My ATC2018 discovery list. Have you decided yours?

When I initially saw the ATC2018 theme – Thriving with A.I: The new Talent skills you need – I was intrigued.
With the expectation of today’s leaders that Talent Acquisition (TA) should always be a step (or two) ahead in the market, I am excited to see the ATC would shine the spotlight on the opportunities created by this emerging technology and I’m really looking forward to learning more about them.
After scouring the insights that have been shared in the lead up to the event, I drew up the following list of questions that will help guide me with my learning when I’m at the conference. I have always found this practice to be useful and I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you.

What can I do to help my Talent function become better at communicating with our candidates and internal stakeholders and, at the same time, continue to stay at the forefront of new and upcoming HR technologies?

 At the conference, I will be looking for up-to-the-minute hints and tips on how I can use artificial intelligence (A.I.) powered technologies to enhance a TA function’s ability to focus on candidate connections and internal business relationships – i.e. the more meaningful elements of the recruitment process.
A.I. is one of many key workplace topics in an already, at times, overloaded Talent space. I am really looking forward to hearing the panel of presenters share their expert knowledge and ideas that we can then use to enhance the skills of our TA community. 

Will new HR technologies drive a change in the aptitude and attributes, as well as the ongoing development of recruiters?

As a TA leader, I am keen to understand what skills I should be focussed on building so that I am able to continually embrace A.I. and greater automation. I would also like to better understand the traits, competencies and capabilities that I should be looking out for when hiring my team.
When I research current job descriptions for TA roles, I see these elements popping up all the time – proven experience, understanding the recruitment process, ability to use an ATS, social media knowledge, relationship building and networking skills – all the obvious requirements continue to feature.
Too often I still hear recruiters referred to as sales people, but I believe we need to be more than that. Technology is only as good as the users and a great TA professional will continue to push boundaries. I am hoping the panel will share their view on enablement and how we can identify these traits better.

Will new HR technologies support all job types and industries?

As I am sure many of you have experienced, there are roles that arise where candidates are best identified via industry networks or referrals. If you need an example, just try recruiting a butcher!
It is rare that you will find the butcher most suited to your business or team environment via a job advertisement. It can happen, but it is not your best bet (coming from personal experience). It is an incredibly small Talent pool, and one of the trades across Australia with one of the most significant skill shortages.
In this case, speaking to suppliers or other butchers about who they respect in the market is key, and trying to identify what that ‘referred’ candidate’s potential motivation to move is, is the art.
Can new HR technologies do this for us? I wonder how a more automated approach, without as much human-to-human interaction, would impact the ability to identify and attract this type of Talent.
Or is the focus of this technology simply aimed at eliminating other tasks to support these more hands-on activities? I will be very keen to find out more.

Will new HR technologies assist with practical skills assessments?

Psychometric tests are regularly applied to screening and rating candidates, and algorithms are used frequently to assess video interviews. But how do we ensure the candidate has the skills and abilities to perform certain tasks that, traditionally, has to be observed over time?
Here’s an example: I am a true coffee lover, and my Barista’s ability to prepare the coffee, texture the milk, surprise me with their latte art and generate a warm atmosphere is key to ensuring that I enjoy a great experience. However, these skills cannot be determined by reading a resume or via a sit-down interview alone.
Can A.I. really prioritise the candidate with the right skill level or even eliminate this need to further assess candidates in a more practical setting? Using automation to process an application is advantageous from an administration perspective, but how far does it go when the weighting of a skills test and customer centricity in situ is what you value most.
Further, in the age of customer centricity, how does A.I. provide relevant and constructive feedback to candidates? Candidates are our customers, and our brand is negatively affected when our unsuccessful candidates are not managed respectfully. I am not sure how this can always be managed without human intervention, particularly given candidate expectations.

Will new HR technology really mean recruiters will have less and less to do?

There is no doubt in my mind that A.I. and automation will save time. Not to mention the other potential benefits being publicised around the ability of emerging technology to alter unconscious bias, and ultimately improve the quality of hire. However, the question I find myself coming back to all the time is how much of a difference does it actually make when compared to the gains already made through most ATS-es?
If further improvements can be made to free up more time for TA professionals to focus on their candidates and hiring manager relationships, I’m definitely in and am more than ready to embrace the change. At the same time, if implementing A.I. adds another layer of complexity onto the hiring process, ultimately our candidates and hiring managers will feel the impact most.
More time spent on sourcing candidates, nurturing them whilst part of your Talent pools or throughout the recruitment process, and supporting candidates with greater feedback opportunities, no matter the outcome, would be my recruitment utopia.
Hopefully the focus in the future is less about how much we do in TA and more on having the available resources, or ‘time’, to do what we have to do even better. Win-win right?
I hope you too have thought about what you are looking to discover at ‘Thriving with A.I.’. Whatever the inspiration you’re looking for, make sure you are ready to explore. I am!

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