What happened at ATC2018?

The robot apocalypse did not happen. Nope. No recruiter blood was shed and there was no outpouring of grievance.
Instead, ATC2018 served up some deep insights and great conversations on artificial intelligence (A.I.) in Talent Acquisition (TA) that left everyone in no doubt that there is still so much for a recruiter to do.
Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways from the conference.

A.I. is coming and you can’t stop it, but it is not a bad thing!

Keynote speaker Rob McIntosh debunking the myths of A.I. at ATC2018.

Yes, it is. There are hundreds if not thousands of recruiting tools currently in the market claiming A.I. capability. 

Keynote speaker Rob McIntosh spoke about early A.I. definition and urged people not to get too caught up on terminology and instead to focus on “does this technology solve my problem?’”

He suggested we ask for evidence and run our own pilot experiments. The big opportunity however is to look at adding value to the ‘space that A.I. creates’ meaning that if the repetitive lower value tasks are automated – what can you do with that time to add significant value to your function?

Rob believes that today’s candidates expect consumer-type (immediate, personalised and high service) interactions and TA professionals will need to work alongside A.I. to provide that.   

“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us”

Crowd favourite Dr Jason Fox wowed the audience with his unique take on modern work culture and he calls for a rethink in the way we work.

Keynote speaker Dr Jason Fox speaking at ATC2018.

Jason urged us to step outside of our relentless ‘busywork’ that we all get caught up in and to resist the ‘Curse Of Efficiency’ which gets in the way of meaningful progress. 

Change is now the new normal so proven formulas can’t guarantee enduring relevance. With the future being both complex and ambiguous, he challenged us to not to get caught up in the ‘Delusion of Progress’ where we are too busy ticking boxes towards meaningless goals that we become too busy for curiosity, exploration and slow thinking. 

He also asked us to question what is informing and influencing our thinking, to challenge our defaults and open our minds to path that may lead us to enduring relevance. Powerful stuff.

Get rid of “culture fit” and focus on “culture add”

“Culture fit” is another way of making everything look the same and if you want to add diversity to your team, you have to “culture add” – i.e. adding the bits that you don’t have.

Head of diversity and belonging at Atlassian, Aubrey Blanche, speaking at ATC2018.

What a way to put a new pair of lens onto the oft well-worn discussion on diversity from Aubrey Blanche, global head of diversity and belonging at Atlassian.
Aubrey advised TA leaders to look deeper and be aware of “invisible and layered identities” when trying to diversify their workforces. The use of inclusive, strong equal opportunity language in your job ads will help to attract more qualified, diverse candidates. Textio is a good tool for that.
Statistics and data also played a big role in informing Aubrey’s diversity strategy at Atlassian and she urged everyone to measure diversity at team levels, instead of the overall company.
“You could hire 20 percent more women at your company than the year before but if the new hires are all a part of the marketing department, the rest of your teams aren’t going to see the benefits of diversity,” she said.
These insights will help you gauge how your organisation is doing in comparison to others and also help you decide which underrepresented populations to target, thereby increasing engagement levels and, ultimately, enhances your retention rates.

“Hiring is by far the most important thing that companies do”

LiveHire co-founder Antonluigi (Gigi) Gozzi’s presentation was a timely reminder to everyone on the importance hiring the right people. And if A.I. is going to help you achieve that, TA professionals will need to learn to manage and embrace it.

LiveHire co-founder Antonluigi (Gigi) Gozzi speaking at the ATC2018.

However, Gigi also revealed the lesser side of A.I. and highlighted the fact that machines are only as smart as you train them.
Without the right guidance, A.I. can build up an understanding that’s too narrowly focused. Since it learns from feedback on its suggestions, this can create a feedback loop that causes the program to become ever more narrowly focused.
This could result in you missing out on great candidates that don’t fit the usual mold, or worse, gets you into an ethical and legal conundrum where candidates are rejected because of their ethnicity, gender, location, age, etc.

“Buy-in is not actually endorsement”

Speaker Raquel Lemon from Vicinity Centres at ATC2018.

Buy-in is an overused term to describe the agreement of an idea and what you think you need to get a project off the ground, but what you actually need is endorsement according to Raquel Lemon, TA manager at Vicinity Centres.
Raquel shared her personal journey of discovery as she got to terms with running a TA team in an organisation in the midst of a digital transformation.
Her lessons include:

  • Knowing and respecting the journey the rest of the team had already been on and understand the circumstances they had been through
  • Be absolutely clear on what the strategic business objectives of your business are and align your Talent initiatives with it. And find a champion who understands and supports you
  • You can’t do it on your own. You need a team and you need to learn how to relinquish control and trust your colleagues.
  • If you need to make changes to your team, do so quickly and compassionately.
  • It’s tempting to try and fix everything immediately but get the basics right. Build the right foundations to support the business and the results will follow.

The recruiter of the future

What skills and attributes does the recruiter of the future need in order to be successful? We crowdsourced the answers here are the top six:

  1. Technical savvy
  2. Relationship management
  3. Innovation/creativity
  4. Influencing
  5. Emotional intelligence
  6. Strategic/strategy

What do you think? Did we miss anything? Comment below to let us know!

Hiretual wins the 2018 Innovation Lab competition

From one winner to another – 2017 Innovation Lab winner Weploy was present to hand over the award to this year’s winner – Hiretual!

2017 winner Weploy presenting the trophy to this year’s Innovation Lab competition winner, Hiretual.

500 Talent leaders were present to witness this moment in which they all had a hand in creating. After reviewing the Talent technologies that were on show, they were each given $10k (virtual currency of course ;)) to invest in the technologies of their choice, real time.
Hiretual eventually came up tops, with their representative Andy Riabokin wowing the audience with a solid demonstration of the A.I.-powered sourcing tool and what it can do to help Talent leaders unearth gems in their Talent markets.
Following closely behind is Vervoe, an intelligent hiring platform that is designed to let Talent leaders know exactly how to identify the best candidate for a role through real-world tests.
Be sure to check out the eight other fantastic Talent technologies who participated in the competition too: Enboarder, Zimpla, Sourcr, Recstra, BenchOn, ColleagoGooroo, The Career Conversation.

Fearless Forecast

Talent Futurist Kevin Wheeler speaking at ATC2018.

The always wonderful Kevin Wheeler gave us his annual predictions for the coming year and he reckons:

  • Human-Machine Work Teams will grow;
  • Blockchain (or something similar) will become mainstream;
  • Recruiting will become more and more a platform rather than a function;
  • Recruitment leaders will become engagement coordinators, talent advisors & platform champions;
  • Data and analytics will continue to grow in importance.

Did we miss anything that you feel should definitely be included in this list? Comment below to let us know! 

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