Is it better to have coding experience in the US or abroad?


Dear JobsBlog: I am a developer with 6 years of experience working outside of the US. American recruiters have been rejecting my application and I suspect that it is because of the international-nature of my coding experience. I thought that coding was not affected by place. Does the location of my coding experience really matter?

-International Dev

Dear International Dev: It is unlikely that they would pass on you based solely on the geography of where your coding experience is gained. That said, there are many factors at play when considering candidates with international experience – some of which, may inhibit our ability to consider you further.

Here are a few personal examples where I’ve rejected resumes with International experience. Perhaps one of these applies and will help shed some light?

The candidate requires a new visa, yet none are available. There really aren’t many options for overcoming this obstacle. No matter how strong a resume may be, there is a legal barrier here, which must be respected.

The candidate still lives abroad. This is a problem of time and money and – as painful as it might be to admit – it’s not about picking the absolute best candidate. Frankly, interviewing an international candidate takes longer and costs more money. For some positions, it might not make sense when a domestic and equally qualified candidate can be found faster.

The resume isn’t the best match for the role. The years of experience listed are just a number; other qualifications must also be considered, as well as the depth of that experience and the overall quality of the resume.

The important thing I’d want candidates to know here is that Resume Review is both a quantitative and comparative process.  Recruiters are evaluating resumes based both on the requirements of the position and how that resume compares to the others in the stack.

The fine print/some critical reflection: with any generic question, it’s important to remember that each position is different in what it will and won’t consider. A personal frustration, which I’m sure many of our readers share, is that most job boards (and job descriptions) do not make it easy to search and filter positions based on the above type of criteria.

Our systems also do not currently provide automated updates to a candidate at the earliest stages of consideration. This is commonly perceived as the “Black hole effect,” and unfortunately, not going away soon.  Just know that recruiters like myself are spending hours each week reading the resumes which are submitted to us, and there is *usually* a good reason if we aren’t moving forward.


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