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Recruiting Top Talent in the US 

As the strongest economy in the world, spanning six time zones, the United States of America’s free enterprise system encourages invention and innovation. With a GDP of over US$22 trillion and 333 million population, this is the largest consumer market in the world.

The US is a magnet for attracting the cream of international talent, with a fast-moving economy and ‘level playing field’ for business that demands companies move swiftly and positively if they want to extend their international reach into this rewarding market.

This potential underlines why Bradford Jacobs’ global experience in recruiting the best candidates for your company is indispensable for taking the smartest route into the US – the major player in the global economy, but one with particular challenges.

Bradford Jacobs’ benchmark platforms as a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) have worldwide reach and include a total understanding of the challenging complexities of the US economy and employment market. You can trust Bradford Jacobs to put the brightest talent in place for your company.

You need your staff to be ‘up and running’ as soon as possible – and this guide highlights everything an employer needs to understand the recruitment process in the US.

The Recruitment Process in the US

Recruitment is the first stage of making your company operational in the US. It is vital to know where to locate the best talent to be a perfect fit for your company’s plans.

Foreign companies opening a legal entity subsidiary must follow a strict procedure to register and onboard employees. These include:

  • Ensuring the employee has completed Form I-9, allowing them to legally work. This must be completed with contact details and social security number on or before their first day and presented with ID and employment authorization no later than the third day.

  • All employers must complete Form W-4 highlighting how much tax is withheld from employees’ salaries and must be completed before the employee receives the first salary payment.

  • New employees’ details must be forwarded to the relevant state’s Labor Agency, who oversee any issues between employees and employer and handle unemployment benefits.

  • It is mandatory in most states for employers to hold Workers’ Compensation Insurance, covering employees becoming ill or injured due to work.

The recruitment process is time-consuming and requires dedication – a difficult task when facing a host of other complicated issues involved in international expansion. Partner with Bradford Jacobs as your Employer of Record (EOR). We will provide all the answers. We will convert your expansion blueprint for the US into an action plan, with additional support including:

  1. Advising on payroll method - This involves paying employees and payroll tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state’s tax agency, if applicable, and filing tax returns.
  2. Bradford Jacobs locates the ideal employees for your company, then steps in as EOR to ensure they comply with US employment contracts law, payroll, HR, visa requirements and permits (if required).
  3. We manage all work-related registration formalities and on-going employment issues while you have daily control of your employees.
  4. The employees complete their time sheets, and any expenses claims – and we invoice you, the client. Once paid, we deduct all contributions to the relevant US authorities and transfer the balance into the employees’ accounts.

Within a few days your company has an international presence in the United States of America, in prime position to explore expansion throughout the US and further afield into South America and Canada without risking the initial expense, commitment or hassle of setting up your own subsidiary or branch office. Make contact today.

Legal Checks you can make on US Employees

There are no legal requirements for pre-employment checks in the US. Some regulated sectors may require fingerprinting, background checks, motor vehicle history and drug/alcohol screening, although the legalization of recreational drugs in some states makes this area problematic. A general framework for pre-hire screening is also hard to apply as regulations vary between federal, state, and local jurisdictions.

Criminal Record Checks: Generally, one can only be asked after a job offer has been made and staying within local laws.

Discrimination: Employers should beware asking questions that reflect discrimination. Civil Rights Laws protect employees against discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, nationality, pregnancy, age, and disability and are enforced at federal level.

Permitted checks:

These are all governed by the applicable federal, state, and municipal regulations but can be allowed in these categories.

  • References and educational qualifications
  • Credit checks, generally only permitted after a job offer

Basic Facts on hiring in the US

  • There are no legal requirements to carry out pre-hire screening in the US, although some regulated sectors do allow for background checks regarding drug and alcohol use and driving records.
  • Questions regarding credit or criminal history should only be raised after making a job offer. Questions should not reflect discrimination as workers’ rights are protected by Civil Rights Laws.
  • US laws set no minimum requirements for contracts and most employment relationships are ‘at will’ and can be terminated by either party. A written agreement need only outline basic terms of the relationship.
  • If the employer is not operating under the ‘employment at-will’ provisions, employees should receive a comprehensive contract detailing their role, location and any bonuses, benefits, commission, termination, and severance payments.
  • Employers must ensure correct documentation, including Form I-9, is in place confirming the employee’s legal right to work in the US.
  • Employers must complete Form W-4 relating to how much withholding tax they deduct for federal taxes.
  • Employees must be registered with the relevant state’s Labor Agency.
  • Employer must have workers’ compensation insurance; however, requirements can vary between states.
  • Employer must establish payroll system to pay employees, pay taxes to the Internal Revenue Service, the state’s tax authority if applicable and file tax returns.
  • US employers withhold tax and social insurance contributions from employees’ salaries and pay the IRS on their behalf. Payroll regulations apply at federal and state levels, though federal authorities let states decide how frequently employees are paid.
  • The federal tax year runs from January 1 and returns must be filed by April 15 of the following year. Individual states have varying deadlines. Some municipal authorities also impose taxes.
  • For federal taxes, employers file a quarterly Form 941 to reconcile all wages and taxes paid during the three-month periods of Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, and Oct-Dec. An annual Form 940 is filed to report and pay federal unemployment taxes due. Monthly, quarterly, and year-end processes for state and local jurisdictions vary by taxing authority.

Additionally, employers must comply where certain employment rules apply at federal, state, or municipal level, although the US is less regulated than many countries in areas such as sick leave, maternity leave and vacation pay. Laws apply to the following:

  • The federal minimum wage is US$7.25 per hour, but this varies across the states.

    For example, in California the minimum hourly rate is US$14 per hour for companies with more than 26 employees and US$13 per hour for employers with fewer. Georgia has a minimum rate of US$5.15 per hour, but under the Fair Labor Standards Act employers must pay the federal minimum of US$7.25.

  • Normal working hours comprise 40 a week over five days. Lunch breaks or shorter periods of rest are not mandatory.

  • Overtime is paid at one-and-a-half times the usual hourly rate when employees work more than 40 hours per week averaged over 168 hours.

Working with a Recruitment Agency in the US

The US recruiting and staffing industry is worth over US$174 billion with more than 20,000 companies operating out of twice that number of offices. The industry has developed in line with the growth of remote working against regular nine-to-five employment.

Recruitment or staffing companies serve almost every industry or sector. The American Staffing Association gave the following approximate figures on which sectors attracted the most candidates:

  • 37% - Industrial
  • 28% - Office, clerical and administrative
  • 13% - Professional and managerial
  • 13% - Engineering, information technology and scientific
  • 9% - Health care

There is also a federal employment site, USA Jobs, which is open to US citizens and nationals and some non-US nationals who can apply for ‘open to the public’ jobs.

What are the Benefits of Hiring Outsourcing for the US?

The big bonus from outsourcing recruitment for the United States of America is in streamlining your international expansion by opening potential new markets efficiently and cost-effectively. This frees your company to focus on putting this exciting new venture into action.

Advantages for the parent company include:

  • A wide-ranging talent search with reduced recruitment costs
  • Ensures compliance with all regulations, avoiding the risk of fines or sanctions
  • Control over capital expenditure, as outsourcing removes the initial need to establish premises for a subsidiary
  • Reduced risks, with an ‘easy in, easy out’ operation while exploring fresh markets
  • Quickly start new projects
  • Focus on core business
  • Improve flexibility
  • Scale the global workforce to fit the pace of expansion

Do not leap into the Unknown!

At Bradford Jacobs, our Employer of Record (EOR) services take care of employee recruitment, onboarding, payroll, compliance and providing ongoing support. We choose the best-qualified talent to fill the roles you need. Our expansion know-how guarantees you comply with all the US’s payroll regulations, including salaries, tax, and social insurance by the time your new employees are sitting at their desks.

We ensure you are ready for every eventuality. To get started on your recruitment expansion in the US, contact us today.