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I am a scientific software developer with close to zero experience (only university projects and an internship). A company is interested in hiring me. They are in European country X, while I want to stay in European country Y.

They told me in two interviews that the position in not remote now, and cannot make promises it will be in the future. The first time was when interviewing with a possible colleague, the second with an HR intern. I will ask to speak to some HR (that has decisional power), as the first colleague hinted. For a reference, the company has remote work policies and is multinational. The general rule is that in my specific team, people are assumed on site. But the position can really be carried out remotely (I have the example from my internship), and the same team is geographically distributed.

How can I negotiate the remote work policy?

I was thinking about:

  • telling why I want to remote work: partner not able to relocate, personal work life balance preference, I work better remotely
  • telling how I am more productive when teleworking (hence, a benefit for the company)
  • highlighting my remote previous experiences (one in a very similar position), and some technical ways I can implement a remote work arrangement effectively

But then, should I make a proposal to them, and in case, what is more likely to succeed in your opinion? Possibilities are:

  • work on site for 4 months, then work remotely 4 months, then evaluate
  • work on site for 4 months, then evaluate
  • any other hybrid arrangement, then evaluate
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    "They told me in two interviews that the position in not remote now" what did you respond to that?
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 12, 2023 at 16:27
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    First time with colleague: I will think about it. The colleague also mentioned that I should talk to HR about this. Second time: I explained them my motivations, hoping for a concession from their side. But this time the interviewer was an HR intern and had no decisional power. We agreed I'd let them know by end of week. Since it is very important to me, I was thinking of asking to speak to a more senior HR. @TymoteuszPaul
    – Lilla
    Sep 12, 2023 at 16:31
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    Thanks, and in reality, are you willing to burn this opportunity over the location? As someone with no work experience or something else exceptional to offer (I assume as you dind't mention) your leverage is very limtied.
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 12, 2023 at 16:32
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    It's a risk. When you have an offer in hand asking for anything may make them rething and who knows where that leads, maybe to "the other cadidate is also as competent you know?"
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 12, 2023 at 16:37
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    It could be detrimental. If the request is not well received, an asker with 20 years of valuable experience will get a lot more leeway than someone with no experience. It's a risk vs reward analysis. Your lack of experience may increase the risk on both parts, whether or not you get it and whether or not it is held against you for asking.
    – cdkMoose
    Sep 13, 2023 at 16:28

1 Answer 1

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Remote is a significant hassle for companies, for reasons ranging from security, to finance (paying across borders is messy), to " we think people collaborate better in person than via telecon", to managers feeling they can't manage remote people as effectively, to site management feeling that if there aren't enough people working on site, the site will be closed and they'll have to find another job, to...

Basically, if the company isn't interested in remote workers, you have zero chance of changing their minds unless you are a truly exceptional candidate whom they simply can not afford to lose. And at least 99.993% of us don't qualify for that description.

You can try. You risk losing the offer, but if you were going to refuse anything but remote you have nothing to lose. On the other hand, it that's the case you probably were wasting their time and yours by applying for a position not advertised are willing to consider remote... unless, as I say, you're uniquely well qualified for this specific position.

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    Do you think it burts that much just asking? They can say no. It seems quite strong that they'll answer "no, and we move to other candidates". It's not that I am saying "either remote or no" I'm just trying to have a chance to negotiate and talk. Which I really haven't had yet, I think.
    – Lilla
    Sep 12, 2023 at 17:17
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    Not much to talk about. They aren't likely to negotiate unless you're an unusually good candidate. They have policies, they follow those polices. You can certainly ask. They can simply say no, or "try asking after you've worked for us for a few years". Unless the job was advertised as being open to remote workers, expect those answers. They can always take the next applicant in line if they decide you're high-maintenance.
    – keshlam
    Sep 12, 2023 at 17:49
  • I’ve seen jobs that are remote, but you must reside in the country. Most likely to avoid tax and legal complications.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 12, 2023 at 20:53
  • @gnasher729 Yep, As discussed in past answers.
    – keshlam
    Sep 12, 2023 at 21:05
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    And the EU is way less homogenous than the US. US cross-state employee laws are actually not that simple, so having it across different countries are even more complex.
    – Nelson
    Sep 13, 2023 at 2:31

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