Matt Comber
by Matt Comber

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The 20th March saw the first UK, TruLondon event of the year, hosted as always by Bill Boorman. The event took place in the incredible setting of the Kings Head, London, which boasts wonderful surroundings inside a private members club. 

This roundup (it's more of a brain dump than a work of art!) contains the information of the tracks which I attended; for those that have never attended a Tru event before, multiple sessions take place at the same time (called tracks), along with product demo's and 'bar talk' sessions.

After Bill's greeting at 9.30, the event got into full swing and the hard talk began.

Session 1: Rene Bolier – Recruitment Marketing

The key topics of discussion were:

  • Programmatic advertising - Why are recruiters still accepting pay and pray job posting to job boards, when Cost Per Click (CPC), and Cost Per Application (CPA) both provide a higher ROI and more controlled spend. The general consensus was 18 months before job boards change and recruiters adopt programmatic advertising
  • Ad networks - Rene discussed with the group how his company use ad networks to help recruiters target 'profiles' online of users who may have never even been on the recruitment brands website. By using networks such as Google AdSense it is possible to target your target audience with banner advertising
  • Looking past SEO - The room unanimously agreed that paid promotion and advertising is a far more sustainable, trackable and ultimately more efficient way of finding candidates over trying to rank position one for what you consider to be important keywords.
  • The importance of tracking data and your website - The group was in agreement with me, that recruiters websites should be the target for candidates. This enables recruiters to track the performance of all of the different referral source, track the users for further advertising and built a complete attribution model of inbound marketing and attraction channels. Recruiters are still not appreciating the importance of driving users back to their website and then using the visit to imprint the brand back to the user through remarketing. 

Session 2: Colin Donnery – The Future Agency

The key topics of discussion were:

  • The makeup of an agency - The future doesn't just mean technology. The group had a general consensus that recruitment agencies in the next few years will employ larger teams of data engineers to source candidates and recruiters will move into a relationship management role. There was a lot of discussion about recruiters who are outsourcing resourcing to India and other countries. The big question on this seems to be the value return
  • Will agencies actually change, if so what will change? - In a straw poll at the end of the sessions, a number of highly experienced members of the group thought that over the next 5 years, 75% of current agencies will still do things the same way. Others in the group didn't share this, saying that there will likely be a huge cull of recruiters due to advancements in technology
  • Who needs to change, buyer or seller? - A great point about technology changing recruitment was raised by Steve Ward. If the technology changes but the buyers don't (HR Manager etc) then is there going to be a fit here? Tech needs to support and educate the buyer.
  • Faster horses - will someone from outside of recruitment change the market? - I made that point that Henry Ford once said: "If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses". Within the recruitment industry, it may be difficult if not impossible for current suppliers and recruiters to lead change. The industry could be changed by an outside force, who forces the entire industry to react

Session 3: Charles Hipps – Data Driven Recruiting

The key topics of discussion were:

  • Different data for different parts of the process - What was clear from the discussion is that the data which will drive a candidate to a recruiter or brand will be severely different data than that of an employee who has been with the company for years. Organisations need to keep this in mind, having a few key data points which are actionable and valuable, is better than having 26 data points which seem good but have no tangible value
  • Data quality is key - The quality of data has always been something to strive for improving. Without high-quality data, Artificial Intelligence and other systems will find it impossible to provide accuracy. Employ summer interns and get them to ensure that you haven't got candidates with the default birthday of 1/1/1900 (117-year-old candidates may be difficult to place!)
  • Rationalising spend on data - One key point raised in this session is how to get buy-in from internal stakeholders on Artifical Intelligence and predictive analytics. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of case studies around in this area, nor a concise internal sales validation. The idea of understanding the key question to ask was raised, internal buy-in will likely come from efficiency savings and productivity increases
  • Where data is driving recruitment - Data touchpoints was a widely discussed topic. At every stage of the recruitment process, it is now widely accepted that data should be collected and shared with other systems (back to data quality!). Data is driving talent acquisition and candidate attraction more than ever, so having a clear process for doing this is becoming more and more vital

Session 4: Loren Nelson –  Can the modern careers website deliver a truly personalised experience?

The key topics of discussion were:

  • Lack of understanding and acceptance - Within corporate organisations, there is still a complete lack of acceptance from Marketing and I.T to release things like analytics to third parties and HR teams. A lot of HR teams still are not looking at analytics to understand their value to the company. In a lot of corporates, 80% of the traffic is coming in to look at jobs
  • Bad quality - The traffic coming into the website is being directed to terribly designed (if at all) pages on either ATS systems, or outdated websites. These pages have no branding on them and have no other items such as similar jobs, job alerts etc. Corporate recruiters as missing a massive market here and it is driving up their acquisition costs elsewhere
  • Budgets and expectation - It seems that HR teams are expected to deliver large amounts of candidates and hires, but for a fraction of the budget that marketing receive. The amount being spent on candidate attraction is appallingly bad compared to what those hires bring into the company. 
  • Providing end to end solutions are nearly impossible due to ATS - All of the providers and recruiters in the room agreed that ATS' need to open up their data more to allow a full attribution model to be achieved (advert -> website conversion -> onboarding process -> hire) currently data goes into a black hole at the point of ATS

Session 5: Anna Ott/Oscar Mager – The rise of the bots!

The key topics of discussion were:

  • New bot being built by a startup business in conjunction with Deutsche Telekom - the project is using facebooks chatbot to automate 24-7 communications on a website. This bot is currently not fully AI as it has had a script built for it. It is leading to major time savings already in the hiring process
  • Automates the candidate communications for job search - When a candidate comes to the website they start speaking to 'hubbot'. The chatbot 'finds' jobs for the candidate based on a series of questions it asks, which is taking away the need for the Talent Acquisition team to get involved
  • removing job search on their website all together in favour of this bot - The biggest item for me, is that the traditional job search is being completely removed from the website(!). There will be no way to access this search, instead, the bot will promote jobs. This is a binary approach to the issue. I'm not 100% convinced this will work fully right now and think that having the job search option (familiarity is so important) may be reincluded
  • it will not take any CV's at all - only ask a series of questions which will filter down a candidate's suitability for a role. Again, this is a big shift and in the UK this may have to change. I personally am not a CV advocate, however, traditional recruitment teams may require this from recruiters

Session 6: Felix Wetzel – The Automation Of Everything

  • Everything can be automated for the recruitment process - This was discussed in detail. Not in a 'no it can't' way, but more of a 'should it?' way. Automation certainly can be applied throughout the recruitment process and arguably throughout the talent acquisition process. AI could easily be setup to learn the best behaviours in making a good hire over a bad one. Some research discussed says that recruiters make the wrong decision on average 50% of the time over a hire. That's a flip of a coin...
  • We already have an end to end automation with no recruiter interaction in the temp market - The key thing about automating the recruitment process is that we can already do it. If Volcanic setup a website and plug into an ad network to attract candidates back to the website (paid), these candidates can automatically be sent to a CRM or matching tool. This matching tool can then decide which of the applicants are the most relevant for the job. If it is a temp job, the matching could make the decision to send the temp on assignment, send this to the candidate, and then payroll software could be triggered to gather details. All of this has no recruiter or hiring manager interaction
  • People will migrate their skills as their job becomes redundant - One positive point about losing our jobs(!) will be the option to change our careers and working lives into something more meaningful like our hobbies
  • The working week will have to change, sub 10 hours? - The industrial revolution gave us weekends! Before it, we had 70 hour working weeks, now the working week is around 40 hours. Another 30-hour reduction due to automation could see that drop to 10 hours. The debate centred around multiple jobs at once, rather than career jobs, all focused around non-machine led roles 






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