Tips & Suggestions (Hiring & Working with People Online)

Hey folks!

More and more people are taking a different approach to development and creative work, especially when considering the pandemic’s impact on the industry.
There was a forum thread relating to tips to keeping safe when working with/hiring people online, but there was too much posting of personal information. We want this thread to be a source of best practices, tips and tricks, and other suggestions relating to working online with other people, whether you’re hiring or looking for work.

If you’ve been a scam artist victim, please do not post any personal information as this goes against the Code of Conduct. Instead, we encourage you to share information on how people can avoid this. Please get in touch with a staff member privately to report anything that contains personal data.

The tips present in this thread are just some possible guidelines. In some instances, they may not always apply or could be outdated. Please take care and use your best judgment in all cases.

Please feel free to add your tips and suggestions! :slight_smile:

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The following tips come from @anonymous_user_3e6c6fd9 from the previous thread. As they are currently not active, but the information shared could prove valuable to many, here they are:

  • PayPal has a dispute policy! Do not let that date miss your calendar. Be flexible with your deadlines, but if the task should not take longer than 45 days, create a deadline within that 45-day frame. Scam artists are aware that many project leaders are unaware of this and will undoubtedly take advantage of this policy.

  • If possible, then DO NOT hire somebody outside of your home country! Speaking from experience, attorneys will rarely ever take a case that involves justice outside of your home country. The international relations in the scam artist’s country may vary with your country and make it extremely difficult to resolve your dispute. Just remember that when you are transferring money, use a secure service! PayPal can resolve your situation if your frame of time is in the correct place.

  • Check the individual for credibility! This community serves as an excellent place to detect an individual’s credibility! If the individual has no reputation in the community, then be sure to use other methods to confirm the individual’s credibility.

  • Be aware of giving down payments! This is only conditional. There are some very credible artists on this forum. Ironbelly is an example of a trustworthy team of artists. If you can verify that they are trustworthy, then give the entity the down payment. Otherwise, if you do not have any proof that the entity can provide you with quality service, then refrain from giving a down payment. Remember, this forum is a great place to check the credibility of an individual!

  • Do Attendance! If you are the leader of a group, then you will realize that several individuals are not going to be dedicated members of the team. If there is an individual no longer interested in your project, then remove this individual. It is apparent that if the individual has not even given you a notice of departure, then it is apparent that this individual is no longer interested in your project. This person has no reason to continue being a member of your development team.

  • Communication is a great virtue, but NOT a quality of guarantee that protects you from a scam! In this situation, “Person” had great skills in terms of communicating with the group’s leader. We would have voice calls, and even sessions that involved sharing screens. I did notice, however, that they rarely ever displayed a shred of progress. For the majority of these calls, it would be discussing plans. Scam artists will use this tactic in order to sway your direction of thinking in regard to progress. Do NOT let this happen to you! If you just continue hearing about “plans” in regards to an assigned task, then this individual is not qualified to complete the given task.

  • Communicate with other development teams that are in the same community! Scam artists typically tend to stay within the boundaries of the same community, and you are almost never the first time. I cannot begin to tell you how many scams I have avoided by just simply communicating with other development teams, and team leaders. They will gladly tell you what they know in regards to a particular individual.

  • Avoid the “unlucky” man! Everybody can understand that there are a number of tragedies that can occur throughout one’s lifetime. If, however, there are weekly tragedies, it is likely, not true. Even if it were true, then why is the individual interested in game development? How can you adequately participate in a project with all of these “tragedies” occurring at the same time? This tactic is generally utilized in order to gather your game’s resources for future “business-related” ventures, or this is just an unfortunate case, in which an individual joins a team for attention.

  • Be honest in regards to a difficult situation! If you would like to believe that these situations are actually valid, and the individual has not been completing any progress, then be honest about the situation.

  • Always have two programmers! At the very least, have a programmer that can verify your programmer. Scam artists posing as programmers typically learn programming terminology in order to sound similar to an extremely intelligent programmer. A second programmer can verify the legitimacy of your primary programmer. If the primary programmer does not sound legitimate, then you will be notified.

  • Always be cautious of the “life-saving” programmer! Legitimate programmers never just accept a task, and go silent for weeks. True programmers will discuss the possibility of the task, the resources required, the time required, a starting quote, and will constantly be in contact with the rest of the team. The life-saving programmer will give you a difficult-to-believe background, accept the task, free resources, and then you are not likely see them again.

  • As mentioned in several other scams, always keep track of activity! If your programmer is offline, then how are you supposed to track the progress of your game’s programming department? If the programmer is inactive, and you have to constantly to contact them for progress, then it is time to “cut the connection.” It is obvious that he is no longer interested, and no longer has an honest reason to be a part of the development team.

  • Verify the legitimacy of the individual’s work! I can go online, rip a collection of assets from the internet, and copy my signature at the bottom-right corner of each image. You need to verify the individual’s legitimacy, and you can do that with some very clever tools that are readily available. Use TinEye! TinEye is a free reverse image search engine. Upload the image to the service, and you can very easily tell if the image had been ripped from another online source. If this is the case, then it is likely that you are going to be scammed. Using this service will verify the legitimacy of the individual’s work, and minimize your chances of being scammed.

  • Be cautious of the overqualified, or overconfident individual! Many of our best team members are never overconfident about their tasks. Many of them want the difficult task to be described several times, and will only claim that it is a possibility. Although it might potentially make you nervous to see that you have a team member saying that, do not let that make you lose confidence in the member. They are likely only underestimating themselves, and you are even more likely to see a really great outcome within a considerable frame of time. Similar to the other situation, the overconfident individual is fairly likely to accept a challenge that they cannot handle, or cannot do the task in general. The overqualified individual is fairly likely to not have enough time to dedicate to the project, or does not actually have the mentioned skills. Always be cautious of these individuals, but as they begin showing progress, increase your level of trust.

  • Watermark your assets! If you cannot trust a stranger to take your assets in day-to-day life, then how can you trust somebody to “play fair” with your online assets? The answer is simple. You simply cannot trust somebody you just met on the internet. If the individual is asking to view the work of the former individual assigned to a particular task, then watermark the image. Watermarking an image simply means to take the image you are going to show them, and draw something over it. This will allow them to not have the potential to use your assets in future “ventures.” If you are assigning only a specific task that would only require the use of one asset, then do not give the individual the entire folder of assets. Only give them what they need. After that, if your trust in the individual would be increasing, then you can begin distributing additional UI-based assets.

  • Do NOT keep giving an “MIA” member second chances! When you implement another team member, be absolutely sure to mention that you do NOT condone inactivity. For the first offense, it is alright to pass a warning over to the member. After this, especially if the individual has not been showing you any work at all, then it is time to remove them from the development team. These individuals are likely to waste time, and have no reason to be on your development team.

  • Never just give your work to a client! When another individual with negative intentions has possession of your work, you are not likely to see compensation for the work. If this individual would like to see proof of your work, use alternative methods. One appropriate method would be to record the work in order to show the client that you have completed your assignment. Remember, build legitimacy with your partner!

  • Investigate your client prior to doing any work for the individual! It is relatively difficult to detect a scam artist, however, there are many ways to reduce your chances of being scammed. In order to reduce your risk in terms of being scammed, you need to perform a background check. A free way of approaching this situation would be to perform a search regarding the individual’s username. This might potentially show any records of the individual’s online activity. You can also perform a real background check by using “Intelius.” This service will allow you to do a very detailed check with your potential work-oriented partner. This does come with a small fee, however, I have found it to be an extremely useful tool.

  • Build a relationship with your client! Scam artists generally do not wish to build a relationship with their partner. Building a stable relationship with your client will assist in terms of validity by learning additional details about the client, and being able to establish the legitimacy that is virtually required to feel confident in regards to distributing larger tasks.

  • Do NOT begin completing large tasks for clients! If you are binding your first contract with a new client, then it is very likely that you do not know that individual very well. A form of mutual trust needs to be established prior to large tasks being completed for the client. Never just complete a number of tasks prior to “testing” your new partner because you might have just wasted your time, which indirectly means that you are losing money. This will certainly reduce your risk of being scammed in either spectrum.

  • Have no tolerance for excuses! Great project directors are required to know that their workers also have obligations that are in need of being fulfilled. Never allow the director to make multiple excuses in regards to why you cannot receive compensation for your work. If they cannot fulfill the duty of a director, then they should not be running a project that requires quite a bit of time in order to observe success in the future. It would be the director’s responsibility to delay or discontinue the project due to time constraints. In this situation, it is clear that the director likely capitalized on life-based situations in order to avoid sending a payment, however, issues regarding running a project due to time constraints do occur.

  • If you are in the same country as your partner, notarize your contracts! Contracts without notarization are fine, however, to ensure the security of your compensation, have a lawyer notarize your contract for legitimacy. Do not let anybody tell you that a lawyer is not worth the money, and is insanely expensive. Common lawyers have never been extremely expensive, and if they were, then there would not be many lawyers in business right now. In the United States, a notary public will notarize a contract for about $3. A lawyer would charge about $40, and it would be a flat fee. It depends on how your country operates.

  • Go with your first instinct! If you feel uncomfortable with your partner, then you should not continue any future ventures with the individual. For example, if you felt uncomfortable with the payment process that this individual uses, avoid future ventures with your partner. If you felt uncomfortable with your partner’s intentions throughout the process of the task, then do NOT continue seeking future ventures with your partner. Remember, do not stay in a situation that does not make you feel comfortable.


There is more to look out for than just scams. I did music for a very long time and the reason it failed was how I conducted it. The same will apply for any other career in life. This is what I have learned as well as observed in successful people in many ordinary careers:

  1. NEVER, work with people who’s ambitions or priorities within your field of interest, are below your own. It gets incredibly tiring, time consuming and destructive to always be the one doing 80% of the work, only to get to 5% of what you could have achieved. If that is your case, it’s both your fault and your responsibility to change it. Being nice is the way to mess this up. Be fair and good, but not nice and endlessly understanding. It is way better to be honest than to be liked. It is way better to have time wasters abandon you and even attack your reputation online, than to carry them nowhere with you.

  2. NEVER, work for people who aren’t long-term focused and predictable with one final outcome in mind, plus the resilience to see it through. I kept changing music styles before anything had become successful, had the loser’s / victim mindset and even though my ambitions, will power and ability to suffer are way beyond most people, my business and project management skills were horrible. Everyone I worked with who became successful, realised I wasn’t going to make it because of inconsistency, left early and are now doing very well.

  3. One of the main reasons why so many creatives, and probably coders as well, fail so badly at just paying the rent, is this:
    Being brutally honest about your short comings is extremely embarrassing, even just to yourself. Doing something about it is incredibly difficult and takes months or even years until one can be counted on in demanding & long-terms work relations. Another aspect is a historically & a global low level of real confidence, that trait required to look in the mirror and admit your failures. We live in a world where accountability has been replaced with victim rewards as something to strive for.

  4. As to point 3: We cannot work on others, neither workers, nor clients, we can only work on ourselves. This also goes for family and friends.

  5. Talent, expertise, skills and experience are important, but the most important thing is this: How do you and the people you meet (online) deal with pressure? Will you hide it and cave in, or tell your team that you can’t handle it? Pride vs. humility.
    Is the individual (you and others) actually doing something about it, or is it all talk? If the answer is honesty and action, then consider this: Are they, and you, realistic and optimistic?

  6. It is ok to be brutally honest and tell people your relations are coming to an end, or at least going to be zero to none. If it’s toxic people, ie. complainers, liars, abusive, aimless and hopeless romantics, unfulfilled, etc. types: Cut the ties and do it fast. If it’s friends, don’t worry about it, you are both better off without each other. If it’s family, well, sometimes you have to, sometimes you can’t. Do it respectfully and without being personal about it.

  7. You, the people you associate yourself with, work with and work for, better be optimistic, winning types, strong, resilient, accountable and honest. Emotionally, mentally and physically healthy, or at least doing something about it. The type that wakes up on a horrible day and starts by thinking: “Wow, I’m alive, one more day. That’s awesome. Let’s get up and apply some powerful and strong energy to this problem at hand.”

  8. Science has tried to measure brain activity and the answers are many. Here is one to consider:
    The conscious mind can process 40 bits of data per second. The subconscious mind can process 40 million bits of data per second. 95% of our decisions are routines we are barely aware of. The remaining 5% are our own conscious decisions, presented as choices, AFTER the subconscious mind has parsed various possible outcomes, some seconds before we know we have to make that choice. We are simply too slow to think for ourselves. The only way to change this, is to reprogram your subconscious mind, your believe systems, your attitude.

  9. Changing the way we think, act and respond:
    Very few people actually know this is very possible. Very few people really work on this with patience for long enough time. Very few people make the sacrifices necessary to get this done, aka. cutting ties with toxic people, hold ourselves accountable, change our environment and get back up fast when we fall back into old habits.

What this all means, is that chances for your success are extremely limited.

In the distant future, there is another you, a very old you, awaiting death and thinking back on life. That very old you is either going to die in regret, or happy and accomplished. How that very old person feels on their deathbed is up to you. Are you going to disappoint them?
That very old you will not care that you offended those who could have ensured their regret. That person will be grateful you did your part to create an interesting life story.

Unless you die young, in which case; what difference will it really make if you just get after your dreams and stop caring about how others may deal with you moving forward in life?

I won’t wish you a happy New Year.
Instead, I wish you a focused New Year.
Make it your best so far.


When hiring remotely, you can try these tips:

  • Prepare a detailed job description
  • Define your ideal candidate
  • Clarify the caliber of talent required
  • Communicate regularly with your hiring partners
  • Establish a flawless interview process
  • Be intentional when outlining the qualifications and expectations required of potential candidates
  • Don’t repurpose the same general ads for every role
  • Make sure that you are only including the skills necessary to be successful in the job