Getting hired as telecommuter software engineer?
September 5, 2006 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I am an experienced software engineer and was laid off recently. I'm currently applying for positions. My ideal would be a telecommuting gig, which is the type of position I had most recently. A certain job mailing list I subscribe to has a lot of promising positions, but many of them are marked "onsite". Here's my question: shall I apply for some of these "onsite" positions in the hope that my qualifications will impress the hiring person enough to consider hiring me as a telecommuter? Or would this just be a waste of time for everyone concerned?

Obviously, I would carefully consider whether the job as described actually seemed to require someone's physical presence, and not apply if that were the case.

But my impression is that a lot of people/companies have perhaps not really considered the option of hiring someone who would work offsite, and might be open to it if there were a well-qualified candidate with a proven track record as a telecommuter (e.g. me).
posted by SomePerlGeek to Work & Money (7 answers total)
for full-time positions, I'd like to get to know an employee first before I allow them to work on their own time and at a location of their wishing. people are different, some can handle just a deadline and make it work in time, others need more direct supervision. thus when I seek to add someone to a team, I generally recommend that full-time employment to be offered on a local basis. this is different for freelance positions, which are being filled on a project by project basis. I don't really care whether the person is in india or indiana then. I want to see the product, on time and on budget.

(I work in a different field. the people I work with are art directors, copywriters, producers, illustrators, photographers and directors)
posted by krautland at 11:09 AM on September 5, 2006

I've found that unless they specifically mention telecommuting or offsite work ok in the ad, companies generally want people inside their walls in some semblance of normal company hours. There's sometimes a confidentially issue, so they don't want files travelling outside their firewall.

Also, telecommuting requires more trust from a company that the work will be done, that the hours billed are legit, etc, so you should plan to build up some trust with a company before pushing to telecommute.

I dream of someday telecommuting from a cottage up north somewhere...
posted by Artful Codger at 11:14 AM on September 5, 2006

Surprisingly, some companies may not be set up to support telecommuters. VPNs, access to build systems or source control, etc. We do part-time telecommuting where I work and it has taken a while to get everthing working 100% for those at home. So, to your question, for some employers, yes, it will be a waste of time. Not for all though, so it's probably still worth pursuing.
posted by GuyZero at 11:15 AM on September 5, 2006

confidentiality, not confidentially. Duh, sorry...
posted by Artful Codger at 11:15 AM on September 5, 2006

It really depends on the position *and* the company. Around here, it doesn't matter how experienced you are, telecommuting is a pipe dream. You can work from home all you want but typically you're expected to be in the office during the bulk of the "working hours."
IE I can go to work at 10am, leave at 4, and do an hour or two of work from home, but a full day of "working from home/telecommuting" isn't really going to happen.

Except for management. They always allow themselves the perks.
posted by drstein at 8:55 PM on September 5, 2006

You might as well apply and put a note in your cover letter about your telecommuting preference.

However as mentioned, a new hire is going to have to put in enough time at the office to "earn" telecommuting privileges. (If they even exist)

Have you thought about becoming an independent contractor? Currently I can work anywhere in the world that has Internet connectivity and a mobile phone that works.
posted by Ookseer at 8:58 PM on September 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback, everybody; useful perspectives. At this point, the issue is moot for me; a guy I used to work for hooked me up with a position local to me, and I accepted it this morning.
posted by SomePerlGeek at 11:25 AM on September 7, 2006

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