A Glasgow business owner says recruitment technology created by another city firm has helped him overcome staffing challenges through the pandemic.

Tom McDermott set up salad and coffee bar Sprigg in Glasgow’s Ingram Street 2018, and business was starting to take off when the country went into lockdown.

Like many business owners, he had to completely rethink his strategy, quickly pivoting towards deliveries and collections, and with it a need to bring in new staff and skills.

The businessman turned to video interviewing platform Willo, which allows potential job applicants to pre-record interview answers.

As restrictions eased, he had to double his staff as the shop reopened, again using Willo to interview large numbers of people safely and quickly. 

Now, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces restrictions will be lifted even further on August 9, he again turned to Willo to bring in more employees.

The Herald:

He said: “There are real staffing challenges, and we’ve had to think and rethink the way we do things a lot.

“Finding somebody with the right skills is the easy part, finding somebody with the right personality to fit into a team is more tricky and arguably more important. 

The Herald:

“Willo helps because you can get a feel for who somebody is before you meet them.

"As an employer, you can revisit interviews and be sure you want to progress. As an applicant you can ensure the best version of yourself is portrayed out with the unnatural interview environment

“It’s a very easy to use system, and in my experience has been more suited to front of house staff, but we’ve filled every type of position with it, and it has been excellent from a health and safety perspective too as it’s cut down on face-to-face contact."

Research carried out by trade association UK Hospitality this year revealed there is an estimated shortage of 188,000 workers across the industry. 

The surge in interest has had an impact on Willo too, with the business growing on average 30 per cent per month since December and revenues almost doubling in the first six months of the year.

The firm’s 12-strong team is also growing to help meet demand, with a further five employees set to join. 

Willo turned over £150,000 in its first year, and is on track for £1.9 million in year two. Founder Euan Cameron’s 2030 plan for the firm projects revenues to grow to £72m.

Mr Cameron said: “Hospitality has never found itself in this situation before, and employers need every advantage they can get as they seek to bring the right people on board. 

The Herald:

“We want to help people to apply for jobs on their terms, in the most flexible way possible, anywhere in the world. Goodbye, CV and application forms. 

“In our new remote working/work from anywhere world, the days of going into an office for a one hour interview are gone.

"Hundreds of our users – particularly in hospitality at present – are hiring people through Willo having never met them face-to-face."

“The team have been delighted with the feedback from the hospitality industry, and we will be working hard to ensure we deliver for them.”