What’s one thing I should do before trying to hire overseas?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Hire Local Contractors First
Before you try hiring overseas, I’d recommend hiring a local, experienced part-time contractor first. You may find (as we did) that a local contractor will be more reliable than an overseas hire, and the project costs won’t be much higher. And if all goes well, you may end up wanting to extend a full-time position and build up a local team.
2. Get Everything in Writing
Of course you know that you should have all of your terms written out and notarized before you hire overseas — but there could be a lot of cultural differences in communication when you’re just dealing with a head hunter who works internationally. Make sure you know someone who can be your “cultural interpreter” and find a lawyer to cross all your T’s and dot your I’s.
3. Ask for Local References
I’ve had great and poor experience with hiring overseas individuals and businesses for opportunities and projects. Most of the time, I request a list of local companies that have previously engaged the individual or overseas company for hire, granted I’m not in a pinch. This reveals more information about the overseas hire than you could request or even try searching online.
4. Start With a One Month Trial
The biggest challenges with these situations are time differences, inability to coordinate complex projects over phone/video and of course cultural differences when it comes to work habits. A one month trial can solve these issues. If hiring overseas is important, definitely start with a one month trial.
5. Create a Managing Plan for Remote Work
Hiring a remote team can have advantages for early stage companies. However, teams need direction and guidance to perform efficiently. Don’t think that you’ll be able to just hire a team overseas and set them loose on a project. They will require much more attention than if you were working side by side. If you’re not careful, it can take more of your time and be less efficient.
6. Align Your Cultures
Before founding Uassist.ME, I tried hiring in Asia. But our ways of working and living were so different that I never felt a real connection.
7. Know Their Limits
If you are not technical and you are looking for overseas help to execute on your vision, you are in for a world of hurt. You simply must have local expertise to orchestrate the development; period. You cannot outsource the architecture of any platform beyond a simple blog page, and even that can be challenging. Find vested, local help so that you don’t expect too much and waste time and money.
8. Have a Management Team in Place
Before hiring a team overseas, you must have a solid management team in place at your office so that you can make effective use of your remote employees. The biggest mistake one can make hiring people overseas is expecting them to already know exactly what you want them to do. Remote employees require exact directions and requirements for what’s expected of them.
9. Start Small
In these situations, you typically aren’t getting a good referral from a friend who has worked with them in the past and you can‘t meet them to build rapport. Going overseas is a very blind move, so start slow and give them a chance; not the whole kingdom. Start them off with a small project, assess how they handle it, then determine whether you want to go the distance with them.
10. Visit the OffShore Location
I’ve seen many companies fail with offshoring staff. The small group that I would consider successful have one thing in common: They spend time at their offshore locations on a regular basis, and often have their offshore employees visit their U.S. offices. It’s important to make this connection and have your U.S. employees meet and respect the overseas team (and vice versa).
11. Hire Someone Who Speaks Your Language
When I tell clients to get somebody who speaks their language, I’m not just talking about English. You need someone who has experience working remotely, understands the space you’re in, is easy to communicate with and above all else is willing to work independently. If youcan find someone that meets all those requirements, hire them immediately.