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What's the most effective way to negotiate contract/telecommute work in a full-time job interview?

  • Location is 3000+ miles too far from where I love living now (0% chance of me moving)
  • The job is an awesome software designer position
  • There are no obvious constraints requiring on-site work presence
  • I didn't apply for the job, I was referred
  • Hiring manager is old fashioned (telecommuting not familiar to his team)
  • I want to be honest, but not sound disinterested or ungrateful for the amazing opportunity

Should I angle my relocation argument a certain way?

Should I make no mention of my location preference and then bring it up if I get the offer?

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    Will you be interviewing remotely? Would you be open to work on-location a few times a year? By the way, I also don't like telecommuting (except in limited ways), but I also don't consider myself old-fashioned. I have actually tried telecommuting and I find it very hard. I've also read books like "The Social Life of Information" that point out many of the difficulties with telecommuting. Although, I admit that this book, and the research it is based on, is a bit dated, so that might make me a bit old-fashioned after all. amazon.com/Social-Life-Information-Seely-Brown/dp/1578517087 – Stephan Branczyk May 1 '15 at 1:10
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The ability to perform the job at a high level and knowing the industry is paramount to this working out. Since you are so far away you can't count on team members holding your hand and constantly getting you up to date. It just isn't good dynamics. The remote worker needs to be better than the rest of the team.

Second you have to be willing to spend some time with the team initially on location and possibly a few times a year. You can't just be some guy on the phone.

If you feel you are good on these things then go for it. If not don't put yourself in a bad situation.

To proceed in the interview it is easy. Just lay out everything on the table. I am a great software designer and I can bring a lot to your team. I am not moving but would be willing to come out to site a few times a year and work the hours you need me to work. I really want this position and love your company. I understand that you might want someone in the office and I am hoping it isn't a deal breaker for you.

The fact is you aren't a telecommuter, you are on a different planet. 3000 miles is not a 45 min flight you can hop on a couple times a month. Be honest and show appreciation for the opportunity and their company and let them make the decision without you "selling" why it will work. Focus on you and what you can bring. Bringing up location a lot is making it seem like a big deal.

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Should I make no mention of my location preference and then bring it up if I get the offer?

No, that would be a terrible idea!

Since remote work is a make-or-break factor for you, and doesn't appear to be an advertised factor for the position, it should be one of the initial topics of discussion.

It might not be a problem for the hiring manager, or it might be totally out of the question. Either way, it's clearly most important to you.

Make sure you bring up your need to continue to work from your current location in your first interview, so that you are not wasting their time and yours.

Once you have established that remote work is viable for the hiring manager, then you can wow them with your skills, and convince them how you can be both trusted and effective working remotely. For "old fashioned" managers, you might have to sell the idea hard - perhaps even consider doing it on a trial basis.

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Your biggest issue is that you are going to have to be perceived as the best candidate even with the negative of working 100% remote. Why is remote considered a negative? If it wasn't viewed by them as a negative, they would have allowed for that possibility when creating the job posting.

If you also want to be considered a contractor and not as an employee, that also may be considered a a negative. In some organizations getting a non-employee access to certain systems is almost impossible.

Even your referral may not mean much, because multiple people may also have referrals.

While you could wait to get the offer, they could then pull it back when you tell them, "by the way, the core hours to be in the office as 09:00 to 15:00, will not work for me because I will be living 3,000 miles away."

You may have to pre-interview where you discuss the situation, especially if they are requiring an in-person interview and have no idea you are that far away.

Unless you have sold them on your awesomeness before bring up the topic the risk is that they will terminate your application immediately. But even if they think your are the best they may still reject you if they think you hid this fact from them.

I would be honest with them, and if they say it won't work, then nothing has been lost. You may be better off focusing on either jobs nearby or ones where remote work is encouraged.

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