Ben meets Oyster

We caught up with Tony Jamous, CEO and Co-founder of Oyster, to find out why companies should consider hiring globally, and how Oyster can help

Interview Series

⋅ min read

Let’s face it, hiring can sometimes be a headache. So what if you could bring the best people for the job on board faster, easier and without worrying about their location? Meet Oyster. Payroll, onboarding, compliance and more - all faster, digital and in the same simple place. Not only will you save buckets of time and paperwork, but with options to expand your recruiting pool worldwide, finding the perfect candidate has never been more in reach. Did you hear that? That was your hiring manager clapping their hands with glee…

We spoke with Tony Jamous, CEO and Co-founder of Oyster, to find out why hiring from a global talent pool can be a big advantage, what challenges their customers face, and how Oyster helps solve them with their innovative platform.

 Give us an elevator pitch on Oyster in 30 seconds…

Oyster is the HR platform for globally distributed companies. It lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches or the expense. Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks. Jack Mardack and I found Oyster in Jan 2020, and as a company we are fully remote with a diverse, globally distributed team.

What makes Oyster so different? 

With Oyster you can hire in days and seamlessly onboard your team of A-players wherever you find them. We also offer built-in legal and tax compliance, including automatic deductions and tax withholdings. You can offer employees and contractors equity and inclusive medical benefits, wherever they live and leverage local HR and legal expertise so you can provide an exceptional employee experience, anywhere. 

What are the most common challenges customers face when they come to you?

Our customers are looking for a way to hire full-time employees in X country. It can be daunting hiring across borders because each country has its own laws and regulations when it comes to taxes and employment law. But with Oyster, we take care of keeping you compliant (legal and tax) and making sure your employees have a great experience. Some of the other challenges our customers face is converting contractors to full-time employees and keeping their current employees legally employed when they move to another country. 

How has the pandemic impacted Oyster and have you adapted your product and services in response?

With remote work becoming the new normal since March 2020, teams distributed across borders are on the rise. Recruiting the best talent for the job no longer needs to be limited to your own backyard and many companies looking for "knowledge" talent (eg. tech, professional services) want to recruit and hire the best team members in the world. 

However, the traditional alternatives for hiring abroad are still extremely expensive and time-consuming. And, global talent have high expectations for employment—they expect locally compliant employment, in local currency pay, and all the perks and benefits of other employees.

Distributed HR softwares (like Oyster), make it easier, cheaper and faster to hire, pay and manage global team members and contractors. Now, companies can build and manage an efficient, happy globally distributed team without the burden and complexities that used to limit cross-border organizations.

Why should everyone think about hiring globally?

Hiring globally has benefits for your customers, your employees, and of course to your business.

For one, hiring employees across borders gives you the ability to easily support a global customer base with distributed Sales, Customer Success, and Tech Support teams. Your teams are generally more productive because they have fewer distractions in their work environment. For that same reason, they can be more creative and solve problems in new and interesting ways. Giving employees the space to think results in more innovation. 

You also benefit from more diverse and rich perspectives. Hiring globally can also create a more inclusive environment—one that gives introverts the opportunity to shine. 

Finally, as an employer, you become more attractive to potential employees. Why? Because employees expect the ability to work remotely now and they are willing to change jobs for this benefit (and are loyal to companies that provide it). 

Talk to us about some of the challenges of hiring globally? 

Collaborating across multiple time zones can be tough. Distributed teams need to build increased levels of autonomy and visibility because they can’t solely rely on face-to-face communication to ensure everyone is aware of what is going on, to resolve issues, or even make decisions. Your employees are also at risk of overwork and potentially burnout. Remote employees need to be good at setting their work schedule to not allow work to bleed into their evenings or weekends and employers need to support those guardrails. 

Loneliness and isolation can also be a problem. There needs to be deliberate efforts made to help teams bond with each other, particularly when it comes to new joiners or individuals that are either naturally extroverted and need more interaction or naturally introverted people that feel uncomfortable being proactive and socializing. 

What are some of the most popular countries to hire from?

There are so many amazing countries to hire from. We’ve seen a lot of great salespeople come out of Colombia. South Africa has great customer support or success talent. Serbia, Georgia, and Armenia are good alternatives for tech talent to other more well-known Eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Poland, and Romania. Brazil is a massive talent market—you can find most roles there. Malaysia has a good APAC talent pool. They typically speak very good English due to their history with the UK and can be much less expensive than Singapore. Finally, Lebanon has a very entrepreneurial culture and you can find a lot of good tri-lingual talent there (Arabic, English, French).

What’s next for the future of Oyster? 

We are on a mission to remove the barriers of global hiring so that talented people around the world can access the best job opportunities. Our roadmap is driven by our mission and we look at solving the full remote employee lifecycle challenges, which involves more than just compliance and payroll. We’re interested in making the employee experience more human and their HR teams’ experiences delightful. 

A big thank you to Tony for taking the time to speak with us and for the really helpful insights!

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