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The Remote Recruiter: Chris Fernyhough Chats Virtual Hiring with Sky Betting and Gaming's Clive Smart

about 2 years ago by Rebekah Lee

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The world of work has undoubtably changed, and we may be heading to a remote recruitment revolution.

As we adapt to ever-changing conditions and prepare for the future of work, our ‘Remote Recruiter’ series will report on the real time experiences of our candidates and clients to explore how they are managing, innovating and continuing to achieve their ambitions.

This week Bridge Director, Chris Fernyhough, spoke with Clive Smart, Head of Talent Acquisition, from Sky Betting and Gaming about SkyBet’s response to the Covid lockdown, virtual hiring and onboarding, maintaining a personal candidate experience and the benefits of remote working.

Chris: Most of us are several weeks into working from home on a full-time basis - what have been the main challenges you and the recruitment team have faced as it comes to terms with the lockdown measures?  

Clive:  As a recruitment team we did work from home 1 to 2 days a week prior to lockdown so we had the tech to support us already. Little things like creating a home office has really helped, plus we can have our office chair couriered to home for extra comfort. Daily stand ups are now virtual and we also have virtual coffees, so we still have the water cooler chat with each other.

Chris: What has changed in your interview assessments and on boarding processes in order to keep to current guidelines?  

Clive:  We have moved to a virtual hiring model and have successfully remotely on-boarded new starters since we moved to working from home. At Sky Betting and Gaming, we are very much about those personal interactions, so we are just moving over to a virtual world of Zoom and Microsoft Teams to chat to candidates and on-board new colleagues. For areas of the business that use assessments centres we are using the break rooms in Zoom as part of the candidate experience.

Chris: Have there been the perceived benefits or negatives from changing company policy around full remote working?

Clive:  All colleagues are working fully remotely from home and we have proved we can do it successfully. Personally, the obvious benefits of remote working like no commute, no delays on Northern Rail and not spending as much money on lunch and coffees are great. Seeing more of my own family and having tea with them is a nice benefit too. My negative benefit would be I used to cycle to work some days so do miss that part of my daily routine.

Chris:  Have candidates been ready for virtual recruitment and remote on-boarding?  

Clive:  We all own the technology to take part – who hasn’t been on a Zoom call recently? Plus, we are all more open to being seen on a video call than ever before, even our hiring managers too!

Chris has worked closely with Clive for many years, building an excellent relationship with their Talent Acquisition team. He’s partnered with the business through many different market climates to consult and add value whilst helping them find and place niche tech talent across many different teams (Data and Analytics, Software Engineering, DevOps, Architecture and Test).  

Clive and his teams’ innovative approach has ensured SkyBet have been able to maintain a highly personal candidate experience throughout the pandemic by utilising technology to effectively communicate, interview and onboard.

As restrictions start to ease, we predict that how we work and engage with our clients, employees and candidates will never return to ‘normal’. Instead, the recruitment industry will experience a step change, with remote recruitment and onboarding increasingly becoming the norm.

With greater utilisation of recruitment and business technology such as Webonboarding, Odro, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Slack, The Bridge have continued to effectively support many clients with their recruitment requirements. COVID-19 has given us the chance to explore the full potential of these tools and we will use this insight to inform how we support our candidates and clients going forward.

If you would like to know more about opportunities with Sky Betting and Gaming or find out more about how we can fulfil your recruitment requirements, please get in touch with Chris at