Ben meets [Ben] Tempo

We caught up with Ben Chatfield, Co-Founder and CEO of Tempo , to find out more about how the company started, factors to consider when hiring remotely, and the ways the new world of work is shaping how we perceive diversity and inclusion.

Interview Series

⋅ min read

Whilst the outcome of the work from home or work from the office debate remains to be seen, for many, actually finding work is even more unpredictable.

For the team at the all-in-one hiring platform, Tempo, they believe the job search should be an adventure and recruitment the most important and exciting thing companies do. Through the use of technology (and striking branding!), Tempo is revolutionising the industry to enable jobseekers to find the roles they are looking for and be a tool to supercharge internal hiring teams - saving time and resources.

We caught up with Ben Chatfield, Co-Founder and CEO of Tempo , to find out more about how the company started, factors to consider when hiring remotely, and the ways the new world of work is shaping how we perceive diversity and inclusion.

Can you describe Tempo in 30 seconds? What do you do?

Tempo is an all-in-one hiring platform for business and commercial roles. We have a marketplace of 85,000+ jobseekers looking to launch and grow their careers in roles such as Customer Success, Sales, Marketing, Admin and Operations, as well as 2,500 companies including the likes of Monzo, Bulb and Starling Bank.

We use smart technology to match the two sides together where you can then manage the whole process end-to-end. This includes messaging, automated screening, features like video Q&A and tasks, right through to interviews and making offers – all in one place.

On average companies hiring through us are 2.5x more efficient whilst simultaneously cutting recruitment costs by 65%, which in turn means a more improved candidate experience. 

What was the initial spark for the idea of Tempo?

It really came from lived experience. I worked in recruitment for seven years across agencies, startups and venture capital before starting Tempo, so understood the problems from all sides.

Fundamentally, we believe that hiring is the most important thing companies do. For early-stage businesses especially, though it’s true for all, how well you hire can make or break your success. For people too, you spend 80% of your time at work and it impacts almost every other aspect of your life, so it’s really important you make the right choice.

However, if you’re looking to hire or get hired into business and commercial roles, the only solutions out there to help are job boards and agencies – that’s literally all you’ve got, despite the fact that no one really likes using them or thinks that they do a good job!

There’s a ton of admin involved in wading through irrelevant candidates or endlessly scrolling through job boards. There’s a lack of feedback and human interaction, it’s slow, and as a jobseeker, you can be treated like a commodity.

We saw a huge opportunity to use technology to make the process much, much quicker, easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

What do you foresee as a major shift in recruitment over the coming years? How is Tempo adapting?

There’s a huge trend towards people working more flexibly and taking a less linear approach to their careers. People are keen to explore different roles and industries and are now expected to have five to seven  “careers” within their working life. 

This represents a challenge for companies who are used to assessing candidates based on things like work history and education, usually trying to find as close a match to their vacant role as possible, , as more and more they’ll be interacting with career-switchers who might not have actually worked in the role they’re applying for.

Past experience and education will become less important than someone’s transferable skills and their ability to learn new things, so ultimately their future potential. At the moment, assessing this is very hard and relies a lot on gut instinct, but the companies that crack it will have a huge competitive advantage as they’ll have access to the most diverse, highly skilled and adaptable candidates. 

This is why at Tempo, we’re providing candidates with a way to showcase a holistic view of their capabilities, in turn allowing companies to make the most informed hiring decision.

What is the most common mistake companies make when recruiting?

The most common mistake I see is companies trying to solve the problem through volume. It’s partly a result of the limited options that are available, but businesses will often pay to advertise on various job boards and then be inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. This sounds good at first as the monetary cost can be quite low but it quickly becomes unmanageable, with candidate experience suffering and often with a huge amount of time wasted as the majority of those applying end up being irrelevant.

What is the most significant opportunity and biggest challenge when recruiting and hiring remotely?

For companies who have taken the leap and gone fully remote, it opens up some exciting opportunities to access a global talent pool. This can be particularly useful if you’re looking for very niche, hard to find skillsets.

There are lots of challenges though, as creating an engaging remote hiring process can be tough, with communication and transparency becoming even more important. It can be harder for candidates to get a sense of what it’s like to work somewhere without the usual tour of the office. As such, it can work well to get them to virtually meet people from different teams, going above and beyond what you would do normally.

Once someone is onboard, integration and ramp up can be a challenge. It’s really important to create structure for their first couple of weeks, being very thorough and intentional with the information you share with them. You can’t rely on learning by osmosis that usually happens from being in the office and overhearing conversations.

There also aren’t those opportunities to nip out and grab a coffee or lunch with people to get to know them better, so space has to be created to do this virtually. If 100% of conversation is work related, it’ll be harder to build those social connections which are so important.

In your experience, does remote working/recruitment hinder or foster diversity & inclusion in business?

It’s something businesses have to be really conscious of. Just one example is that different personality types can do better or worse in a remote setting versus face to face. Leaders have to be cognisant of this and make sure they are creating room for everyone to contribute and feel comfortable. 

It can be harder to pick up on people feeling like they’re not included or if they’re struggling in general, so leaders and managers need to be much more proactive in seeking out these conversations and gathering information on where things can be improved.

It does also present an interesting opportunity to uncover and challenge unconscious biases that may exist, which can in turn affect your in-person hiring process. For example, has your perception of what good looks like changed since hiring remote? How are you measuring performance?

How do you make sure a job applicant is a good cultural fit in a remote work environment?

Leaning heavily on your company values, if you’ve defined them, can really help with this and can be a good barometer of how well someone will “fit” in the organisation, regardless of whether you’re working remote or in the office.

It’s also better to think about it in terms of cultural add rather than cultural fit. What is this person going to bring that you don’t already have, or that will complement others around them, rather than how closely they match people already in the team.

A big thank you to Ben for the amazing insights and thought-provoking ideas at such a pivotal time in the world of work.  You can find out more about Tempo here. 

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