Getting hired as a remote developer — my experience

Working from BioLAB in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Just back on home turf from four months of travel with no intention of stopping — next stop, France — my wife and I have embraced the digital nomad lifestyle after piloting the idea on our honeymoon. And reassuringly my appetite for doing some team-based work has come back strong, which for me means searching for a freelance contract.

This usually means scouring job boards and company websites, contacting former colleagues, clients, agents — networking. But I had been watching plenty of startups that promised to alleviate that effort of matchmaking remote developer with futuristic companies hiring from a global pool of talent:,,,,

There’s of course Hacker News Who’s Hiring. And even an Awesome list with a megaton of resources.

So, here’s my experience step-by-step all the way through to landing a contract. The result of what worked surprised me, and I’m disappointed that it wasn’t an ultra modern solution.

October, 2018:

  • Subscribed to RemoteOK, RemoteOnly

November, 2018:

  • Submitted 8 separate applications (approx. 20–30 minutes spent on each) following from listings across the boards I subscribed to

December, 2018:

  • No reply from startup’s internal recruitment after a handful of positive follow-ups, stopped pursuing

Friday, January 4th, 2019

  • Recovered from Christmas mince pies and port hangover

Sunday, January 6th, 2019

  • Spent about 90 minutes updating profile on this archaic website, JobServe

Monday, January 7th, 2019

  • Result! a couple excellent leads from JobServe subscriptions, straight on the phone from 9.00am — 10.00am (as an aside, don’t bother with applications through JobServe, past experience tells me they get lost in piles, just hunt down recruiters’ details)

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

  • Positive feedback in the morning, offer received

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

  • Project briefing (30 mins) ahead of Monday start

Monday, January 14th, 2019

  • Officially hired

Ultimately this is one data point among tens of thousands fluttering through this experience over the same time period. But bearing that in mind, in closing, I learned old channels still work best for me. Besides a lot of innovation in the realm of recruitment, I earned a new respect for recruitment agents — frankly, companies appear terrible at hiring for themselves.

Making phone calls and interacting with people directly trumped online applications and emails. Sadly, that tendency may also be counter-productive to equal opportunity hiring. I’m inclined to say modern solutions are too radical and ineffective, or maybe it’s just me. Feel free to criticise my profile at and find my contact details should you want to reach out with any questions.

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