Why Companies Should Embrace Remote Recruitment, With Matt Alder

Gabriela Molina

Matt Alder is the co-author of two books, Digital Talent and Exceptional Talent. He has more than 15 years of working remotely, and as a Talent Acquisition and Innovation Consultant, he has helped companies to digitally transform their HR and recruitment sectors. Matt is also the producer and host of the Recruiting Future Podcast.

Matt Alder

Read the transcript

Luis:

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of the DistantJob Podcast. I am your host Luis in this podcast, that’s all about building and leading awesome remote teams. My guest today is Matt Alder. Matt is the other of two books, Digital Talent and Exceptional Talent, and the producer and host of the Recruiting Future Podcast. Matt, welcome to the show.

Matt Alder:

Thank you very much for having me on. It’s always a pleasure to be on someone else’s podcast.

Luis:

It’s a pleasure having you. I actually was looking at your profile when I was picking new guests and I was very excited to have you on, and then I had COVID and my memory was completely erased, right? It really knocked me out for a loop, but I’m glad that we managed to do the recording anyway. So if people notice that my voice is maybe a bit weird or that I stutter more than usual, I’m sorry, folks. I’m still recovering, but I think that you’re going to enjoy the conversation regardless. So Matt, why don’t we start with you telling me a bit about your relationship with remote work and how has remote work impacted your career?

Matt Alder:

Fascinating question. I have effectively been working remotely now for about 15 years, so early adopter in terms of remote working. And when I became a consultant, obviously that was remote working by choice. I didn’t have an office. And then I found myself collaborating with people all over the world, using different types of technology. About seven years ago, I made the move from London to Scotland as in my wife and my wife was then working remotely for a proper company, not working for herself, so that was interesting.

Matt Alder:

But actually, I’ve been fascinated with remote work for a really long time, because back when I had one of my proper jobs working for an ad agency, very much remote working was something that people had never even heard of, let alone adopted, but we had incredibly difficult time recruiting the skills that we needed for the digital arm of the business.

Matt Alder:

And we actually ended up working with a couple of people remotely, and this would be back in 2004. And it was interesting just in terms of the way the rest of the company reacted. And the HR team made me set up a desk for the remote people and have a camera pointing at them all day, which just seemed ridiculous because we knew exactly what they were delivering. But that was the attitude of the time, that was the only way I could get it past the management to actually work with someone remotely.

Matt Alder:

So it’s been fascinating to watch those kind of opinions evolve to experience remote work myself. I now collaborate with people all over the world. I’ve written two books with my co-author entirely remotely. We sort of met up for the launch and that was about it. So it’s been an ongoing thing for me for a couple of decades.

Luis:

Yes. That story reminds me of something that was pre-COVID. There was someone pushing a kind of telepresence robot that was this little robot that you put on top of a desk and its head is basically an iPad. So you could have the person on the desk in your office, even though they were at home, right.

Matt Alder:

Absolutely. I mean, it just seems crazy now because we’ve been through this dramatic change with the pandemic, but that made perfect sense at the time. Maybe that’s where we’re going again. I also remember walking to massive telepresence rooms where you’ve literally got the other meeting room on the side of the screen. And that was actually quite cool, but not very scalable in terms of having to build a specific room in every office. I also once with a client who wanted to have a remote conversation, drove all the way from London to Slough to sit in a telepresence room to have a conversation with someone in Manchester. So it’s fascinating how everything’s evolved.

Luis:

No, I can definitely see that. I mean, and I have to admit, I thought that little robot was quite cool, but I don’t imagine it being interesting or comfortable to use it constantly, to make that a part of your remote work day.

Matt Alder:

And I think that all of these things are all about this sense of presenteeism and I kind of saw that at that very early stage where HR were making the poor guy who was working on my team have a webcam. He was in South Africa and so the time zones were similar and he has a webcam on all day and an empty desk when we were short of desks. And it just illustrated to me very early on the ridiculousness of actually trying to mimic physical presence in remote work. When actually, the advantages around asynchronous work and time shifting are just enormous.

Luis:

Well, there’s a certain kind of old school mentality, which is, I ran into this when I was working at dental clinics of all things, they felt obviously that there wasn’t a remote work situation. But I remember the clinical director being very upset that if there were no patients, if no patients were arriving at dental clinic, that it was a waste of productivity. That the clinic wouldn’t be profitable, it wouldn’t make sense to keep the clinic open if everyone wasn’t working all the time.

Luis:

So if there were no patients, the director wanted people to find other things to occupy themselves with. I think that calls to a very old school mentality that says, well, I’m paying for X hours from this person, so I’m not getting my money’s worth if they’re not doing something for X hours. And who cares about what something is?

Matt Alder:

Absolutely. And it’s absolutely kind of embedded in our society still that we need people in offices, we need people to be working for this amount of hours and all of these kind of things. And it’s great to see so many companies embracing the other way of thinking. And I think that as you kind of called it there, that old school thinking, it’s kind of blocking some of the innovation that we need to do around some of the issues with remote work. So people are constantly bringing up the issue of like, how do people who have just joined the company getting inducted, or how do young people learn when they join companies, if they’re not sitting next to people and absorbing things?

Matt Alder:

And if we don’t let go of that kind of old school, well, the only possible solution to this is to get everyone in the office all the time. I don’t think we’ll come up with… It’s going to prevent us from coming up with some of the innovative solutions to the new ways of working that we need to.

Luis:

So talking about new ways of working, you do have a podcast, right? The Recruiting Future Podcast. And I want to specifically talk to you a bit about recruiting. How has the new remote norm impacted recruiting and shifted maybe your recruiting practice?

Matt Alder:

It’s been very interesting. Obviously the biggest change is the mass instant adoption of video interviewing. So video interviewing had actually been around for probably the best part of 10 years and had been adopted in certain sectors by certain companies, but there was a lot of kind of holdouts, and this is not how we do things, and we absolutely have to be face to face for every part of the recruitment process and whole industries that just said it wouldn’t work for them.

Matt Alder:

So I’ve always been a kind of a great advocate of technology and recruiting and how it changes and how it quite rightly should change the way that recruiting works. Because there’s so many traditional practices in recruiting that aren’t delivering what we need in the modern workplace. So it’s fascinating to see everyone forced to adopt video interviewing. But what it meant was is recruitment, there was no pause in recruitment, recruitment was up and running again day one of lockdown because people had the technology and the precedent to switch to video interviewing.

Matt Alder:

And I had a really interesting conversation on my podcast with the HR director of a kind of very traditional law firm. And he said that for as long as he could remember, all the partners were just rejecting the very idea of video interviewing because lawyers don’t use video. And then you suddenly found that actually that was the only way that they could do their jobs. And they suddenly found the benefits of video interviewing.

Matt Alder:

And I think that the interesting thing is even perhaps with industries or companies that are taking people back to the office for a large proportion of the time, this video interviewing element is still being kept because of the enormous advantages of it. Now very much in the early stages of the recruitment process, some companies use it all the way through, particularly obviously companies that are recruiting people who are going to be remote, but what it does is it just it’s much better for the candidate. They don’t have to take a day off work or travel somewhere, or effectively waste a half a day or a whole day for an hour’s chat or even half an hour of chat.

Matt Alder:

And it’s also great for the hiring managers and the recruiters, because it’s much easier for them to schedule in time. There’s a whole industry has grown up around interview intelligence. So actually, because the interviews are now all recorded, there’s technologies to kind of analyze those recordings to look things like bias and consistency and things that just wouldn’t have been able to happen with sort of traditional face to face interviews and also using that data to train people to be better at interviewing. So on that interviewing side, it’s been brilliant because it’s really accelerated an evolution that was already happening. And I don’t know off the top of my head, or certainly know one I’ve spoke to on the podcast, I don’t know a company that’s completely abandoning video and going back to the very traditional way of doing things.

Luis:

What was the major realization? What was that light bulb moment that people started having once they started taking video interviews, doing video interviews?

Matt Alder:

I think it was that sense of, do you know what is so much easier, particularly things like panel interviews. If you have four people on a panel interviewing a candidate, getting those four people aligned in the same office, in the same building at the same time, very, very difficult. So I think there’s obviously huge benefits and huge advantages, but I think the core driving thing was that sense of speed and convenience and quality of experience.

Matt Alder:

And also that’s becoming incredibly important as we’re coming out of the pandemic. If we are, I mean, you’ve had COVID I had COVID a few weeks ago. So in some ways it seems crazy to say, we are late adopters when it comes to that kind of thing. But obviously coming out of restrictions and things like that with all of the skill shortages that are happening around the world, this Great Resignation where lots of people are leaving their jobs, companies are really struggling to recruit people. So they need to move really, really quickly to get the talent that they need and having a virtual online recruitment process enables that. But then also there’s the other side of it, which is they’re able to tap into remote talent pools and people who haven’t been able to work with them in the past because of location.

Luis:

That makes sense. So I actually have a question. I don’t know if you’re aware of this. Well, of course, I have a question, I’m interviewing, this as a podcast, but I have a specific question that has been noodling around in my mind for a while. And it just so happens that I’m lucky enough to have you on the podcast today. So I guess you’re going to be the victim of that question, which is, I’ve been seeing that a lot of companies are popping up and software as a service companies have been popping up and getting a decent amount of funding, for basically employing people on other companies behalf, the employer of records, right? That’s actually something we do as at DistantJob as well.

Luis:

But the companies that I’m seeing pop up specifically, they do the whole business model around this. They do the payments, the contracts, the employer on record, et cetera. They do everything except what seems to me the hardest bit, which is finding the people. I mean, I analyze remote companies for a living, right? So I’m very aware of what the industry is doing. And specifically, I was expecting to see a lot more people jump into the international recruitment thing, because it’s certainly a need, but I’m seeing all of these companies, they’re instead doing something that’s a bit more HR saying, no, no, no, you find the people that you need worldwide. And then we’ll help you with all the legalities, with all the contracts, with the payments, et cetera.

Luis:

You probably know remote.com, right? You’ve probably heard of them, they’re very popular. They used to do recruiting. It used to be something very obvious in their website and they kind of seem to have scaled back from that. And now they’re just, oh, we’ll help you pay and retain the employees and all of that. And I’m wondering why, it doesn’t make sense to me, right? Why are you not doing your recruitment bit now that people… Well, a large amount of companies finally see that, hey, it’s actually okay to hire a remote, to hire a worldwide.

Matt Alder:

I mean, it’s a good question. I don’t know. I can’t give you the precise answer because I don’t work at any of those companies, but what I can say is it’s probably around the sense of opportunity because the biggest issue that we’re seeing with remote working, particularly remote working across other countries is the legal compliance tax issue. And I think that certainly over the last 18 months, a lot of companies have seen that as an opportunity to build out that platform, to help companies employ people from other countries, but also help to companies who have people who are moving to other countries or kind of shifting.

Matt Alder:

So I think some of it might be around that’s where there’s a big opportunity right now. I think the other factor is recruiting is very hard right now. So I suspect there’s something around opportunity and difficulty and specialism. If you’re going to recruit, you need recruiters, recruiters are difficult to recruit at the moment. So it may just be the circumstances and that’s where the opportunity is building out that kind of global infrastructure of compliance and tax and legal stuff, that is a big post-pandemic opportunity.

Luis:

I’m just thinking that three years ago, right. Three years ago, these days. It’s like 10 years passed since 2020. It’s like it’s been a decade since 2020, but three years ago, I was having a hard time convincing people. The main objection was, I don’t want people to work from home. Why should I hire someone in Portugal and in South Africa if my company is in UK, why should I hire someone in New York? That used to be the objection, right. I don’t want to hire people outside of the office.

Luis:

Now that objection disappeared. It just seems that if that objection has disappeared, there really is a lot more need for a good global recruitment company or for many global recruitment companies, that need seems to be there. And I don’t know. I actually disagree that the hard part is the payment and the contract and all of that. I’m not saying that those things are easy, but I do think that finding great people is still harder.

Matt Alder:

No, that’s what I said. I said the recruitment is the hardest part. The other bit is the easy bit, but then that’s maybe where the big opportunity is to grow quickly. I agree with you. I think that what we will see is a huge realignment, more companies popping up. I think this is definitely a need. I think maybe what’s happened is it’s just so difficult to recruit people at the moment. So many things going on, maybe those organizations haven’t kind of fully formed yet. I mean, there are RPO organizations and job boards and things filling that space. And I’m sure there will be full service companies doing it as well. But I think you’re right in terms of spotting it as an opportunity.

Luis:

Well, in any case. So we’ve gone through the whole video thing and et cetera, I want to talk a bit about your books. So your first book was Exceptional Talent, correct?

Matt Alder:

Yep. That’s right.

Luis:

And now you’ve released Digital Talent.

Matt Alder:

Yep. The sequel.

Luis:

The sequel. So I’m hoping that the digital is exceptional as well. I think that’s… So why the sequel?

Matt Alder:

So we wrote Exceptional Talent. So I co-authored both books. I think, as I mentioned at the beginning, remotely. We wrote Exceptional Talent four or five years ago, I can’t even remember, I think it’s five years ago now. And it was all about what companies can do to find exceptional talent. It was a lot about how they need to join up their candidate experience, their employee experience, and actually think of the journey that people take through an organization and how you can actually make that brilliant and then use that as a platform to get exceptional talent to your business.

Matt Alder:

We wrote Digital Talent really because things have moved on so quickly. So a lot of it came from the issue around… So we started, we planned it out before the pandemic, and it was an update on Exceptional Talent, but also with the added twist of looking specifically at digital skills. So we talked generically about having exceptional talent and skills in your business, but what about digital skills? What skills do maybe traditional companies need to help transform their business for their digital age?

Matt Alder:

At the same time, a lot of the HR and recruiting practices and systems had become more technology driven. And that was the premise for the book. And then the pandemic happened, everything kind of accelerated again. And we rewrote most of the book coming out of the pandemic, looking at what’s going on now. How has HR and recruiting become more digital? What are the opportunities that technology give, but also, what’s happening about digital skills and actually digital skills are even more important now because every industry is suddenly being disrupted or digitally transformed. So during the pandemic, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, the kind of places that were probably last, at theaters in particular, last on the list for digital transformation have suddenly had to find those skills and things within their business.

Matt Alder:

So a real kind of acute need for digital skills. So it’s written about how companies can attract, retain, develop digital skills within their business. But obviously it’s a background to that, it covers a huge amount about recruiting technology, HR technology, and also the future of work. Everyone needs to talk about the future of work as being remote working. And it’s like, well, what’s the future, future of work now that we’ve got to that bit.

Luis:

So digital skills, give us an example. What’s the most salient? What was the aha moment when you felt, oh, this is something that’s going to be important moving forward? What was the first digital skill you identified that led you to go that route?

Matt Alder:

To be honest with you, the origins of the book actually go back to my time, were running a digital team where I was trying to… Technology was evolving very, very quickly and we needed to grow out a digital team of a hundred people in about six months and the mix of things that we had to do to do that, we had to hire people in, that was expensive and difficult. We had to develop people, we had to do all the kind of things that we’re talking about in the book. That really sort of was really interesting to me in terms of what we… And we took on graduates and all kinds of things to solve this problem.

Matt Alder:

And it just struck me that it’s becoming even more intense for organizations. So whether it’s, I don’t know, cyber security or data science or whatever that might be, or just general skills within the population of a company that’s moving to be more digital. It’s an issue for everyone. And you can identify specific digital skills, but it’s kind of more of a movement towards the more digital business world that we work in. And how do you make sure that there is a supply of the people with the right digital skills coming through, and how do you re-skill the people who’ve been at your business a long time whose jobs have changed because you’ve introduced this AI and how do their careers develop from there?

Matt Alder:

So it’s a real inflection point in terms of skills in business at the moment, because it’s kind of fundamentally changing. There’s not enough supply of people with digital skills to tap into. And obviously there’s a lot of people whose jobs are being changed by technology. And it’s like, how do you keep your company up to date?

Matt Alder:

And I suppose in an interesting example I was talking to, I had a head of time acquisition for big Indian corporation that I was talking to. And he was talking about recruiting graduates in India. And the absolute, how so important it was that they really worked on how they retained people and really made sure people wanted to stay in their business for a reasonable amount of time. And it was a technology company, because of the skills they need developed so quickly, they have to develop the people that they employ. They’re obviously investing a lot of time in terms of upskilling people and making sure they can do the job. And they obviously want those people to stay to get the most out of that investment. So it was an interesting bit around retention there as well.

Luis:

Interesting. So when you talk about digital skills, one example that comes to my mind, let me know if I’m off by a lot or not, but I’ve always been amazed at the beneficial impact in my career, in anything that I’ve tried to do, of being just good at Googling stuff. This sounds very weird. Some people might find it funny, but what I found is that even among very educated people, a lot of people aren’t great at writing search queries and as doing something as apparently obvious as using more than the basic functions of a search engine. I just lost count of the number of times that I’ve been complimented on my intelligence, just because I could actually look up stuff on Google properly.

Luis:

So I do think that we are kind of becoming cyborgs, right? When you see those old futuristic movies, where you can access the internet with your brain, and you have a prosthetic limb that can play music, something like that. We are a more of a stodge version of that because the thing isn’t actually attached to our body, but we’re always holding it, or in some cases it’s around our wrist.

Luis:

So it does feel that we, as humans, are still trying to catch up a bit to that integration in the internet and thinking about how to properly tap into those things that surround us. Is not something that people have consciously done, right. There’s not a lot of people that have sat in front of the computer and figured out, okay, I have this tool that everyone has access to, that’s Google, that’s Twitter, that’s Facebook, that’s LinkedIn. How do I really use this to a professional level?

Matt Alder:

I think that’s absolutely spot on in terms of the digital skills that we’re talking about. There are obvious things like Python programming, data science, cyber security, whatever it is, but it’s exactly that kind of thing, that kind of mindset, that ability to use digital tools in a strategic way to their full potential. The organizations really need to think about. And I think that’s really interesting about information as well, because I’ve been fascinated by things like building a second brain and Roam Research and all the things that are kind of out there to help you categorize the information that you find, and actually being able to do that and use those tools was critical in terms of writing the book, because the book is very research based, and obviously it has opinion and interviews and stuff like that, but it’s very much based on lots of different sources and lots of different things.

Matt Alder:

And actually, it becomes more than the human brain and a traditional note system can manage. So you need something that’s more sophisticated to be able to deal and categorize and be able to retrieve the information that you need. And I think it’s also, it’s very much that humans evolve very slowly and technology evolves very quickly. And it’s that kind of bridge between the two, which is what lots of organizations are trying to do with AI to help provide a human friendly interface to find the right information. But I mean, it’s absolutely fascinating.

Luis:

So I want to bring together a bunch of things that we’ve talked about, right? You just talked about writing and I want to tie that with the digital skills and also with the interviewing, because what I found is that obviously when I’m interviewing for a position, I always like to do video. I think that it’s a prerequisite because it’s nice to just see. I mean, when you send me an email earlier today asking if this was an audio or video podcast and I answered you, okay, it’s an audio only podcast, but I do like video recording for our benefit. And there’s a reason for that.

Luis:

But what I notice is that when I’m working with someone remotely, 90% let’s say, maybe even a little bit more of the communication happens in text. So it’s actually the way they write that’s going to make or break the deal for me. I pay a lot of attention to that, to the writing during the recruitment process. Do you share that sense of how important writing is, and when you’re advising someone on how to recruit properly, what’s your thought about the writing quality of the person?

Matt Alder:

I mean, it is a tricky question because in terms of kind of assessment of skills and all that sort of thing, there are so many schools of thought out there that’s, I mean, different ways of doing it. And it really depends on the job. And if you need a job where you are communicating in text and you need to write well, then obviously that is a key kind of attribute and skill and component of the job. I think that we’re at a very interesting time when it comes to how we assess whether people are going to be great at a job. So there still is a massive reliance on CVs and interviews and talking about people’s past experience as some kind of indication as to whether they’re going to do well in our company, which is scientifically a little bit flawed.

Matt Alder:

Some companies are working more on a skill basis. It’s like, what skills does this person actually have regardless of where they’ve worked and also potential comes into it as well. Have they got the potential that we could train them to kind of do this? So recruitment is at a very, very interesting time because there’s a huge amount of debate about what to take forward, what science is actually valid, what science has been debunked and assessment technology is evolving all the time and people are trying to find new ways of assessing people.

Matt Alder:

So on my podcast, I’ve spoken to neuroscientists and psychologists, all of whom have a slightly different scientific take on human potential. So I think that this really is the debate of the next five years in terms of how do we understand whether someone is right for, not right, that’s the wrong thing to say, whether someone has the skills and potential that we need to thrive in our business or to work with on a freelance basis or whatever. So there isn’t an easy answer to it because I think it’s very much the debate at the moment.

Luis:

Well, but my point, maybe it’s a broader point, is that remote work adds an extra dimension, an extra layer to that, right. I mean, not arguing about the traditional vetting and figuring out, and as you say, there’s a lot of open science there on how to figure out if the person is the best fit for that specific position. But then I’m adding the layer of remote work, which says that maybe the person has the perfect skills, maybe the person is the perfect fit for that specific position, but do they also have the additional skills that enable them to do it properly remotely? And that’s where I think clarity of written language falls into the picture, right?

Matt Alder:

Absolutely. And I think what you said there is, does the person have the right skills to do this role? If it’s a remote job and they’re not very good at communicating in a remote environment, they don’t have the right skills to do the job. I think it’s a core part of it. If you’re going to work remotely, are you comfortable working asynchronously? Are you comfortably randomly working in text? Are you comfortable with being judged on what you deliver rather than the hours that you work? I think there’s a huge dimension to it and I think you’re very right to call it out and emphasize it because I’m not sure how many companies are actually considering that when they’re hiring people. Even if they’re making a big thing about, we’re going to be a hybrid business or we’re a remote business, what kind of skillsets or potential skillsets do you need to do that effectively?

Luis:

I’ve actually, coming off of my week of COVID, I was scanning my remote influencers network and I saw that I’m starting to detect some people saying the future is hybrid and I’m like, what? When did this start? Do you have any thoughts about that? Because from your story, you started in a hybrid situation and you gave us a story of a very interesting challenge in that situation of needing to have the desk, right. I mean, my first clients and the people… When we started at DistantJob, all our clients were hybrid. So I do have some respect for that model, but I’m increasingly feeling that it’s a bit of a crutch, right? That it’s something that you do because you can’t change all at once, but it’s definitely the least optimal way of working remotely. What are your thoughts on that coming as someone who clearly started hybridly?

Matt Alder:

I think my thoughts on it are we are in the great experiment at the moment. So I think companies have been competently putting out their policies about we’re all going back to the office, or we’re all going to be hybrid, or we’re all going to be remote. No one knows how it’s going to work out. And I suspect that a lot of those company policies will change over the next two years as reality fits in. I think, as an experiment, we’ve never really been in this position before where every single company is trying to balance office and remote and how does that work. I think that everyone I talked to who is a hundred percent remote or in the kind of remote work community, hybrid is this ridiculous notion that can never work.

Matt Alder:

I completely get the thinking there because what you are doing in the worst case is you are developing a compromise that works for no one. And I think that is what lots of companies need to be careful about. That said, I’m interested to see how companies can make it work. And I think it depends on the industry, the makeup of the company, how they do it. And that’s where I think we’re going to see the experimentation. And I think we’ll know more in a couple of years, but it sure is, it’s absolutely not an HR person sitting there buying a policy that’s signed off by the CEO. And that’s what everyone’s going to do. That will not stand up to a confrontation with reality, basically. So I think, let’s see what happens. I kind of get both sides of the argument. I can see some companies are doing a good job at trying to balance remote and in office work, some companies aren’t, let’s see what happens.

Luis:

All right. So we’ve been going for almost one hour now. So I want to be respectful of your time. I’d like to wind down with some rapid fire questions. The questions are rapid fire, but the answers don’t need to be, so please expand as much as you’d like. You talked a bit before about your second brain, your Roam Research situation. I was wondering, what does your virtual office look like? What are the apps, the tabs that you have open every day in the morning when you sit to do what your productivity is going to be for the day?

Matt Alder:

That’s a great question. I use Roam Research for researching longer writing and books and things like that. It’s a great place to… What I love about it is the way that it can combine with things like your Kindle. So you can highlight things that you’re reading and get them imported and sorted into that. So that was a great tool for writing the book. Do I use it every day? No, I think I’d use it for specific work flow, specific kind of longer research projects.

Matt Alder:

My favorite app at the moment is one called WorkFlowy. I don’t know if you’ve come across it. And it’s just a great way of sorting information and basically, it’s effectively a long list with lots of bullet points, but its simplicity is fantastic in terms of just sorting and keeping lots of day to day information, if that makes sense, I’m a big fan of that.

Matt Alder:

I use Ulysses as my writing app and is just a great way of, I really like the functionality the way it works across devices, that kind of thing. And I use Drafts as my kind of notebook of just writing things down. So I’ll write all my podcast questions in Drafts because once podcast is published, I’m not going to come back and look at them, so I don’t need to sort them. So they’re the kind of main apps that I use, obviously Zoom is my preferred, I prefer Zoom to Teams and everything else. That’s the kind of main stuff.

Luis:

I don’t think that Ulysses gets enough love, right. People tend to associate it as an app for writers only, for book or blog post writers. But I think that it does a great job at managing any snippet of text that you care about.

Matt Alder:

Definitely. And it’s kind of, lots of people use things like Scrivener for writing and I just find Ulysses easier. And the fact that it just works across every single device that I use is incredibly… I’ve got two computers and two iPads, so it’s great to be able to pick something up in any context and immediately have everything there.

Luis:

Scrivener, it looks fancier, but it’s actually, but it’s also harder to use and definitely this sync isn’t… I’m still amazed that in so many years, they haven’t figured out a more workable solution for sync than they have.

Matt Alder:

Exactly. And then sync is terrifying to get wrong because you’re sitting on a plane, you write a thousand words of brilliance on your iPad or your phone.

Luis:

It’s always the ones you lose it, it’s the brilliant one.

Matt Alder:

And then it just disappears into the sync EFA. You can’t find it. And that is just, for a writer, that is terrifying.

Luis:

I feel you. So let’s say that you have… Well now I have to adjust for inflation. So let’s say that you have $150 to give something to everyone working with you and the rules are, you can’t give cash or a cash equivalent like a gift card and you need to buy in both. So you need to give the same thing to everyone, but it could be anything could be an experience, an app, physical tool, whatever. So what are you going to give everyone working with you?

Matt Alder:

A decent microphone.

Luis:

Any favorite and any specific one in mind?

Matt Alder:

No, I don’t think, there are lots of really good ones around that price point. So it’s something, a Yeti or something, something similar to that. And I think people kind of think about video more than they think about audio, which is why I’d buy everyone on a microphone.

Luis:

Well. So what about for yourself? What is the purchase that you’ve made in the last, let’s say six months that really impacted the quality of your work, work life balance, whatever metric you’d like to talk about?

Matt Alder:

That is a good question, but I can’t think of an immediate answer to. I think from a very specific podcasting point of view, it’s the headphones that I’ve got. So I’ve got the new road podcaster headphones, and they are amazing. So that, from a podcast workflow, has been a game changer for me.

Luis:

What’s the brand?

Matt Alder:

Rode.

Luis:

Rode.

Matt Alder:

R-O-D-E. Australian company. They make microphones and lots of podcasting equipment, but they’re great.

Luis:

Nice. Maybe I’ll check them off. All right. So let’s talk a bit about books for a moment. Apart from your own books, what is the book that you’ve gifted the most?

Matt Alder:

What is the book that I’ve gifted the most? Good question. Let me think about that. It is my own book, so that’s fantastic. That’s the answer. Absolutely. There is a, let me see what this book is called, hang on. There is a great book.

Luis:

I always tell people that the best thing about writing a book is that you have the Christmas present for that year.

Matt Alder:

Exactly. There is a brilliant book called The End of Jobs by a guy called Jeff Wald that I have recommended to lots of people and it was written pre pandemic, but that doesn’t matter. And it’s all about the future of careers and jobs and what work will look like and how companies will hire people. And it was just brilliant book.

Luis:

Nice. The End of Jobs.

Matt Alder:

The End of Jobs.

Luis:

We’ll be sure to add that in the show notes. I’m curious for reading it as well. So final question. This one has a bit of a longer setup, so please bear with me. Let’s say that we’re in a situation where everyone… Well, where we can gather a large amount of people safely for dinner, again. So you are hosting a dinner. The round table is going to be about the future of work and in attendance are people from the top tech companies from all over the world. All the decision makers are going to be there. And the twist is that the dinner happens in a Chinese restaurant. So you, as the host, get to pick the message that comes inside the fortune cookie, what is that message?

Matt Alder:

The message is stay curious.

Luis:

Stay curious. That sounds great.

Matt Alder:

Because I think that is the best possible mindset for the future of work.

Luis:

It’s very enjoyable as well. I mean, I guess we know that because that’s the reason I run a podcast and I’m going to guess, that’s the reason you run a podcast as well.

Matt Alder:

100%. Absolutely. I want to hear people’s stories.

Luis:

All right. So Matt, it was an absolute pleasure having you here. Please, how can the listeners continue the conversation with you, reach out to you and learn what you’re up to and what you can provide for them?

Matt Alder:

Absolutely. So the best ways to connect to me, first of all, you can find my podcast by searching for Recruiting Future in your podcast channels, or there is a website, recruitingfuture.com.

Luis:

We’ll link to that.

Matt Alder:

I am very active on LinkedIn. I’m very easy to find on LinkedIn, just search for Matt Alder. I’m also on Twitter @mattalder and they’re the best places to find me.

Luis:

All right. We’ll have all of those in the show notes. Matt, it was an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for being a guest on The DistantJob Podcast. I loved having you.

Matt Alder:

Thank you for having me and thank you for the great questions.

Luis:

It was my pleasure. See you around and see you around ladies and gentlemen. See you next week on the next episode of The DistantJob Podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. And so we close another episode of The DistantJob Podcast. And if you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That will be great. It’s how we reach more listeners, and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convinced to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me, and I hope they’re a joy for you to listen to as well. You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners.

Luis:

Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcast. Click on your favorite episode than any episode, really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up, so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form.

Luis:

And, of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country, look around the whole world, because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. And to help you with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who you need, and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate, 40% faster than the industry standard. And with that, I bid you adieu. See you next week on the next episode, The DistantJob Podcast.

While working remotely was a mystery for many before the pandemic, now it has become a new norm. Furthermore, companies have realized that by hiring remotely, they can hire talented employees that, otherwise, they wouldn’t have access to.

During this podcast episode, Matt Alder shares why companies need to transform their recruitment strategies and adapt them to the new – remote – reality. He also makes emphasis on the importance of taking into account digital skills.

Highlights:

  • Remote work before vs. now
  • The importance of getting rid of the old-school work mentality when embracing remote work
  • How has remote work transformed recruiting
  • Insights about video interviews
  • Useful tips to hire remote employees
  • The challenges of recruiting remote employees
  • Why digital skills can’t be underestimated when evaluating candidates

Book Recommendations:

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up every Monday!

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