Chapter 1: Hire with confidence

Identify the right candidates for remote teams.

Hiring is never easy. Hiring for startups is usually painful.

There is nothing more important than a core team that can launch off the runway. Every minute and every penny is insanely critical. But that same impulse drives many entrepreneurs to insist that the team has to be closely monitored in a shared space.

In all cases, what matters most are recruitment processes and hiring procedures that produce motivated teams who don't require supervision to perform well. Scroll down to learn about this proven framework which delivers just that.

Defining A Budget

Because remote work enables any company to hire talent from virtually anywhere, compensation can vary quite a bit.

It’s not uncommon to find full-stack engineers working for remote startups in Latin America for salaries in the low $30K and even below $20K/year. While these salary ranges are incomprehensible for some markets, particularly in the US and some Western European countries, they're actually comfortable wages in developing countries. In Colombia, for example, being part of the top 2% only requires a yearly household income of $36,000 USD.

On the other side of the spectrum, some startups in more established markets are comfortable offering remote-friendly compensation plans at US economic standards, with some engineering positions hitting 5+ figures.

At Torre, we advocate for salary transparency and compensation standards. We analyzed over 2,500 job postings and came up with a handy tool to figure out what you should be offering your remote employees at Remoter Salaries, which will be coming soon.

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Defining A Role And Job Description

The usual positions offered in start-ups are generally well-defined.

To help you define your role(s) and job description(s), we’ve prepared some templates for the most popular remote jobs. They are based on analyzing thousands of job postings and our own experience of recruiting hundreds of employees for our companies.


Finding Candidates

By going remote, you open your company to a larger pool of talent. It increases the chances of getting very relevant candidates, but also requires broadening the scope of your search and could demand significant resources.

Here are some of the tools/tactics we’ve experimented with to get the best candidates.

  • You could get hundreds of applicants and end up reviewing hundreds of CVs in all kinds of formats.
  • They represent a very small percentage of finalists in our talent acquisition funnels as they lack relevance.
  • Job boards usually charge in the $200-$600 USD range for a position.
  • A “free” alternative to job boards.
  • Because of the lack of proper monetization and moderation, the vast majority of groups are not well-curated. It could take significant time to navigate through them.
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  • Although larger organizations are established in traditional markets, remote work still hasn’t been dominated by any agency.
  • Some recruiters and boutique firms can charge up to 30% commission over the yearly salary of many candidates.
  • The truth is, most agencies will use traditional recruitment methods and won’t add value beyond outsearching tasks (something you could easily do by yourself).
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  • These have been an alternative to hiring a team directly.
  • Although we don’t recommend this practice for the founding team, it has been an option for many CEOs trying to scale as fast as possible.
  • Staffing firms can charge an overhead of 30-50%, sometimes even more, for finding, hiring, maintaining and operating your team, particularly in engineering tasks.
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  • 55% or more of positions are fulfilled via referrals across sectors.
  • It is a very manual process and startup CEOs and founders end up having to choose between reliability and speed.
  • As a startup CEO, you never want to sacrifice speed so you might have to roll the dice more than once while using this tactic.
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  • Similar to recruiting agencies, freelance recruiters can be a helping hand, from the sourcing to the hiring process.
  • The fees with freelancers are usually lower and some work on flat fees.
  • It is common to find freelance recruiters that specialize in markets such as Latin America or Western Europe, where salaries can go as low as $18,000/year per software engineer. 
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  • CEOs hire full-time PR staff just to accelerate the hiring process, invest thousands of dollars per position via Linkedin advertising and other marketing tactics and hacks to get to the right people.
  • It is an alternative that, although costly, could provide some results.


Managing applicants is not an easy task.

Larger startups and corporations usually leverage ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) to keep track of volume and process. Although you won’t likely manage dozens of openings as a brand new start-up, the problem of reviewing hundreds of applicants and following the process with them will persist, even for a couple of hires.

Some of my startup friends limit their “automation” to drive spreadsheets or AirTables with filters and rules. Larger organizations go as far as using complex emails, forms, and/or test automation to filter out candidates automatically.

In our case, we’ve built our own little ATS with Trello-like functionality, and optimized it for remote talent. I’ll go through some of that later in this post.

When interviewing candidates for a remote position, here are some things to consider:

  • How well does the candidate handle her/himself with online collaboration tools?
  • How well does the candidate write/read/communicate in written format? (This can be tested by performing part of the interview via real-time chat).
  • How structured is the typical routine of the candidate?
  • What is his/her typical work setting?
  • Does s/he have any remote work experience?
  • How good is the candidate at self-managing?
  • How autodidact is the candidate?

How to duplicate your early stage startup

Here’s a detailed step by step guide on how we were able to create an opening, get candidates, review and filter them, have interviews with 6 members of the team, perform technical and psychometric testing and finally, have a team-wide meeting to decide on the 4 chosen candidates.


We used our software engineer template to create our own opening in Torre Post.


Our operations team distributed the opportunity using:

  • Job boards.
  • Our freelance recruiters network (for sourcing).
  • Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Paid media through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter Ads.
  • Our own database with 10,000+ remote engineers.

These efforts generated about 800 applicants, which where then filtered using Alex’s own criteria down to 200 relevant Bios.


Bios were ranked by relevance. Alex used Torre Messenger to ask questions to candidates. He deployed questions by the order of priority given by Torre's candidate ranking system.


Alex could open or close the candidate faucet and work on as many or as few candidates as per his bandwidth. He ended up reviewing the top 50 candidates and sending them questions.


Given his time and availability, he worked on the first 30 candidates who's answers passed his own filters and interviewed 20 of them.


All candidates performed technical tests with our architect and tech lead, and psychometric tests with our operations coordinator.


Based on his 20 interviews, he made a filter and had 10 of them interviewed by some of our founding team members:

  • 2 Engineers
  • 1 Product Designer
  • 1 UX Researcher
  • 1 Product Marketer

3-4 candidates were interviewed daily. A conclusion was made during the team's final huddle.

  • We were asked to write altogether (to avoid bias) our perspective on the candidate's strengths, areas of opportunities and leadership potential. That led to our final opinion of whether or not we'd hire them (on a scale of “hard yes,”“soft yes,” “soft no,” and “hard no”).
  • The results of the technical tests and psychometric tests were taken into consideration for the final decision.
  • If a candidate received one “soft no” from any team member, and others were unable to convince them to change their mind, the candidate didn’t receive an offer.
  • If more candidates received unanimous "yes’s" from the team then the number of positions available, our CEO was in charge of prioritizing given the responses of the team and his own observations.

An initial offer of a 3-month probation period commenced. To date, all initial consultants have become full-time team members after passing this period.

Tools To Hire Remote Teams Faster

Use the exact templates we've used at Torre to attract and qualify remote talent.