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Recap: RecruitCon 2018 Nashville, Tennessee

Right now I am sitting on what I believe is one of the longest flights in the world – a 17.5 hour non-stop service from Houston, Texas to Sydney, Australia (otherwise known as IAH – SYD). I must have fallen asleep shortly after the plane took from and I’ve woken up in the middle of the night high above the Pacific Ocean … still with another 12 hours to go before landing in Australia!

I can’t just stare out into the pitch darkness and I’ve seen all the movies I want to see on the in-flight entertainment, so I thought it would be the perfect time to write a quick recap about RecruitCon 2018 where I’ve just spent the last few days … in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. I was chuffed to be on the speaker line up at the conference but I also made sure I attended as many sessions as I could.

1. Why you should unleash your influence and engage those who matter to you

John Hall, the CEO of Influence & Co. gave an awesome keynote where he discussed the importance of creating a culture of helpfulness in terms of the content you share – especially at a time when over 50% of the world’s population is under 31 years old.

John talked about how content (your influence) should be central to your recruitment strategy, employee training, PR and investor communications.

His concept of “IDEA” content really resonated with me in that the content you ‘unleash’ on those who matter to you should be Industry leading; Data driven; Educational and Amusing.

John discussed how the idea of ‘content marketing’ can be transferred directly into our industry in the form of ‘content recruiting’ where we can build credibility and trust during the passive candidate outreach process.

John also referred to two books which I’ll definitely be checking out:

  • John Ruhlin’s Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention.
  • Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers

2. By the year 2025, Millennials will make up 55% of the workforce

Millennials (Gen Y’s) and Gen Z’s have a reputation for being complicated and needy. Whether this is true or not, by the year 2025, Millennials will make up 55% of the workforce and Gen Z will have been in the workforce for nearly 7 years! Recruiters and talent acquisition teams need to be more in tune with how to attract and retain these key demographics.

Susan Vitale CMO with iCIMS shared a terrific outlook on the 2025 workforce.

A few interesting snippets from Susan’s keynote included:

  • Men will apply for a job even if they only possess 70% of the required skills; women will only apply if they feel they possess all the necessary skills.
  • Adaptability is the #1 ranked ‘soft skill’.
  • In the USA in 2018 the average entry level salary is $56,532
  • 73% of candidates start their job search in Google – so if you haven’t looked into Google For Jobs, you really should!

3. People who are satisfied with their candidate experience are 38% more likely to accept a job offer

Candidate experience is not just a buzzword. We’ve talked about it on our blog many times before and it’s a topic that appears on many industry conference agendas today.

Susan Vitale talked about the top 3 reasons why candidates typically withdraw from the recruiting process:

  • Their time is disrespected during the interview process – 46%
  • The recruitment process simply took too long – 26%
  • The salary being offered doesn’t match the candidate’s expectations – 10%

She also reinforced that text messaging is becoming by far the preferred method to communicate with candidates.

4. Photos and videos can help create the ‘wow factor’ when attracting talent

Elena Valentine Cofounder and CEO of Skill Scout ran a great workshop on how to effectively use photos and videos to attract talent.

Visualize your current job postings for a second. Are they long text documents listing the 20 or 30 beneficial traits or skills you want in a candidate? Maybe you’ve got a few paragraphs, some bullet points, and some required Equal Employment Opportunity language.

Elena explained how there’s a better way and showed us a step-by-step process on how to bring your job post to the next level to attract talent in the competitive market. Using photos and video to upgrade your job postings, you can improve your company’s image and entice qualified candidates who will be eager to work with you.

5. Men and women approach the job search completely differently

Earlier in the day, Susan Vitale had talked about how men will apply for a job even if they only possess 70% of the required skills while women will only apply if they feel they possess all the necessary skills.

During a really interesting learning lunch, Karen Eisengruber, VP of Customer Success with Fairygodboss – an awesome career marketplace just for women – revealed what women are really looking for in an employer:

  • A good manager
  • Flexibility / work-life balance
  • Decent compensation
  • A good working culture
  • A good location and a relatively easy commute

Above all women are looking to see how a potential new job will fit into their life. And with this in mind, it’s important to create content that resonates with women through story telling, personal narrative, and dynamic visuals.

6. Why it’s important to treat candidates like customers

“Candidate Experience” are two words that are ingrained into every recruiter’s brain.

If you really take a deep look into your organization’s candidate experience, can you say with complete confidence you’ve made it the best you can? The individual aspects of candidate experience are really very simple but it’s your take on them and how you make them work together that will bring it from a B to an A+!

Leslie Mason and Gail Houston – two executive recruiters from Intuit – ran a fantastic session on why it’s important to treat candidates like customers. I’m going to be completely honest here – but what I really liked about this session, was that two clearly seasoned recruiters (I can say that since I’m often described as a recruitment veteran myself!) were talking about some of the latest trends and tools available to recruiters and sourcers today.

Thank you so much Leslie and Gail for reinforcing that old school training and processes with new age tools can result in the rockstar candidates knocking on your door!

7. ‘Next Generation Recruitment’ is all about distributed workforces and remote teams

And just in case you were wondering, my session was on The Rise of Remote – How to Attract, Retain, Engage, and Manage a Distributed Teleworkforce.

I’ve written and spoken about this topic a lot. After all, I can talk about it from first hand experience given that the RecruitLoop core team sits across 7 countries and our global recruiter community sits across 60!

Here’s a snapshot of what I talked about:

  • Recruiting for a distributed workforce
  • Engaging and managing a virtual team
  • The notion of “remote” or “distributed” teams vs having people who “work from home
  • Communication and collaboration tools and technology
  • The need to embrace trust and transparency

Basically I reinforced how these days it shouldn’t matter if your staff are 2 desks away, 2 offices away, 2 blocks away, or 2,000 miles away!

In wrapping up this post, I wanted to thank all the team at BLR Events for including me in such a terrific event.

See you next time, Nashville!

Paul Slezak

Cofounder and CEO at RecruitLoop. I've been a hands on recruiter, manager, trainer, coach, mentor, and regular speaker for the recruitment industry for nearly 25 years. Follow me @paul_slezak.

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