As millions of people fear losing their jobs, remote work gains popularity. Even companies that were reluctant to adopt remote work strategy prior to coronavirus outbreak, had no other option but to shift to work from home arrangements.
Going forward, it is expected that the number of all-remote companies will grow exponentially as many businesses and employees have realized the benefits of remote work. Even before coronavirus pandemic, investors were already asking tech startup founders ‘’What is your remote work strategy?’’ as they were aware of talent scarcity and ever-increasing rents in tech hubs like New York, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, etc. The tremendous positive effect on climate change was felt immediately when people stayed at home instead of commuting daily.
At the same time, finding legit remote jobs has never been easy as the number of job seekers interested in remote working arrangements is a way bigger than the number of available remote jobs.
The terminology used by employers can be confusing as some jobs are classified as work from home jobs, online jobs, telecommuting jobs, freelance jobs, flex jobs, etc.
What are the differences?
Usually, remote jobs are defined as jobs suitable for people who want to be location independent and allow work and travel. Employees and freelancers can work from any location provided that there is a fast Internet connection. Many companies provide co-working office subscriptions and co-living arrangements as part of the package.
Work From Home Jobs
By default, work from home jobs are suitable for people who need to work from home. These include working parents who need to organize their business hours around school schedule and after school programs and activities, caregivers taking care of elderly or sick relatives who need to stay at home and make the ends meet, people with disabilities, people less able to move, people on the Autism spectrum, etc. Some people with disabilities are sensitive to light, noise and other factors and can’t work in an overcrowded office.
Work from home jobs are usually adjusted to address the needs of people who can’t work from an office or commute daily.
Although there’s an obvious overlap with remote jobs, there are some differences job seekers need to be aware of. Some remote jobs may require employees to gather together somewhere in the world from time to time or to spend a few days per month in an office. On the other hand, as the name implies, online jobs are fully online, and employees are not required to travel or spent time in the company’s offices anywhere in the world.
A hybrid of remote jobs and online jobs, telecommuting jobs usually don’t require employees to travel or spend time in the company’s offices. Often ‘’telecommuting jobs’’ is used to define jobs in call centers, telesales, online customer support centers, online vendor support centers and the like.
Most of the above-mentioned job categories are available as full-time employment, part-time employment or temporary contract jobs. However, freelance jobs are available to freelancers, self-employed and independent contractors. As the legislation across the globe varies a lot when it comes to freelance jobs and hiring freelancers, job seekers need to do their research to understand their status, obligations, etc. In some countries, individuals need to register as self-employed, in others they need to incorporate a limited liability company, etc.
On top of that, freelance jobs can be both remote and in-office. Some companies may prefer that independent contractors and freelancers visit their offices from time to time to collaborate with full-time employees, etc. while others are comfortable hiring freelancers on the other side of the world.
Usually, flex jobs are associated with full-time employment arrangements that allow employees to work flexible hours to limit daily commute and achieve work-life balance. However, most employees are required to visit company offices at least once per month.
To complicate it even more, the terminology used across the globe varies making it hard for job seekers to understand which type of jobs is best for them. Unfortunately, confusing terminology has become a perfect ground for online (and offline !!!) scam.
So, how can job seekers find legit remote jobs?
1. Avoid Job Boards and Freelance Marketplaces That Allow Free Job Posting
Avoid job sites, job boards and freelance marketplaces that allow ‘’employers’’ to post job listings for free. Scammers are not ready to invest a penny, instead, they are likely to have the same remote job listed on all job boards and freelance platforms for free to attract more applicants and rip them off. In addition to that, each credit card payment is traceable which is another reason for scammers to avoid paid remote job listings. Being aware of this fact, Transformify offers 7-day Trial for USD 7 to employers instead of a free trial or free job posting.
2. Avoid Remote Jobs That Require Upfront Payment
Never apply for remote jobs or freelance jobs that require an upfront investment. These are typical Ponzi schemes. Examples include online distribution of makeup that requires job seekers to pay a small amount for a makeup test kit and the like. Be aware that there are a number of scam schemes including online language teaching jobs that require prospective teachers to pay for training courses, online translation jobs that require candidates to pay for sitting assessment tests, telesales jobs that require candidates to buy Skype vouchers and more. As a job seeker, you shall not be asked to pay any upfront fees!
3. Say ‘’No’’ to Unpaid Trials
Testing job seeker’s skills is standard practice regardless of the job type. Even classic in-office full-time working arrangements normally include probation period or test period (the terminology varies across the globe) of several months. However, these probation, test or trial periods are always paid.
Then, why shall remote workers and freelancers agree to unpaid trials?
Unpaid trials are a bad practice that is unfortunately widespread. On the other hand, agreeing on a lower pay rate during the trial period is acceptable. Payment based on achievement during the trial period is also common for sales roles as the results can be measured unambiguously. The candidate has either met the sales target or not.
What can job seekers do if an employer is asking them to agree on an unpaid trial period?
The best practice is to provide links to an online portfolio if you have one. Web designers, graphic designers, copywriters, bloggers, etc. can easily show examples of their work. If the client still insists, you can agree on a small work sample that is not supposed to take more than 3 hours of your time.
To protect the interests of its users, Transformify requires employers to assign paid trial projects to job seekers. Typically, these are 10-hour paid trials that help employers to assess job seekers’ skills and cultural fit if applicable as sometimes remote workers are not expected to work as a part of a team.
4. Outline Your Achievements
Some innovative companies like Tesla and Accenture are not relying on CVs and resumes anymore and the same is valid for Transformify. The reason is simple – lengthy resumes which are typically copy-paste from similar profiles on Linkedin are wasting recruiters’ time.
To stand out from the crowd, we strongly recommend job seekers to list their achievements and top skills. ‘’Managed a cost optimization project that led to USD 300 million of savings’’ is not the same as ‘’ A motivated and enthusiastic professional inspired by challenging opportunities and having extensive experience in finance, accounting and cost optimization’’, right?
5. Don’t Forget Your Transferrable Skills
Some skills are equally valuable regardless of the industry sector the prospective employer operates in. By outlining their transferrable skills, candidates significantly increase their chances of receiving a job offer in times of economic crisis and massive job cuts.
Tourism has been badly hit by coronavirus quarantine and most travel agents who speak multiple languages and have experience dealing with difficult clients are likely to lose their jobs. However, their foreign language proficiency and ability to deal with difficult clients are transferrable skills that can help former travel agents to secure remote jobs as bilingual customer support agents, multilingual account managers and so on with online retailers like Amazon and eBay that are hiring at scale.
6. Do Your Research
Some companies may prefer to confidentially source job seekers for innovative or strategic projects. Even though the name of the company may not be publicly available, it will be communicated to the job seekers during the interview. Job seekers are strongly advised to do online research and check the reputation of the employer prior to accepting the remote job offer. It is likely to find online reviews, comments posted on forums, etc. If possible, get in touch online with former remote workers who have posted comments online via Linkedin, Twitter, etc. They can provide valuable information.
7. Sign a Remote Worker Agreement
We are surprised that job seekers still accept working on remote jobs having no signed remote worker agreement or General Terms and Conditions. If there is no legally binding document outlining the rights and obligations, it is extremely hard for remote workers to defend their rights in case of delayed payments, non-payment, additional workload, unpaid change requests and the like. Most freelance platforms and remote jobs platforms, including Transformify, ask job seekers to sign T&C that outlines the rights and obligations of the parties. In addition, most all-remote companies or reputable businesses hiring remote workers are likely to ask job seekers to sign additional documents such as NDA, scope of work annex, change request procedures annex, etc.
8. Payment Guarantee
Not all freelance marketplaces and remote jobs platforms offer a payment guarantee. Even if a payment guarantee is offered, job seekers need to check what terms apply. For example, Transformify offers a payment guarantee only if all payments are processed via Transformify platform as otherwise, we have no visibility or control over the payments process.
Remote jobs are listed on niche job boards like Remote.io and Flexjobs, General job boards like Indeed, freelance marketplaces and freelance platforms like Transformify, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
Some job boards, like Flexjobs, may ask job seekers to pay a monthly subscription fee to be granted access to the listed remote jobs.
Most freelance platforms take a cut on job seeker earnings and the percentage may vary a lot. It is strongly advisable to check the fees that apply, the payment terms and read the small print prior to accepting a remote job offer.
As a social enterprise, Transformify does not take a cut on freelancers’ earnings, neither are job seekers required to pay a monthly subscription fee.
10. References are the ‘’currency’’ of the gig economy
Always ask for references when you complete a freelance project or shift careers. Remote jobs are highly competitive as demand is much higher than supply. Each remote job listed on Transformify attracts 300 candidates on average and recruiters have a choice.
To secure legit, high-paying remote jobs, job seekers need to be alert of online scam and be able to identify fake remote job listings, always sign legally binding remote worker agreements as they protect their rights, read the small print and check if payment guarantee is offered by the freelance marketplace or remote jobs platform.
Are you looking for remote jobs or freelance jobs? Register a job seeker profile with Transformify now!
Are you looking to hire remote workers and freelancers? Start your 7-day Trial with Transformify now!
Trusted by recruiters from 150+ countries, Transformify HR Suite comprises of ATS, Freelance Platform, Contingent Workforce Management Software, Diversity Hiring, Employer Branding, billing & payments.