Using an Employer of Record (EOR) is a great way to broaden your developer talent pool and hire across borders. However, there are some differences to your usual hiring process. Communicating how this works is crucial to ensure international candidates don’t drop off in the pipeline. Here’s how OfferZen’s hiring team approaches this process to ensure a great candidate experience.
Why OfferZen uses an EOR to hire international developers
If you want to tap into a larger pool of tech talent outside of your own country, one option to do so compliantly is to use a global employment platform/Employer of Record (EOR) for hiring in other countries. EOR services acts as the employer on your behalf in a region by handling payroll, benefits, taxes and team members’ compliance for you.
This is the method we followed at OfferZen to access the wider developer pool in Africa. As a fast-scaling company, we needed to grow the number of back-end, front-end and full stack developers to keep up with the needs of the business.
These developer roles are in high demand in South Africa, but we have an additional constraint at OfferZen that makes hiring local developers more difficult. Part of our mission as a developer job marketplace is helping other companies grow their tech teams.
Although we use our own platform to find developers, we don’t actively reach out to developers we’ve helped to find jobs that are still working for our customers. As a solution, we were eager to tap into the developer talent pools on the rest of the continent. There are an estimated 700,000 software developers across Africa, with large talent pools in Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco.
We focused on Kenya and Nigeria specifically, as we saw promising levels of developer activity from these regions on OfferZen, and salary ranges were very in line with what we offer South African developers.
We have partnered with several EORs to assist our clients with their international hiring, which meant that we had already established relationships with their teams. To start hiring in more African countries, we chose to work with Playroll. Our shared timezone with their team meant collaboration and access to information would be very quick. This was a major benefit since we had to rapidly figure out the international hiring process.
Read more about why we had to take this step as a company, and how we got set up to start hiring in Kenya and Nigeria.
Here’s how we approached the cross-border hiring process to ensure the best possible experience and prevent drop-off of developers in our pipeline.
How to ensure a great candidate experience for international developers in your hiring process
Tell candidates that you’re hiring through an Employer of Record from the get-go
Developers might not be familiar with the function of an EOR: The last thing you want is to surprise the candidate with this fact at the later stages of the hiring process. Raise it from the get-go, as well as all details about the nature of the role — for example, in our case, all our roles in Kenya and Nigeria are fully remote.
Provide an explanation of how an EOR functions in your initial screening call with a candidate. For example, this is what the start of this conversation looks like in our context:
“We do contracts/onboarding aspects via an EOR because we don’t have an entity registered outside of South Africa and The Netherlands. Playroll will be your employer on paper, but you will work for OfferZen like any other team member. They just handle all matters related to your contract and payslip”.
From there, provide room for the candidate to ask any questions about the process. This is to avoid surprises for the candidate when a contract or future payslips come from the EOR rather than yourself. It sets expectations upfront, allowing you to answer any questions developers might have from the start.
Make it clear to candidates that they’ll have the same experience as everyone else if they end up joining the team, and that you’re there to support them every step of the way with any of the required paperwork and administration.
While they may be employed and onboarded by the EOR for legal purposes, in every other way, they will be onboarded and integrated as part of your internal team and company.
Have conversations about salary expectations early in your process
Before you kick-start the hiring process, an EOR can typically help you with benchmarking in any specific region, and advise you on any requirements for payroll in that country. That said, make sure you raise the salary question early on with developers in your pipeline.
With the rise of global, remote hiring, many candidates expect to be paid in currencies different to their local currency (for example, Dollars or Euros). To be competitive, you may need to be flexible and pay in various currencies. Your EOR should be able to help with this.
Double-check with the candidate what their expected salary is to ensure you know their preference and avoid any surprises later down the line.
Explain how benefits will work for international developer hires
Since statutory requirements for benefits differ by country, you’ll likely need to change how you structure employee benefits in a new country.
As far as possible, try to ensure candidates in new regions receive similar benefits to your other team members.
Where you can’t offer the same benefits (for example, equity can be tricky to offer in the same way in multiple countries), balance it with other benefits in that region to make up for it. Be transparent about how your benefits are structured, and emphasise your efforts to offer the same benefits to international candidates.
This will go a long way to make them feel included and as valuable as any other members of your team.
Pro tip: EORs have expert knowledge of statutory requirements in different regions and can help you set your initial benchmarks. Some publicly available resources can guide you even if you’re not signed up for their services yet: Check out country guides by Playroll, Omnipresent, Deel and Remote.
Be very clear on your deadlines and timelines with international hires
The timelines for onboarding a new team member through an EOR are usually tighter and less flexible than timelines within your own team. For example, candidates must sign their contracts and be onboarded to the platform by specific dates to start their jobs and be paid in an intended month.
Always be mindful that hiring at speed is crucial in a developer’s candidate journey. If a signed offer and contract of employment aren’t completed on time, according to the EOR’s timelines, it means that the developer’s start date would have to move to the following month to align with the EOR’s payroll calendar. This can cause major friction in the candidate journey and a negative experience of your process.
To avoid this, it’s best to over-communicate the relevant deadlines for when you need certain paperwork or whether action is required from the candidate. Therefore, quick feedback loops within your People or HR team — and between the team and hiring managers — are crucial during this part of the hiring journey.
OfferZen’s top tips for your hiring team
- Have more regular check-ins: Cross-border hiring is new territory for many teams. Establish a regular check-in to discuss your hiring efforts, and identify where you might need to change your approach. What are the trends we’re picking up? Are there any issues coming up, and how will you solve that?
- Establish a dedicated communication channel: for your hiring efforts in the new region/country to make it easy for people to share their learnings.
- Put together training or a guide for your hiring team: Put together a resource on all the deadlines and admin involved in working with an EOR. This can contain details on when the team needs to have contracts signed, for example, for a candidate to be successfully onboarded to their platform.
- Decide early on how you’ll get hardware and peripherals to these team members: Providing equipment to developers in time for their start date plays an important role in retaining top tech talent. Make sure you plan for this ahead of time. At OfferZen, we make use of one of our partner services, Hofy, to deliver equipment to our remote team members.
If you’re using an EOR to hire developers for your team, and have any learnings or tips to share, please comment below! We’d love to hear from you.
- How to Hire International Tech Talent. This chapter from our Ultimate Developer Hiring Guide unpacks the key considerations of hiring developers internationally, the global hiring options available to you, and the pros and cons of each.
- Why OfferZen Uses an Employer of Record to Hire Developers Across Africa
- How to Win at Hiring Quality Remote Tech Talent in Africa