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Ben Chatfield Drags Recruitment Into The 21st Century

The way the world works is changing. Remote working, increased flexibility and freelancing are all commonplace within businesses both large and small. This is driven, in part, by the millennial generation. Millennials demand more from their employers than just a paycheck. They want to work for companies that inspire them, share their values, and let them make an impact rather than feel like a cog in a machine.

Ben Chatfield tells me over the phone that finding these companies can be tough. Applicants are forced through anonymised job adverts and lengthy application processes. To make it worse, these are often administered by traditional recruitment agencies whose practices haven’t really changed for 40 years. In all areas of our lives technology has made things easier, faster and more convenient but finding a job remains a tedious endeavor.

The experience is mirrored for employers. Ask anyone responsible for hiring and they’ll tell you that finding great people is difficult, time consuming and very expensive. Since agency recruiters are paid in commission, it is not their primary motivation to get the right person to the job. It is to get someone in to the job, often with minimal filtering.

With agency fees reaching 20-30% of the candidate’s annual salary, this seems quite expensive for a task that Chatfield believes can largely be automated. Nevertheless, the process is tolerated because hiring the right talent is key to a company’s growth. There are also hardly any other viable alternatives to agencies and job boards.

In January 2017, Ben Chatfield and Ollie Povey launched Tempo to tackle this problem. Tempo is a semi-automated, video based recruitment platform that is disrupting the archaic recruitment agency model and making it easy for companies to find great candidates.

Tempo filters candidates via artificial intelligence. Hiring companies are able to see videos of candidates to complement digital CVs, along with references and pay expectations. Companies post jobs with key information like culture, dress code and location made visible upfront, making it easier for candidates to assess interest with minimal time investment.

Remember when we used to have to call to hail a cab? Ever since Uber gained mass adoption, the timeframe to hail a cab has massively decreased due to disintermediation. Similar effects can potentially be expected with Tempo in hiring or finding a job.

When a rapidly scaling tech company was hiring for a personal assistant, they used a traditional agency for three weeks to no avail. In a twist of fate, they posted the job on Tempo and were instantly matched with five candidates. The profiles that matched provided sufficient information for them to make an offer, which was subsequently accepted in 15 minutes without an interview. The candidate started the next day, worked as a temp with them for three months and has since been promoted and taken on permanently.

Chatfield claims that although CVs can be a great indicator of a person's technical skills, soft skills are what really make the difference once in the job and these are impossible to assess on paper. By incorporating video into the application process, there is an increased likelihood of a cultural fit by the time the candidate gets to the interview stage.

Chatfield believes that the recruitment industry is due a facelift, and with companies like Monzo, Boston Consulting Group and Hello Fresh already hiring on the platform, it seems he is not alone. If all goes to plan, hiring great people will soon be as easy as ordering an Uber.

Author:Jamie Tolentino

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