When you’re a developer looking for remote work, the last thing you want is to land on what seems like a dream job only to find you’re the lonely island of the company. Sure, they have some Slack channels where, ostensibly, you’re part of the team. You can hang out in them and hear about who’s going out to lunch together, when somebody brings in donuts, how great that happy hour was last night, or that hilarious thing Jim did by the watercooler this morning. The only thing you can’t do is join the conversation.
What you really want is to be an integral part of a team, an equal member with equal importance. Stack Overflow is a remote-first company; a lot of our employees work from home, from coworking spaces, or from wherever else they find themselves, and those team members who are in the office act like they’re remote. In most cases, if one person for a meeting is remote and the others are in one of our offices, we still all act as if we're remote and stay at our own desks for the Hangout. From my home office in California, I don’t always even know which of my teammates are in a Stack Overflow office (in New York, Denver, or London) or in their own homes, because we all communicate the same way. This way “working remote” is the default, and everybody’s on equal footing.
So the question is, how do you tell which kind of company you’re looking at?
How do you find remote jobs in the first place? At Stack Overflow Jobs, you can filter by lots of different options—technology, experience, salary, and perks, one such perk being “Offers Remote.”
All jobs with that marker are clearly indicated on the job board with the yellow “Remote” badge:
After you’ve found some remote roles that appeal to you, you’ll want to determine which companies have strong remote cultures. There are a few telltale signs that can help you make an informed decision—before you find yourself on the outside of your team’s best inside jokes.
If the job post you’re reading goes on for days about catered lunches, in-office massages, and other on-site perks without ever mentioning remote teammates, you may want to think twice. A company who truly prioritizes remote work culture will make that clear in a job posting by highlighting perks everybody can enjoy such as internet reimbursement, online professional development courses, and top-of-the-line equipment.
Just because a job is flagged as “offers remote” doesn’t mean you’re looking at a truly remote company. Those who consider their remote culture fundamental to their identity as a company will say so. They’ll mention what percentage of their staff are remote, or use phrases like “100% remote” and “remote-first.”
If the only time you see the word “remote” listed in a job post is in the yellow badge, you probably want to look a little closer at the company in question. Do they have a remote team, or are they just “open” to this role being remote if that’s their only option? The About Us page on the company website is a good place to start. If there are no mentions of remote culture, it’s a safe bet that they simply don’t have one.
Finally, if you choose to apply and make it to the interview stage, you should use that opportunity to evaluate the tools they use for communication and collaboration. At Stack Overflow, all of our interviews for remote candidates (or with remote interviewers) are done via Google Hangouts, and since that’s also how we work on a daily basis, it’s a smooth and seamless process. If your interview is by phone, and the hiring manager or recruiter seems unsure about the best tools to use to keep lines of communication open and make your candidate experience a positive one, this may be an indicator that they don’t work with a lot of remote employees. Communication is perhaps the single most important aspect of remote work, so you want to find a company who does it well.