Podcast August 20, 2020

Hiring internationally just got a whole lot easier

With everyone working remotely due to COVID, it’s easy to see why companies are rethinking their offices. 

Why not hire from all across the globe? Your talent pool expands and you can be sure you’ve hired the best person for the job.

But then you try to pay them and it’s a nightmare.

At least, that’s what happened to Job van der Voort, CEO at Remote. His previous company was fully distributed well before COVID was a thing. 

And their biggest hurdle wasn’t productivity or different time zones — it was paying their employees. 

So he did something about it and started Remote, which aims to keep any company from ever having the same experience. 

In this episode, we go over:

  • The challenges to hiring worldwide
  • How Remote is tackling the problem
  • The challenges Remote are facing

Why hiring internationally is a pain

The hiring problem Job faced at his previous company is something many companies keen to draw on a global talent pool have faced — every country has different rules and regulations for payments. In fact, the only thing they share is the Herculean task they make employers go through to scale their financial hurdles. 

Every time Job ran full speed ahead and tried to pay his international talent, he’d trip over one of these hurdles. 

The experience was always painful, slow, bureaucratic and, worst of all expensive. 

They’d hire someone in Portugal and they would find out that, to deal with taxes, they needed a Portuguese bank account — an experience repeated in numerous countries. 

And even when they did set up an account, there was always some fee that took the hard-earned money out of their employee’s pockets. 

He figured there had to be a better way.

“We want to encourage employers to pay fairly everywhere in the world.” — Job van der Voort

So, he started Remote to help other companies save money, keep them from repeatedly running into the same stumbling blocks and put more money in the pockets of employees. 

Remote’s solution

Remote provides a software solution to the problem, drawing upon a global infrastructure to move money efficiently. 

Job has set Remote up as an employer of records in multiple different countries. 

And that’s no easy task — he has to learn all the ins-and-outs of local labor laws in each country. 

Remote allows for an employer who signs up to input where the employee is located and they’ll do the rest. 

They take care of payroll benefits and compliance in all the countries they support. 

And that’s thanks to the tireless efforts of Job in dealing with the bureaucrats so you don’t have to. 

Despite the difficulty in creating this infrastructure for Job, the service couldn’t be easier for an employer. It’s as simple as signing up for the Twitter app (without any threat of trolls or arguments over politics). 

“We hope that by doing this really well and making sure that it’s all very easy for an employee and an employer to hire internationally, we level the playing field.” — Job van der Voort

Finally, Remote only charge a small flat fee — which saves a lot of money compared to all the older methods, where fees and currency conversion could often eat sizable chunks out of an employee’s paycheck. 

It’s great for the employer because it solves these myriad problems and it’s great for the employee because they get all of the money they actually earned. 

The challenges they still face

Many of the core challenges for Remote are relatively simple, such as the ability to exchange currency seamlessly. 

Others, well… 

They’re trickier. 

Like the fact that almost every country in the world has labor laws requiring the exact salary agreed to be paid to an employee, which means you need to reliably know exactly how much is going to end up in their account. 

And that’s a bigger challenge than it might seem on its face. Currency exchanges vary moment-to-moment. 

Another huge challenge is many countries require a local bank account in order to deal with tax burdens — Remote intends to expand into almost every country, which translates to a lot of bank accounts.  

“What we’ve learned is: It doesn’t work. You can’t use a single bank account and just reliably pay all over the world.” — Job van der Voort

No traditional bank can offer services in all these countries, let alone any of the starter banks. 

The biggest challenge long-term is not just bounding over these roadblocks, but automating past them. Remote plan on expanding to 40 countries by the end of this year. 

Getting there means a whole lot of paperwork, bureaucracy and challenges for Job — but they’re all worth it if it helps level the international playing field for employees and employers alike.  

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Until next time!

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