How Technology Can Enable Remote Hiring

yutalentLove280x223In advance on the NORAs this year, we will be exploring some aspects of work in the 21st century, which have been made possible by online technology.

Here, Tim Parker, Director of our 2014 Headline Sponsor yu:talent, gives us his take on remote recruiting and working.


In the age of remote working, is it time to rethink the ‘essential’ recruitment stages?

Eight months ago I was recruiter working in Manchester near the end of a 15 year career and a 12 year stint with one company.   I am now working in Barcelona and currently pouring that knowledge gained into yu:talent, enjoying a very steep learning curve switching from Rec to Tech.  I have developed a very strong working relationship with the company founder Steve Walker, who is also my line manager (for want of a better term).  However, he is based in Thailand and up until this week we had never met.

If I rewind a few years back to when I was a legal recruiter, the nature of my candidate base both in geographical spread and sourcing meant I had to develop my recruiter skills to evaluate candidate strength base on telephone interview alone when face to face simply wasn’t possible.  Although my preference would always be to meet face to face, there was never an issue that arose whereby I felt submitting a given candidate to a role was a mistake.

Even having had that experience, until very recently if I was asked to hire into my own team I would have said that a face to face interview was essential and almost certainly over two stages.

However, my experience with yu:talent has changed this opinion.  The nature of my ‘interview’ with Steve was that really he hired me on gut and without physically meeting me.  I also accepted the role on the same basis.  Neither of us have looked back and I think that there is a lot to be learned from this.

There are some very obvious changes in the way I work of course, but not as many as you may think.  Not only have I developed a very strong working relationship with Steve, but with other team members based in other countries.  I would even go so far as to say that these degrees of physical separation have not only worked, but have improved our team working and efficiency.  Everything has to be relevant and quick when we touch base with each other.  We’ve reduced the waste of idol chat that would be more prevalent if we were constantly in the same room.  Performance is has to be results based and directly measurable, which makes us efficient as a team but also quick to identify any hiring mistake, should this occur.

So do we need to interview face to face anymore?  I would say not, but note that I phrase this as NEED to interview face to face.  If the option is there and easy, of course it makes sense to still meet and have the full benefit of the five senses.  However, what I would say is that for businesses that operate internationally, I don’t think it is critical to fly people to a different country for interview given the huge expense involved.   We may even need to question the need for multi-stage face to face interviews.  Do we really get to know anything more with a rigid and lengthy interview process?   In reality do we gain most of what you need to know within the first half hour of chatting to someone?   Part of me wonders if this just muddies the water and we actually end up increasing the halo or horns effect, rather than reducing it.

In any event, we are very much in a brave new world of remote working and interviewing.  It will be very interesting to see how the internet reshapes or eliminates some of the recruitment practices we currently view as critical over the next few years.  I suspect the direction is only going to become one of greater efficiency and in turn we will find ourselves letting go of many traditional recruitment practices with physical face to face interviewing likely to be one.