Recfest recap 2022: the HR, TA & Recruitment festival

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Jordie Black
July 13, 2022
Updated on:

At the end of another successful, it's clear that the event is only getting better with age. With top-notch speakers, informative sessions, and an electric atmosphere, the festival has cemented its place as the leading event for recruitment and TA professionals.

This year's edition was fascinating, with key topics such as diversity in hiring, data, candidate experience, and growth taking centre stage. Attendees left feeling inspired and motivated to take their businesses to the next level with people at the core.

Recfest Recap 2022: The HR, TA & Recruitment Festival

For those who missed out, here's a quick recap of what went down:

  1. A diverse workforce is a strong workforce. A clear message from speakers and panels at this year's RecFest was that businesses need to be actively making an effort to diversify their teams. In today's climate, it's more important than ever to have a workforce that represents the world around us, and this can only be achieved through targeted recruiting.
  2. Data is essential for making informed decisions in business, and recruitment is no different. From attracting the right people, reducing employee churn to anticipating needs, data is the key to success. By understanding and utilising data properly, businesses can make the recruitment process more efficient and effective.
  3. Candidate experience is a hot topic in the industry and for good reason. With so much competition for top talent, businesses need to ensure that they're providing a positive experience for candidates throughout the recruitment process. From initial contact, running background and reference checks to making an offer - a positive candidate experience is essential for attracting and retaining the best employees.
  4. Future of work: Growth and expansion. Whether hiring global talent remotely or expanding to new markets, experts at RecFest weighed in on their experience, strategies and predictions for the future of work. including automating background checks, utilising technology such as AI and machine learning and appealing to the workforce of the future: GenZ.

A diverse workforce is a strong workforce

The RecFest talks around diversity highlighted how many aspects of the business a diverse workforce (or lack thereof) impacts within a company.

A company's ability to innovate, the margin for error, customer base, and the overall culture of an organisation are linked to how diverse that company is.

Diversity drives innovation

A lack of diversity has been linked to groupthink, where instead of individuals feeling free to share their ideas, they go along with what everyone else is saying to fit in. This lack of dissenting opinions can lead to sub-par decision-making and an unwillingness to take risks.

On the other hand, a more diverse workforce has been linked with increased creativity and innovation. Studies have shown that companies with more diverse workforces are not only more innovative but also more profitable.

Despite the many benefits of diversity, organisations continue to struggle with hiring a diverse workforce. Panels explored various strategies to increase diversity and inclusion in your talent strategy. Experts shared their own experiences and provided insights on how to remove bias and shape your employer's brand.

Key quotes

Abigail's talk on dyslexia highlighted the hidden benefits such as analytical thinking and innovation. As someone with dyslexia, she offered practical tips on how employers can support neurodiverse candidates during an interview. Some things she suggested were accommodating different learning styles and checking output preferences.

Abigail Fitch, Scott Logic - Recfest 2022

Making sure your workplace includes neurodiverse people can only lead to good things!

Torin Ellis' powerful talk about inclusion, HR and the future of work was a steal.  Minus the illusion exposes the world most organisations would rather be left shrouded in mystery - a world where diversity and inclusion are only buzzwords.

Torin Ellis, diversity Strategist

“We are the people that protect the organisation. But with that, responsibility is adamant.”

Data's in the details: making better hiring decisions

In today's business world, data is everything. Companies constantly collect data on their customers, employees, and competitors to gain a competitive edge.

However, all this data can be overwhelming, and it can be challenging to know how to use it effectively. When making hiring decisions, data can be especially helpful in identifying the right candidates for the job.

By carefully reviewing applicants' resumes and conducting detailed interviews, employers can gather the information they need to make informed hiring decisions.

Additionally, background and reference checks can provide valuable insights into a candidate's character and work ethic. Ultimately, by collecting and analysing data, employers can ensure that they are making the best possible hiring decisions.

Key quotes

Kish’s talk on sourcing looked at using design thinking to build a sourcing model. Kish explained how traditional problem-solving is linear, with a solution as the end goal, while design thinking is more of an iterative process that can evolve with the business need. His talk described how to use this information to build their sourcing model.

Kish Lakhani, Abode - Recfest 2022

Technology and automation: augmenting Human Resources

With the advent of artificial intelligence, hiring has been forever changed. High-volume hiring is now faster, better, and smarter than ever before. Background checks are now more efficient and accurate with the help of automation. Harnessing technology frees up time to focus on delivering a better candidate experience.

If there's anyone who understands the global market for work tech, it's George LaRocque. In this talk, the WorkTech Founder reviews the latest results in global work tech investment, user adoption, and market growth.

George Larochque - Recfest 2022

Alongside that Matt Desborough and Sophie Power weighed in on what happens when  take too long and how this impacts the business and the candidate experience.

As skills-first talent strategies become more prevalent, it's important to keep up with the latest innovations in hiring. With the help of technology to augment human resources, the future of hiring is looking bright.

An insightful talk from Showcode founder highlighted a staggering 50% of engineers refuse to do assessments, meaning many developers will never work for your brand. ShowCode is changing this by improving candidates' experience and promoting your brand as a top tech employer!

Will Knight Recfest 2022

Candidate experience: first impressions matter

As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, it becomes increasingly important to have a great candidate experience. This will set you apart from the competition and help you attract the best talent.  In these sessions, we discovered how to reinvent your candidate experience using a tailored approach in today’s fierce market. We also learned how to improve your candidate experience by harnessing empowerment from experiencing the unexpected. Finally, we discovered how to use a candidate evaluation tool to ensure that you get the best possible job candidates.

Torin Ellis - Recfest 2022

Creating a psychologically safe and inclusive work environment requires effort, but it's worth it. Yasmin Sheikh (Diverse Matters), Joanne Lockwood (See Change Happen), Sinead Rose (We Are We) and Johnny Campbell explained how your organisation can make the necessary adjustments to foster this important environment.

Growth and expansion: the future of work

The workforce is more diverse than ever in a world of rapid globalisation. This presents both challenges and opportunities in the world of work. RecFest allowed us to hear from several different HR and business leaders about how they approach this new landscape.

One of the challenges discussed is the varying degrees of skills and experience across the globe.  With the rise of the gig economy and the ever-changing nature of work, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find employees with the right skill set is becoming increasingly difficult.

Another challenge that was discussed is the difficulty in recruiting globally. With different cultural norms and expectations, it can be challenging to find the right candidates.

However, some opportunities come with a global workforce. With different perspectives and skill sets, businesses have the chance to tap into a wealth of talent.

Torin Ellis - Recfest 2022

Aj's talk "Counting Down the Hits of the #futureofwork" was a must-see at RecFest. Mixed with insights, leadership nuggets, and a few fun vocals. A unique approach to present Mooonshots approach to hiring and answer the question: What if we asked TA Professionals whether they would want to relive the last couple of years all over again?

AJ Thomas, X Moonshot Factory - Recfest 2022

When hiring was turned on its head, creativity flourished, innovation boomed, and it's now time to revisit and recognise that.

Generation: Z and beyond

Attracting and engaging top talent from Generation Z can challenge any organisation. With the ever-changing labour market landscape, it is more important than ever to understand this young demographic's latest trends and behaviours.

One of the most important takeaways from the talks was the importance of understanding the unique characteristics of this generation. Gen Z are often said to be more entrepreneurial, independent and global than any other generation before them. They are also digital natives who have grown up with technology at their fingertips. As a result, they expect organisations to be able to offer them the same level of digital fluency and engagement that they are used to in their everyday lives.

A clear theme throughout the talks was the need for organisations to be agile and adaptable to meet Gen Z. With the right strategy in place, your organisation can successfully engage with this dynamic generation of talent.

Hiring power

Unsurprisingly, various talks related to talent acquisition and recruitment were given at RecFest. Key messages included the importance of having a good relationship with your hiring managers, using engineers to recruit more engineers and the evolving role of an in-house recruitment team. It was also stressed how crucial it is to humanise your employer's brand and advised on how to best leverage skills to expand your talent pool and improve retention within an organisation.

Rob Long Workable, Recfest 2022

A great talk from Rob Long highlighting the findings from Workable's report: Mental Health in the Workplace. The majority of employers support mental wellness at work. Nearly two-thirds (62.1%) of respondents say workplace mental health is already a priority for their employers, and 23.7% will prioritise mental health in their company.

But despite these high numbers, there's still work to be done.

That’s a wrap

As always, RecFest was an expertly curated event that brought together the best and brightest in the recruitment industry. This year's event was especially timely, given the current climate and how it's affecting the world of work.

Whether you made new friends, potential business partnerships or simply gained some valuable insights, there's no doubt that everyone who attended left the event a little bit smarter and more prepared to tackle the challenges of the recruitment industry head-on. We're looking forward to next year's event already!

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