The candidate is back in the spotlight – takeaways from ATC2019

If you attended #ATC2019 a few weeks ago than you probably left with your head spinning. Countless key note speakers, numerous breakout sessions, workshops, great demonstrations from vendors and sponsors and plenty of networking.
Looking back and reflecting, I am really quite surprised at the prominence of “candidate experience” and how it was a common thread or theme with many of the presenters, and especially those that took to the main stage.
After the rise of EVP (employee value proposition), candidate experience seemed to be a real leading topic 3-4 years ago for Talent Acquisition teams, only to be replaced in more recent years by AI and automation.
But at the conference it was very clear that TA teams are returning to focusing on candidate experience (or need to be). “It’s the golden age to be a candidate” said Aaron McEwan from Gartner.
In the most recent Melbourne Recruitment MeetUp, there were over 80 recruiters (biggest turn out so far) attend a session on how to “ramp up your candidate experience and attract top Talent”.
A big part of the challenge is being able to explain what the job is like to candidates. “The vast majority of PD’s tell you nothing about the job”, said Chris Havrilla from Deloitte.
We all know she is right. That problem is really growing though, because according to McEwan, candidates “care more about the job and what it will be like than about the company.” How can we truly explain what a job will be like to a candidate? No one has done that well yet.
Generation Z are now entering the workforce and their presence will grow year on year. “Workplaces need to cater what Gen Z are looking for now”, said Myki Slonim from VICE.
Gen Z want to know what the job will be doing and what impact it will have, up front. “Mental health is the #1 value for Gen Z” said Slonim. This societal challenge now extends to Talent teams and their messaging to potential employees.
Candidates are doing their research, and McEwan highlighted that they have “more information at their fingertips than ever before”. And more choice too. However he went on to say we can only control 20 percent of the information that a candidate gets about an organisation.
Amongst this golden age to be a candidate, the number of rejected candidates has increased by 46 percent from 2008 to 2018.
Dr Michael Haywood from LiveHire really built on this point, humorously suggesting the recruitment acronym ATS (Applicant Tracking System) should be changed to ARS (Application Rejection System), because all they do is reject candidates.
With four in five candidates who make an application saying they would not reapply, there is still plenty of work for internal talent teams to do.
Leaving the conference, in some ways it was comforting that even with the backdrop of AI, automation and technology some things never change.
The candidate is always at the centre of what recruiters do, and long may it be that way.

We are currently planning ATC2020 and we would love to see you there. Register your interest here and be the first to hear about the conference when the details become available!

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