I was under the impression that in the past (before Q3 of 2022), it was often possible to get exceptions to location-based comp ranges and to get an offer that was average for the role even if in a low-COL area working remotely. I've talked to other developers in my area who have said they experienced that.
Has this become more difficult in this market? I was evaluating an offer and the recruiter initially seemed optimistic about exploring going above the location-based pay bands in order to compete with my other offer and current comp, but then I didn't hear from him for two weeks (during Christmas) and then he got back to me saying it was entirely impossible.
I think this is very company-specific. I know Meta is pretty strict about adjusting salary for location. Some companies (I believe Shopify) is leaning into remote work and doesn't do as much.
Here's one consideration for you: can you stay in a high CoL area for a year when you get the initial offer, and then move somewhere cheaper after that?
Most people get equity grants over 4 years. So you get the large equity grant from a company like Airbnb or Google, then move to Iowa (or even international).
They may change your salary, but they can't change your initial 4 year equity grant!