Remote work is becoming more popular around the globe, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. At Microverse, we believe that where you are born shouldn't determine your opportunities in life, and we work hard with our students so that they can get the best jobs out there. However, from our experience, there are some factors that you need to consider before setting high expectations about working remotely:
Tax and labor laws
The company you want to apply for is remote but not global, so they focus on labor laws that are limited to their state or their country. This also applies to taxes, such as in the US, where employers withhold applicable state and local income taxes based primarily on where an employee performs services. In many cases, you will be paid more to be a contractor and not a country employee, meaning you will pay for your taxes in your country. This is also something you should consider if it's right for you.
Depending on your location, a company might not be able to make money transfers to pay your salary, and therefore they do not accept candidates from those areas of the world. Each company is incredibly different in handling international payroll, so unless they made it explicit that they aren’t hiring in your location, apply anyway!
Visa and relocation opportunities
Just because you work for a company does not mean they will provide you with a visa so you can travel there temporarily (or permanently). There are cases of in-person training, but it's not always the case. Of course, having a legal contract with them might result in easier access for you to get a visitor's visa, but not much beyond that. Please note that the company might hire remotely to cut costs, and financing a trip might not be in their plans. There are opportunities for work visas, but they are rare and usually occur after months or years of working for the same company.
Timezone differences and team collaboration
A company might hire remote employees but limit who can apply based on where applicants are from. Usually, the reason for that is they want people that are online simultaneously so that they can collaborate and learn from each other. This also applies to meetings or urgent requests, etc. For example, if you live in India (UTC+5:30) and you want to apply for a job in an Australian (UTC+11) company, this means that you only have 4 hours of overlapping work time at best. Some companies can work with that flexibility, but it's not a given. Most companies also do not want you to get a night shift because they care about your health and personal time, so even if you apply and say you are a night owl, they will still reject you.
This is a hard one to define, but interviewers might reject you based on something you do or say during the job interview that you might not notice or that you can't even change. Hiring managers are often instructed to treat candidates equally and never make hiring decisions based on subjective opinion - however, that does not always happen. When people see or hear something they disapprove of culturally because of their values, beliefs, or where they come from, they make an (often subconscious) decision about whether you would be a “good fit,” which will influence the outcome of your interview. Regrettably, this happens more often than you'd think, and it is a form of prejudice that’s incredibly difficult to overcome.
Although there's nothing you should change, there are interviewing tricks that you’ll learn at Microverse (such as “mirroring”) that will help you connect positively with hiring managers. We also recommend researching the company (and the country the company is in) to see if there are particular things or conversations you should avoid during the interview. It is also recommended to research the company for cases of racism, homophobia, etc. Companies that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging will be welcoming of anyone and also make a note of that in their hiring process.
A discussion that is still ongoing is if it's fair to pay people differently depending on where they live. That's something to look out for when applying to jobs or when considering quitting to get a better opportunity: will my salary be low because of my location?
It is known that many companies might hire talented people from anywhere, but it is also true that it is in their interest to choose someone that will be paid less if it's between two people who can do the same thing. Because of this, Microverse tries to give the best instruction possible to our students so they can negotiate their salaries better. While it’s true that the more you earn, the faster you pay off the ISA, we do this because we genuinely want to see you thrive professionally. That's why you will get a career coach to assist you in any job decision.
This article is meant to help you navigate the many challenges you'll face when searching for a remote job. The more information you have on these topics and with the right approach, we believe that you will get the best opportunity out there!