Remote Workers June 29, 2020

Remote Hiring - How I ended up with a team across 4 different continents without screening resumes


I am the founder of and here is a quick look at my team:

Lead Developer - Lapland, Finland
Senior Developer - Johannesburg, South Africa
Head of Marketing - Toronto, Canada
Growth /Content Marketer - Delhi, India
Marketing Intern - Pittsburgh, USA
CEO/Founder - Hyderabad, India

Most of them have been around for 2+ years with me. When I started to recruit remote work, I had two simple rules:

  • Hire from anywhere in the world
  • Don't look at resumes

Here is how I hired our Lead developer via a post on reddit /r/Jobs4bitcoin

This guy we hired has been with us for last 2.5 years and is now our Chief Technology Officer and has taken almost all technology related responsibilities! I have never yet met him in person.

The method is simple. I give a small technical assignment to test the developer skills. As you would expect, you would face flak from people:

That assignment is ridiculous. Why should anyone spend an hour or so of their time doing that for a position that is contract based and comes with no employee-benefits? Credentials, a portfolio, and code samples should be more than sufficient to "prove" to you that someone knows what they are doing.

In fact this is the exact kind of candidates you would want to avoid! Here are the few reason why this works:

  1. Shows willing to work and finishing a project
  2. Easy to judge technical/communication skills
  3. Saves you tonnes of times screening fake resumes and doing background checks

Similar hiring method can be used for marketing/sales related position. For a content marketing position I asked candidates to submit a banner for a bakery that accepts bitcoin. Here is what I got from the candidate we eventually hired !

Feel free to share you remote hiring experiences. I am curious to know what work/didn't work for fellow Indie Hackers

  1. 2

    Nice tips! I learned the hard way that most of the times, resumes don't matter much and had a similar experience as you when asking devs to do a quick tech assignment.

    A critical part besides the technical assignment itself is to also:

    1. Evaluate how good they are at gathering, understanding and following requirements. I might intentionally leave some parts without too much details to evaluate their skills at identifying and capturing the expected behavior.

    2. Ask them to explain what they did. This will help you understand their problem resolution process, how good they can communicate with fellow devs and if they can see beyond the requirements, for example, maintainability, integration with other features, etc.

    1. 1

      Agreed. It is very important to evaluate critical thinking and not getting awed by impressive resumes/experience. Getting them to figure out stuff by leaving out parts is a good test !

  2. 1

    I understand the merits of this approach but it likely only works for the 'hungry' - which, I expect, translates to 'carefree and without experience' and would bias in favour of the confident.

    Perhaps something that one wants in an early-stage startup, but I have learned, the hard way, that the confidence of my youth was merely a sign of my arrogance and inexperience.

    I'd love to know why you think this worked out for you; since it so clearly did.

    1. 1

      This approach doesn't test confidence. It tests thinking skills and how to apply skills to a new problem.
      If you see I have avoided face to face interview. This is where ppl with fake confidence may shine. I find lot of smart people (with less degree/qualifications) lacking in confidence/speaking skills.

      1. 1

        Sorry, I meant on a selection bias basis, i.e. you only do the interview if you are confident you will pass it. Of course, I have no idea how you would avoid that.

  3. 1

    Great information, thanks for sharing your experience. Any drawbacks or failure stories regarding building and leading a remote team?

    1. 2

      Thanks. Yes of course, let me share few of those:

      • We hired a content writer who was a digital nomad and traveling across china/south east asia. Initially it went well. Later she was too overwhelmed with the amount of work and thought the pay wasn't proportional to the work. She could get payed more from other publications she was writing for. So we mutually decided to call it quits.
      • Some people didn't want to start work without getting paid first. This is common issue. Why would people trust any random company on the internet? The way to solve this is to ask them to initially get paid every week/two weeks. As trust builds we increase this to one month
      • We had developer who did well in assignments and initially work. However, reviewing his work was causing more overhead for existing developer than it was adding value. So basically team work / communication was a weakness. So we had to let him go too.