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These days I'm looking for a remote job as a software engineer. I live in Russia and would like to work for a EU/UK/US company.

I've applied to a dozen of positions that had requirements I feel I satisfied. However, I received no answer at all from any of these companies. No company interviewed me or sent me a rejection email.

Now I think that maybe I do something wrong. But absence of any feedback from the companies makes me frustrated. I'm starting to think that it might have something to do with the current international political situation related to Russia.

If you were a hiring manager in a company seeking for a remote engineer, what concerns or stop factors would you have that could distract you from at least asking the candidate for an interview?

closed as too broad by BigMadAndy, OldPadawan, GOATNine, jimm101, Michael Grubey Sep 26 '18 at 5:12

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    Do you work independently rather than through an agency? I can't imagine hiring a lone remote worker from lots of places. – WorkerDrone Dec 12 '16 at 15:07
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    I can only give my own opinion, but I feel like except sensitive sectors (IT security for instance), there is not much change. Classical issues like time zone and cultural background might remain but shouldn't have increased. – gvo Dec 12 '16 at 15:11
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    At first I down-voted. But then I thought, "this is actually not that bad of a question". I think the question needs re-formatting, however, so that it's aimed towards remote workers in general and how to approach the job-hunting when working as one and how to overcome certain obstacles. Like @WorkerDrone suggested, finding an Agency to represent you would probably be a good start, especially while finding your first clients. Finding opportunities in your own country is also something you should check into, there might be members of social media groups or sites looking for people like you. – Jonast92 Dec 12 '16 at 15:12
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    Do you have any experiences that would support your suspicion? Where you hired by US/EU companies for remote work earlier? – nvoigt Dec 12 '16 at 15:21
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    @nvoigt Yes, I was. It worked remotely for a startup. Unfortunately it started experiencing financial difficulties, so I decided to quit after working for less than a year. It was my second full time job. I think that maybe I have problems because I haven't worked for more than a year at one place. But nobody even asked me why I haven't worked for a long time at the latest place. – nvvm Dec 12 '16 at 15:36
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I would say the biggest distraction for me would be security. At the moment the political climate between Russia and the US in particular is not the greatest. As part of your application, I would try to address this concern in someway as part of the application process ( cover letter ).

Also, how are your salary expectations? Are you expecting to be compensated as someone in the states, or more in line with a SR engineer in Russia. The main attraction for me to engage in this was cost savings. ( Hiring remote workers in Russia ) Offering your services at a discount to prove yourself might help you get your foot in the door.

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    That might be true in US, but I don't think it applies in Europe, except perhaps to companies working in particularly sensitive areas. I would guess most medium-large tech companies in Europe already have Russian programmers working for them. I haven't seen any evidence in companies I've worked in that Russian job applicants are considered potential enemy operatives rather just ordinary people. – Jonathan Dec 12 '16 at 18:36
  • @Jonathan I cannot speak to that as I have only worked and managed folks in US based companies. – Mister Positive Dec 12 '16 at 18:37
  • Offering services at a discount might also help to look even more suspicious, if the company is worried about security. – skymningen Dec 13 '16 at 12:22
  • @skymningen good point. Sometimes you have to take risks and think outside the box to get your foot in the door. Typically if someone said "Give me a chance, I will work for you for 2 months at a 20% discount" that would not scream security to me. – Mister Positive Dec 13 '16 at 12:23
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Have the companies you've applied to indicated that they're willing to either hire a remote worker from outside the country?

If not, a lot of them are probably tossing your application because they don't want to deal with the additional burdens from employing someone from outside the country.

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There might be something wrong with your cover letter. Your writing unique cover letter for each position, isn't it?

There might be something wrong with your CV. Lack of experience. Missing keywords (you use the same keywords in your CV as in the job post, isn't it?)

And maybe the jobs are not 100% remote. Sometimes they write things like "telecommute or work from our office" or "may consider remote for a highly qualified candidate". Make no sense to apply for such jobs if you are not in the same country.

"I've applied to a dozen of positions..." - and sometimes a dozen is not enough. If you want to find a lot of positions for software engineers you can try https://remote4me.com/ It contains 100% remote jobs for each role and technology stack. (I'm the author)

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Direct cross-border employment is a rather specialized business, because of the different labor, accounting, and tax rules.

One traditional solution is to use a local subsidiary. For example, my first job was working in London, for National Cash Register, later NCR, a US company that, at the time, was manufacturing computers. The programs I was working on could be used world-wide.

My official employer was NCR Ltd, a UK company that was a wholly owned subsidiary of the US company. NCR Ltd, of course, complied with UK labor and tax rules.

I suggest looking for employers that have subsidiaries in Russia that could employ you, even if your work is primarily remote work for the main UK/US/EU company.

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Another experienced dev from Russia here.

I have the same situation. I tried to apply for a remote job at approximately 120 companies in different countries, including the US, UK and the EU. I keep track of them and the number is accurate. I have not had a single interview so far.

In average only one out of ten companies dignifies you with some kind of response, the rest just ignore. Out of those that respond only a handful say they do not hire remotely, in most cases you just see a meaningless reply template. If you are very lucky they may offer to interview you for an on-site position.

It is definitely not the lack of skills, motivation, discounts, etc. I composed different cover letters, I stated claerly that I was open to contract positions, I have tried everything. None of it works.

I tried recruitment agencies as well. They just ignore you even when you try to apply for positions that are explicitely remote.

I can get an interview at a Russian company easily and the difference is overwhelming.

It seems to me that there might be something fundamentally wrong with my applications and the thought about the political situation has crossed my mind as well.

But I believe it is most likely related to accounting and/or operational issues. The timezone issue makes it even worse. Looks like very few companies know how to deal with that type of employment and those are usually "consultants" working in your own country. The rest just redflag you immediately.

I guess they will only be willing to talk to you if you are a perfect 10/10 match for this position.

I am posting this for those who want to try the same thing. You may easily waste your time and end up with nothing. The naive and straightforward way does not work. At least for me.

  • I've found that just having a remote position in Europe is very rare. Almost all want employees that will work onsite. At best, their policy allows frequent remote work but not for full weeks. I think you will have the best success with startups. – Juha Untinen Oct 20 '17 at 7:13
  • I tried. They just ignore you and never respond. – guest Oct 20 '17 at 8:59
  • Doesn't make much sense to apply unless you want to move to Europe. – Wilbert Oct 20 '17 at 11:42
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Try to apply with consultancy companies. If there is some issues (diplomatic, security related, etc.) you should be able to get an answer from them.

If there is a possibility for you to work in Europe, they will gladly obliged.

Now, if you can never get far in the interview process with those companies, it's unlikely you will manage with sending CVs around.

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Been in your exact same situation a couple of times, and it was hard. I even had some help:

  • I was based in Romania, which is part of the EU (though many people hiring from the US/Canada etc. might not be aware of this. Not faulting folks - it's a big world and one can't know about everything).
  • I was already working remotely.

Even though I thought my CV was good, it was hard going. About 200 applications, 20ish replies, 10ish starts for the interview, and zero success in the end. But mostly because of different expectations about travel, compensation etc. Once you get a response, it's usually OK.

My best advice is to try for companies which are remote first or have a strong remote culture. Here's a bunch of them. Some well known ones are: StackOverflow, Auth0, Basecamp, GitHub, GitLab, DigitalOcean, Heap, Wikimedia etc.

Some other things to bear in mind: * These companies can hire globally, so they can be really specific about what they want in a candidate. * They're mostly looking for senior & up. Folks who can manage themselves, can deliver without supervision etc. * Internet focused companies usually dominate. If you wanna do Linux driver development or hedge funds you're out of luck.

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