Getting hired as a remote developer — my experience
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:
remoteok.io, remote.com, stackoverflow.com/jobs?r=true, jobs.github.com, angel.co/jobs
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.
- Subscribed to RemoteOK, RemoteOnly
- Completed profiles across Remote (Dock), StackOverflow, Github, Angel
- Submitted 8 separate applications (approx. 20–30 minutes spent on each) following from listings across the boards I subscribed to
- Discussed an opening at a remote-first startup with an Engineering Manager on a mutual Slack forum, referred onwards to internal recruitment
- No reply from startup’s internal recruitment after a handful of positive follow-ups, stopped pursuing
- Tumbleweed rolls across my inbox, invested time on 11 more bespoke job listing applications
- Christmas approaches, quiet time for hiring, take a break from the search
Friday, January 4th, 2019
- Recovered from Christmas mince pies and port hangover
- Still nothing exciting in my inbox, dig through archives to touch base with past clients and recruitment agents
- Added “Looking for Work!” to LinkedIn status and personal website
- Made roughly 60 impressions on LinkedIn (visiting user profiles), mostly recruiters
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)
- One lead especially engaged, quick to respond
- Interview at 8.00pm the same day
Tuesday, January 8th, 2019
- Positive feedback in the morning, offer received
- Contract signed later in the day
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 https://yannev.es/cv and find my contact details should you want to reach out with any questions.