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How hard is that to find a fully remote job?
24 points by alex-yo on Aug 28, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments
I'm really disappointed by searching for a job. I want to change my current, which is a fully remote one. Due to some family issues I need only, and ONLY a fully remote job without any trips. This one fact makes me a bad fit for about 99.999% of all job offers. The rest is more depressing, as I seek for some more interesting job, not a junior one.

I have over 15 years of commercial experience in different areas, I have been payed to program in: SQL, C, C++, Python, Java, SQL, Javascript, Ruby (plus some more).

And this is the problem. For the more advanced positions the companies/recruiters seek mainly for a programmer who has 10 years of experience using only one stack of things. What's worse it is expected that the candidate remembers the whole language/libraries specification, and documentation. I always worked with different versions of everything. When I had to fix a product used in different versions on different platforms, I had to use the exact version that the client was using. So I did.

I'm writing this because I got too many answers like "thank you, your experience is really great, but we got a candidate who is a much better fit for this position". I'm not sure that the whole world looks like this. I'm wondering if I'm looking for the job in wrong places. Or maybe the truth is that for the remote work, with so few positions opened, I will always be a bad fit, because there will always be someone who has been doing the one thing for the last 10 years, and who remembers all the APIs. The sad fact is that I haven't even got to the moment when they ask me "how much do you want to earn?".

So my main questions are: Should I give up my dreams about a remote work with flexible hours? Is there any better way to find an offer than using the mostly known sites like weworkremotely (with no more than 2 new positions per day) etc.? How hard is that to find a remote job company, which not interested in a 10-year-one-job-one-language programmers only?

US small business owner here, 100% remote telecommuting staff. (No, we're not hiring, heh.)

The first problem is your competition: the instant that a job doesn't require a physical presence, then you're going up against every possible candidate, in every possible location. It's easy to be in the top 1% of candidates in your city, but it's really, really hard to be in the top 1% of candidates in the entire world. Plus, keep in mind that your competition may live in a way cheaper location, and be willing to work for way less money. (Or, they're willing to take a pay cut in order to stay near their family or favorite location or restaurant or whatever.)

Whenever we post a consultant position on our site, we get 200-400 applications in a few days, and they're from a stunning number of qualified people. There have been hiring rounds where I wished we could hire a dozen people because they were all such good fits. Getting to the top of that pile is really, really hard.

The second problem is accounting and taxes. Every time we hire someone in a different US state, we have to deal with different tax laws, business licenses, and health plans. If I had to guess, it costs us 20-40 hours of admin work whenever we add someone in a new state (or when an existing employee moves to a new state.) Adding another country makes it even worse.

Another problem in your case: when you say "without any trips," that makes it sound like you don't even want to come into the office for orientation, or to do planning sessions with the team, or team-building, or even conferences for learning or growth. I'm pretty suspicious when I hear that someone doesn't even want to learn at conferences - that's one of the ways we get the team together each year. I'm not saying you can't learn unless you're at a conference, obviously, but saying no trips at all - that's a tough sell.

Hi, thanks for the reply.

I'm outside USA, and the tax thing is simple: I send you an invoice, you send me money. Nothing more, nothing less. No insurance problems, or different law issues.

As for the conferences, I attended some, I was even presenting on some. I learned nothing, as most of the stuff I had already known. Currently I learn from books. Usually from algorithms, and math ones. This is the kind of stuff you won't find on conferences. Btw, many conference videos are available on youtube, so going there to learn is IMHO not the main reason for a conference.

In my experience, most companies hire from their own time zone.

Some prefer that the people speak the companies native language or are good in English.

Then, many people don't want to work remote, which cuts the ratio between "top 1% of candidates in your city" and "every possible candidate" much more.

Also, smaller companies aren't well known and don't get as much applications as big ones, so if they're simply bad at hiring (which almost every company is, especially the small ones) the competition doesn't even know that there is an opportunity to compete.

Where are you based?

I have made a list that could help you https://github.com/lukasz-madon/awesome-remote-job

Thanks, that's quite a nice list.

@alex-yo Your post is almost a mirror of my situation - senior generalist dev with 15 years experience Ruby/Java/SQL and numerous other languages and frameworks too many to list, looking for something more challenging and unable to relocate due to family situation.

I've tried unsuccessfully to apply via the main remote work channels and rarely get a response back. The one time I did, the position was cancelled by the company after I made it to the 2nd round.

Hope you have better luck than me and a commenter can unlock the secret. There are lots of great people like us not able to work in the office.

There are a few all-remote contracting companies out there. I worked for Art & Logic [www.artandlogic.com] for a few years and they sound like they might be a good fir for you. They especially appreciate generalists. I'd give them a look. Otherwise I'd recommend checking out FlexJobs as another aggregator of remote postings. Finally, the monthly "Who's Hiring" posts often contain quite a few remote positions.

Honestly, I was expecting post like this.

+1, I've received this '"thank you, your experience is really great, but we got a candidate who is a much better fit for this position". ' from so many companies in last 5 years! Yes,its 5 long years. Strangely some companies tell me contribute to OSS to get better attention. (I'm OSS dev since 2005) I really really suspect they even care about Github profiles/links we share.

As some one from non-US, I face 'time-zone' issue too. To be honest, In last 5 years of searching, I got interview scheduled from Ceph(2011),Google(2012 & 2015) and Platform.sh(2016). Those are the only 3 companies,went beyond the initial thank you email. In recent months, I stopped monitoring/applying to HN whoishiring posts or Stackoverflow remote positions or remoteok, weworkremotely just anything else. There is no point in applying ,if they didn't even care to schedule first round of interview.

Its really hard to me, I hope it will be less harder for you. Good luck with your search!

Is there a reason you are willing to share for the "without any trips" criterion?

I have been working remotely for some six years. My current employer hires mostly remote engineers, and we're always looking out for good people.

We try to get developers together a couple of times a year, which it appears your circumstances would rule out; correct?

My kid is terribly sick, I had to cancel all trips this year, and maybe the next one too.

I am very sorry to hear that. I hope you have some positive developments on that front.

For what it is worth, here is the Stack Overflow page with two open positions. They say London (where there is a new permanent office) but remote would be available to the right person.


Send your resume to the email address in my profile. My company may be hiring someone like you. 100% remote is fine with us.

Related question about remote jobs. Do / can US based companies hire non-US based remote developers?

What I read (I have no proof this is true):

They can only do this if they have a branch in your country OR you have a working visa for the US.

But they can contract you, so you'd have to "export" your services.

Send me your resume, we are looking for C++ devs.

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