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Hire remote workers: 5 tips to avoid those committing tax fraud


Remote working is changing the way both people and businesses work. So, with the number of remote workers significantly on the rise, we take a look at how to hire remote workers and avoid being lumbered with those who are committing tax fraud and other crimes.

Some parts of the world are very close to shutting down the pandemic in their area. The US is one of those places that is stutter-stepping its way into progress with two steps forward and one — sometimes giant — step backward. We can’t seem to have any good news that doesn’t also come with a generous side order of bad news.

One such example is work from home. Many people love it and don’t want to go back to the way things were. Many hate it and can’t wait to get back to the office. Unfortunately for the latter group, it looks like many businesses will hang on to the work from home model longer than expected. Many potential employment candidates are not yet comfortable with returning to an office environment.

If you are having to hire people in this environment for jobs that don’t necessarily require on-prem work, you are having to face a whole new challenge. How, exactly, are you supposed to hire people whom you have not met and might never see in person. The old way of hiring suggests that is a fool’s errand. But reality says we have to learn to get on with it.

5 tips to successfully hire remote workers

Here are a few things you can do to maintain your hiring standards without the need for an in-person interview:

Background Check

Remote hiring should never lead to less scrutiny of candidates, but more. You need an employment background check that goes above and beyond, the kind that will give you information on tax status. How else will you know if your candidate has been guilty of prior tax fraud? It is not as if they would tell you, or put it on the CV.

There are many reasons a person might have a negative tax implication in their background. Not all positions in your company lead to direct dealings with finances. But in the grand scheme of things when comparing roughly equal candidates, you will want to go with the one who is not embroiled in a tax fight with the US government. It is also the case that a person who would defraud the government out of taxes would likely defraud you. That is not the person you want to gain access to your company at any level.

Video interviews

Remote management entails many of the same challenges as remote hiring. The difference is you already know a lot about the people you are managing. And you need to learn a lot about the person you are hiring. A lot of what you learn about a person is in subtie, visual cues. You can tell a lot about a person by how often they maintain or break eye contact. You can gauge their poise under pressure by how they shift their body position. You can get a general sense of whether they are fully engaging with the process or just going through the motions.

Pay particular attention to their demeanour

You will also be able to tell how that person will portray your company when they speak to clients. If they cannot maintain a professional demeanor with you, they will not be able to manage it with your clients. In the before times, some companies did telephone interviews before bringing a person in for a face to face. Now that the face to face is less likely to happen, get the most from video interviews.

Real-world assessment

Many written assessments are terrible. Not everyone does well on tests. That shouldn’t be held against them. The better way to assess the skills of a candidate is to have them do a sample of what the job actually involves. A math assessment tells you nothing about whether or not a candidate is capable of doing a typical office job. It is more useful to have them proofread, format, and transcode Word files into something more internet friendly. Don’t bother assessing how smart a candidate is overall. Rather, provide assessments to see if they can actually do the job. Any other assessment is a waste of time.

Use a longer probationary period

Sometimes problems don’t appear in the early months. Many businesses that used to have a 3-month probationary period are not extending that to 6 months and even 12 months. This gives them a better chance to size up remote workers on the job properly and also assess their tax compliance.

In summary

We are entering a world where it might become even more common to hire remote workers you will never meet. Don’t lower your standards. Raise them by doing better background checks, video interviews, paying attention to their demeanour, real-world assessments and extending the probationary term.

About Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabeth Harmon is a writer for Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She is a Social Media Consultant with a number of years’ experience in the field. She has worked with a growing list of clients around the world, helping to build successful social media strategies, create effective content and much more. Twitter: Google+: Facebook: Website:

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