Canonical |


Case studies

Supporting global recruitment during the pandemic

Canonical header


Digital & Technology
United Kingdom
Aptitude (GIA)
Behaviour (PPA)

The Challenge

Global software company Canonical needed to evolve its corporate business lifecycle into a more robust state that would support its next phase of growth and prepare it for creating an IPO. “We wanted to try and build a set of machinery that was very resilient that would be able to be able to operate in a way that we build to try remove as much bias from the process as we possibly could”, says People Director Iain Kendrick. 

Canonical is ‘remote first’, hiring talented candidates agnostic of their location in the world. As Iain describes, “Some companies struggle with their talent pipeline. We have the opposite problem, which is that we can hire for positions in 80-100 cities concurrently.” The firm therefore needed a quick, robust means of sifting through an abundance of candidates (around 14,000 a month). The solution had to be automated and integrate with their existing internal systems. 

Canonical challenge

The Solution

Canonical’s HR team synthesised 128 different processes into on a standardised operating model. With a small core team and departmental ‘Hiring Leads’, the new model was also partially decentralised. This meant that the candidate experience would remain essentially the same, whether they lived in China or the UK. Canonical began using Thomas’ Aptitude and Behaviour assessments to filter its global candidate pool. “I think it’s great that Thomas currently carries 26 different languages. Having 26 or 27 languages plus is fantastic for us”, says Kendrick.

Iain explains how Thomas assessments are used alongside a blind CV review, written assessments and interviews within Canonical’s new global recruitment function: “Because we have so many people applying for our positions, we use the Aptitude assessment to funnel these down in an effective and candidate-friendly way. We use the PPA as both a lead and lag indicator within our process to inform the interviews.” 

Canonical results

The Results

Iain continues: “We’ve deployed something like twenty thousand psychometric tests across the business and it’s meant that we’ve been able to scale from 500 people to around 750 through Covid, with a view that we’ll expand to something like a thousand next year. That’s why we selected to come on board with Thomas as a provider of choice.” 

Using Thomas assessments has supported Canonical in undertaking successful recruitment activity on a global scale. “We see a strong correlation between someone who is in an above average percentile of the GIA and performance at interview. It is a strong indicator that an individual has the competence to be able to move through the process”, says Iain. 

The assessments have also helped the firm to recruit diverse talent. “Lead indicators around things like diversity has actually been fairly positive in so much as professionalising and standardising our recruitment process has helped in attracting better top-end funnel and conversion in terms of diversity hiring”, Iain explains.

Unleash the power of people with Thomas