resumes

Carefully examine portfolios, resumes, and work samples. You should do this to assess the contractor's relevant experience, skills, and past projects.

Conduct skill assessments

Consider conducting skill assessments or tests to evaluate the contractor's proficiency in the required technical skills. 

Check references

Request and verify references from the contractor's previous clients or employers. Reach out to these references to gain insights into the contractor's work ethic, communication skills, and ability to meet deadlines.

Conducting Interviews and Reference Checks

If you want to select the right international contractor, then you need to conduct interviews and do recent checks. We’ve had lots of clients at Arbonum talk about our KYC and contractor verification features, and they love it. This is because we see interviews and reference checks to be crucial in selecting the right international contractors. 

  • Structured interviews: Prepare a list of relevant interview questions that cover contractor's skills, experience, problem-solving abilities, and work style. 
  • Conduct video interviews: Conduct video interviews to get a better sense of the contractor's communication skills, professionalism, and presence.
  • Do your reference checks: Reach out to provided references to gain insights into the contractor's performance, reliability, and work ethic. 

Onboarding and managing international contractors

How your contractors work, their tasks, etc, are all done through onboarding. It’s only through this that you can ensure a good working relationship. And also set them up for success. Here are the best practices to consider during onboarding.

Define project goals

Clearly communicate the objectives and goals of the project to the international contractor. 

Establish communication channels

Determine the preferred communication channels and set guidelines for regular check-ins. Tools like Slack, Zoom, or Clickup are good for both communication and project management.

Outline roles and responsibilities

Clearly define the contractor's roles and responsibilities within the project or team. 

Agree on time zones

Discuss and agree upon the working time to align with both parties' time zones.

Ensuring  effective communication and collaboration

  • Without effective communication and collaboration, your work with international contractors may breed strong contradictions. Consider the following practices to foster productive collaboration:
  • Ensure a policy where each of you does regular check-Ins and progress updates
  • Make use of online collaboration tools to facilitate communication and project management. 
  • Create an environment that supports open communication where contractors feel comfortable sharing ideas, asking questions, and providing feedback
  • Set expectations for response times, availability, and communication etiquette.

Managing time zone differences

Working with international contractors often involves managing timezone differences. Consider the following practices when you want to overcome these challenges:

  • Identify overlapping working hours between your organization and the contractor's time zone. This helps create a real-time communication and collaboration. 
  • Explore flexible work arrangements that accommodate the contractor's timezone. For example, you could adjust meeting times or allow for flexible working hours. 
  • Use time zone converters to ensure that both parties are aware of the timezone differences and any potential impact on project timelines or response times. 

Handling payments and invoicing

Managing payments and invoicing for international contractors requires careful attention to financial considerations. Here are best practices to ensure smooth financial transactions:

  • Select the right payment methods: Determine the most suitable payment methods for international transactions with your contractors. Options may include bank transfers, online payment platforms like PayPal or TransferWise, or third-party payment services specific to the contractor's country.
  • Clarify your terms of payment with the contractor: Agree upon clear payment terms, including the frequency of payments, currency conversion rates, and any applicable fees or taxes.
  • Maintain Proper Invoicing: Establish a standardized invoicing process to ensure accurate and timely payments. 

Dealing with tax and insurance

Whenever you’re hiring international contractors, always ensure you’re abreast with tax and insurance regulations. Consider the following practices:

  • Consult with a tax professional: Seek advice from tax professionals who specialize in international taxation to understand your obligations as an employer.
  • Determine the requirements surrounding tax withholding: Clarify whether you are required to withhold taxes from the contractor's payments and remit them to the appropriate tax authorities.
  • Insurance coverage: Assess whether the contractor needs to have appropriate insurance coverage, such as professional liability insurance, to protect against potential risks or liabilities.

Using Arbonum to handle both payments and taxes

when it comes to hiring and working with contractors around the world, Arbonum has got your covered. Arbonum offers a platform that allows businesses (mostly creative agencies, game dev studios, software engineering teams, digital agencies, etc) to manage payments, contracts, and compliance for contractors. 

When it comes to pricing, Arbonum charges a fee per transaction, but there are no hidden fees. With a 4-year track record in the industry, customers have continually praised Arbonum for its ease of use, reliability, and customer support.

Learn more about Arbonum

hiring international contractors: Conclusion

With this, you should now, as a business, creative studio, game dev agency, or digital team, have an all-round understanding of the best practices to follow when hiring international contractors. 

However, always remember to adapt these guidelines to your specific situation. This could include your location, where you’re hiring these contractors from, the size of your team, and budget. You should also seek professional help whenever the need arises in your international contractor hiring journey.