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Better focus, better workflow

Meet the paperless recruiter.

7 min read

Step into the offices of MeyerHaugen, a successful, medium-sized recruitment agency in Oslo, and you’ll see no papers cluttering the desks and no noisy printers obstructing the corridors. When Sverre Haugen, the agency’s co-founder and partner, decided to give all his employees paper tablets from reMarkable for Christmas, he didn’t expect the influence on daily operations to be so profound.

Sverre Haugen, partner in MeyerHaugen recruitment agency.

“When we moved into new offices a few months later, we could never quite decide where the printer should go. In the end, we postponed buying one, to see if we could make do with just the reMarkable tablets. We still haven’t bought a printer, and we don’t miss having one at all,” he says.

He explains that there was simply no need for one. They could now read and annotate documents using their reMarkable, without needing to print anything at all.

All employees at MeyerHaugen use a reMarkable and the company is a 100% paperless.

The influence of digital paper at MeyerHaugen, however, runs deeper than the absence of printers and stacks of scattered paper. Using reMarkable’s paper tablets, the recruiters and headhunters of MeyerHaugen have managed to create a more focused, efficient, and emphatic work environment. Perhaps the best place to look for an example of this focus in action, is Haugen himself.

Laser focus

When it comes to note-taking, Haugen prefers to steer away from multipurpose devices or screens with blue light.

“I think and work a lot better with a piece of paper in front of me. I like organizing my thoughts by handwriting, and when I’m focusing, I don’t want to deal with distractions and notifications,” he says.

In a job that revolves around forming connections with people, he’s acutely aware of the impact screens can have on the way we interact.

“Recruiting is all about human relations — about connecting with people. There’s a central element of emotional contact here. A screen, on a computer or a tablet, affects the dynamics of people when they meet,” says Haugen.

He’s always done most of his deep thinking aided by handwriting tools, but often ran into the classic problems inherent in using paper. The notebooks piled up and the information spread out, making it harder to organize and navigate through.

“With reMarkable I love that I can always have all my notes with me. By using a good folder structure, it’s easy to find my notes. When I’m going to meet a client, for instance, it takes me five seconds to locate my notes from our last meetings,” he says.

An improved workflow also means he no longer needs to print resumés to provide feedback to clients.

“Now, I can just open the document on my tablet, jot down my remarks where relevant, and send the final version directly from here.”

The MeyerHaugen method

Agencies like MeyerHaugen have a business model based on finding the right executives, technical directors, and specialists, making the procedure more complex than the traditional recruitment methods most people are familiar with.

MeyerHaugen makes their own custom forms for their needs in the recruitment process.

“First, we screen the resumé and background of candidates. Then, we do a telephone screening of candidates, before we start doing interviews — we usually have three or four sit-downs with successful candidates. First just with us, and then together with the client. And along the way, we do personality inventories and check references,” Haugen explains.

The goal is to learn as much as possible about the candidate, which in practice boils down to taking, reviewing, and analyzing notes. Lots of notes. Scripts for the initial telephone conversations usually amount to two full pages, and the first interview script can have up to nine.

Fortunately, MeyerHaugen has invented a standardized candidate journal, with separate sections for each stage. Once uploaded to the reMarkable paper tablet, the recruiter fills in each section as they get to know the candidate — all in one living document.

“Everything we need to know about the candidate is here. Their contact information, notes from the interviews, results from the personality inventories, their salaries — we write everything down as we go through the process. It serves both as a notebook and a checklist for each stage,” he says.

Game master

Haugen’s colleagues have started taking their reMarkable paper tablets home with them as well. It’s not uncommon to see someone scribbling a shopping list before they leave the office, so they can read it from the app while in the supermarket.

Haugen looking over his notes.

Like millions of others around the world, Haugen happens to be a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, so while his colleagues are jotting down ‘to-do’ lists, Haugen often puts his reMarkable to more creative use.

“As a game master, I use it to take notes and keep track of significant developments in the game such as character skills, which treasures have been found, changes to landmarks, and geography, etc.,” he says.

Using the reMarkable paper tablet, Haugen has also drawn a detailed map of the fantasy landscape where their campaign plays out, adding layers, new points of interest, and remarks as needed while the game progresses.

Competitive edge

Given the way Haugen and his team have embraced their reMarkables, both at home and at work, it’s looking as if Haugen stumbled on a thoroughly successful Christmas gift. In the absence of paper, digital paper has exceeded all expectations, sharpening focus and improving day-to-day workflow at the office.

In a modern corporate environment that is being slowly swamped by distractions, jumbled workflow, and disorganization, MeyerHaugen has managed to find itself a competitive edge.

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