It’s conference season, and these past few weeks have been jam-packed with tons of industry events that have set the stage for what’s on the leading edge of innovation in talent acquisition space.  Our KRTers were busy attending some of the most influential events of the season and were also fortunate to take center stage as presenters at a few of them as well. If you’re curious about upcoming trends or in need of some inspiration, you’re in luck. I went around the office and asked the team to share the most interesting trends and highlights from conference season 2017.

Did someone say AI?

If there was an award for the buzzword of the year, it would hands-down go to artificial intelligence (AI) in the talent acquisition space. There were several sessions focused on what it is and some of the ways employers are using it to enhance the candidate experience. (Shameless plug: check out Michelle Sargent’s blog post on AI)

I have noticed all conferences have had discussions on AI. AI is gaining more adoption and everyone seems to be either interested or nervous. To sum up the theme I’ve seen all year, AI will shape new products, new processes and new jobs (while possibly eliminating old ones) in the coming years. It’s very new in the TA world, but expect to see more and more information on AI at most talent acquisition conferences.

– Eric Holwell, VP of Operations

#AI is hot, but what else is trending for #recruitment in 2018? Find out! Click To Tweet

CareerBuilder Empower – Chicago, IL

The biggest theme at CareerBuilder Empower was artificial intelligence. It’s basically technology taking huge amounts of information from a specific domain (HR) and using it to make a decision in a specific case (who to hire) in the service of a specific goal. Chatbots are a perfect example of AI and machine learning being used for talent acquisition tasks – engagement, matching and screening.

Below are some examples of jobs that can likely be automated and taken over by AI.

talent acquisition

Olivia Yongue, Director of Client Strategy

LinkedIn Talent Connect – Nashville, TN

There were a few AI-focused sessions at Talent Connect, all delivered to a jam-packed room.  “Artificial Intelligence disruption: How technologies are predicted to change the way we manage talent presented” by Prezemek Berendt was definitely a standout for us.  Slides can be found here.

Adriana Kevill, Head of Marketing

Employer brand continues to be important and a challenge

Indeed Interactive – Austin, TX

The SVP of HR at Indeed, Paul Wolfe, reported 59% of people surveyed by Indeed say they will not apply to a company if they have a negative review. 79% of people surveyed said they would share a negative comment on a social site like Glassdoor or Indeed if they had bad experiences.

– Eric Holwell

Long Live The Story

The theme of “telling a story” was at Indeed Interactive, Glassdoor, and Talent Connect.  While data is essential, it is all about the story it tells and how you communicate that story. 

Michelle Sargent, Head of Strategic Partnerships

The Role of LinkedIn for a Changing Workforce

LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner gave a fascinating presentation on the rise of the gig economy and the millennial generation taking over the workforce population. Session can be viewed here.

Some staggering stats from his session:

  • There are ~60 million independent workers (freelancers, short-term contracts, gig economy)
  • ~90 million people are interested in independent work.
  • By 2025, Millennials will account for 75% of global workforce.

Ryan Christoi, Managing Partner, attended the session and shared, “I was blown away by this swell forming in terms of a change in jobs as we know them.”


The talent acquisition and higher education worlds collide.

Within 10 years, technology will enable “competency to replace pedigree.”

One thing that I thought was really interesting at TAtech was the opening speaker, Ryan Craig on education. He shared examples of the future of education: a four-year college education will become a thing of the past as people are looking for ways to customize their education experience. Just like cable, people will want to unbundle their education and find ways to learn the skills they need for less money and a shorter amount of time. With college debt being a huge issue with millennials, Gen Z sees this and is going to want to avoid getting trapped in debt.

The solution is a lot of new education options with new ways for students to pay and very specific curriculum. Employers will need to start focusing on the skills of the candidates (especially at entry level) and stop requiring bachelor’s degrees.

– Abby DiFazio, Media Planner

Further to the point of millennials’ financial status, “Millennials are the first generation to make less than their parents.”

Talent acquisition leaders share how they look at TA tech innovation.

We can all agree that now more than ever, there is more noise in the TA/HR technology space.  But how do some of the most innovative companies like DaVita Kidney Care, Chipotle Mexican Grill and CH2M approach innovation and new technology for their organizations? Individuals from each company came together for a panel to discuss.

To be truly innovative, a TA technology development must be both something new and something that improves either the candidate or the recruiter experience. It must solve a problem with measurable results.

Facebook’s Foray Into TA: “Jobs on Facebook” and Facebook Jobs API

Facebook’s Product Manager, Gaurav Dosi, gave an impressive presentation on how Facebook’s job product works for companies with Facebook business pages. The UI makes it easy for companies to advertise jobs to their audience base, plus their connections, using the same targeting parameters that Facebook is famous for. This looks way better than Facebook’s attempt to get into the recruitment marketing business a few years ago.

Eric Holwell

The Facebook Jobs API enables developers to create job posts and manage applications all from one place. Developers and business can use the API to reach qualified candidates while staying connected to the systems they already use.

Candidate view:

talent acquisition

Employer View:

talent acquisition

HR Tech – Las Vegas, NV

As President at HRU Technical Resources Tim Sackett shared on an HR tech panel, “If you suck at recruiting, good technology will make you suck faster.”

No technology will solve your problem if you aren’t able to change your process to make it work.  Often companies purchase a technology to solve a problem and then the team ends up just making their current inefficient process fit into the technology and not taking advantage of the full capabilities.

Katie Cooper, Account Manager

Google’s Debut at HR Tech

For the first time ever, Google had a booth at HR Tech. I made sure to visit their booth and chat with their experts since it’s not often you can walk up to a Google employee and ask whatever question you wish. Something I learned from one of their sessions was that they entered the recruitment space for two primary reasons.

  1. It’s a big market and there is a lot of opportunity.
  2. Google has the technology capabilities that can provide a ton of value to job seekers and existing players in the market.

As of now there are three core services that they offer. With that, get ready to see some major changes in our space.

– Olivia Yongue

#Recruitment, get ready to see some major changes in the space with #GoogleforJobs. Click To Tweet

Talk Nerdy to Me

KRT Marketing’s “Chief Nerds” Eric Holwell and Ryan Christoi captivated Nashville with their Napoleon Dynamite-inspired dance moves, tips on how to navigate talent intelligence and how to capture, measure, and improve recruitment metrics.  Check out this microsite that has their presentation and downloadable templates to help teach you the best ways to track recruiting data, get the full picture, and find your own insights with the latest metrics and tools.

LinkedIn Talent Connect – Nashville, TN

One of the highlights of Talent Connect this year (aside from Ryan and Eric’s session) was a keynoted titled “Every great book, movie, & company starts with a great story” delivered by Matthew Luhn (former Pixar story artist). Some takeaways from Jenny Skundrich, Head of Client Services, who attended:

  • Tell stories to candidates because they stick, stir emotions, and drive decisions — that’s why they can be a companies’ most effective recruiting tool.
  • Stories can be far more effective at selling a job than impressive facts and figures.
  • While people in business (including recruiters) love to share stats and data, research shows you only tend to remember about 5% of facts
  • On the flip side, people remember 65% of stories — that means narratives are 22 times more memorable than facts. That’s because stories make us feel things.

You can view Matthew’s keynote here; make sure to have a tissue box nearby!

Inbound 2017 – Boston, MA

Where can you find 20,000 marketing professionals, Michelle Obama & Brene Brown all in one place? Sometimes we look for inspiration outside of the talent acquisition world, and this year we didn’t have to look any further than Boston, MA, for the can’t-miss marketing event of the year: Inbound. Adriana Kevill shares some of the highlights:

The Top 10 Facebook and Twitter Content Promotion Hacks of 2017

  • A different way to use social channels targeting
    • Target two completely unrelated interests in order to generate maximum engagement
    • Create and advertise off-topic content to build brand biases
  • Unconventional ways to reach audiences and improve results.

The Experience When Business Meets Design

Attention does not equal love. Brands need to recognize that putting people at the center of the experience is the new standard for every business.

  • 63% of consumers reported they may defect from brands due to irrelevant content. Of that group, 41% would consider ending a brand relationship due to irrelevance and 22% already have.
  • Generation C (Connected) – Brands need a digital transformation to compete in the experience economy.
  • Modern Ps: People, Purpose, Promise, Personalization

talent acquisition

As you can see, 2018 is shaping up to be another exiting year full of innovation and transformation. We’d love to share more about all we learned at these amazing conferences along with some killer restaurant recommendations in the new cities we visited! Feel free to contact us or tweet us anytime!

Hottest Trends of 2017's #TalentAcquisition Conferences Click To Tweet