Talent Acquisition and Tech Leaders Share Messages of Inspiration and Transforming for 2021

by Lamees Abourahma


The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc throughout all industries, including talent acquisition. Many business and human resource (HR) leaders had to adapt to the unexpected chaos of the coronavirus quickly. Nearly all recruitment operations went virtual.
However, despite the coronavirus chaos within the talent acquisition space, technology sparked a fast shift to new recruiting and hiring practices.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association (RPOA) explored this paradox of crisis and transformation during its inaugural virtual conference in October: Talent Acquisition Transformed Conference 2020. The conference gathered top thought leaders within the TA and technology space to discuss the pandemic's impact on talent acquisition and give messages of hope for the industry as we move into the future.


The conference opened with Ben Eubanks, author, speaker, researcher, and podcaster, giving an inspiring keynote speech. After the keynote, there were three sessions, each addressing different areas of talent acquisition transformation. Eleven TA industry leaders spoke on employer branding, remote work, fluctuating hiring demands, recruitment marketing, and the state of job seekers and employers in the era of COVID. The virtual conference ended joyously with Slash Coleman, founder of Laughter Yoga Richmond, providing the power of laughter to improve our health, energy, and attitude.

If you want inspiration for positive change in talent acquisition, check out the RPOA 2020 conference on-demand. It's a fantastic chance for you to let the transformation of talent acquisition inspire hope in you as we move into 2021.

Access all sessions of the Talent Acquisition Transformed Conference 2020 on-demand.

In this post, we offer a taste of the conference and a recap of each session.

Humanize The Relationship Between Recruitment and Technology

Session: Opening Keynote
Speaker: Ben Eubanks, Speaker, Principal Analyst at Lighthouse Research & Advisory, Author of Artificial Intelligence for HR, and host of the podcast We're Only Human

Eubanks opened the Talent Acquisition Transformed conference with three inspirational stories about three companies that used technology and humans to transform their recruitment operations, recruitment marketing, and to improve innovation. The key theme of all three stories, HR and TA leaders made a conscious decision to humanize the relationship between recruitment and technology.

In the opening story, a company decided to apply the agile methodology of software development to recruitment to improve its recruitment operations. This new approach created improved relationships between recruiters and hiring managers and a "clear relationship between the things that need to get done," Eubanks said.

In the next story, a company reimagined the hiring funnel as an infinity loop with no beginning or end; it goes without stopping. As a result, they started sending tailored and targeted job postings. They humanized the candidate experience and started building meaningful relationships with candidates or potential candidates.

In the final story, a medical company decided to deploy an AI chatbot to talk with candidates who visited its website in real-time. In the first two months of using the bot, "4500 conversations were automated with candidates," Eubanks said. 900 of those conversations occurred while recruiters were out of the office.
In these three stories, the essential thing Eubanks wanted his listeners to understand was that while technology is undoubtedly changing talent acquisition, but "We shouldn't transform it by pulling the human out of it," he said. HR and TA professionals are the human elements of transforming talent acquisition. Eubanks believes, "It's up to us to decide to choose to make that conscious decision that we can transform, … we can bring the right results, and we can lead to better outcomes for the business."

Test and Reaffirm Your Employer Value Proposition (EVP)

Session: Talent Acquisition in The Hybrid Workplace
Moderator: Michelle Krier, SVP, ClearEdge Marketing
Panelists: Patty Silbert, President, Newton Talent; Joe Marino, EVP, Hueman

If you're thinking about testing and reaffirming your EVP to get your employer brand back on track, this is a session you don't want to miss. Michele Krier moderates an informative discussion where Patty Silbert and Joe Marino offer great insight into how to ensure your EVP rings true for all of your employees.

Silbert delivers great advice on aligning your EVP with candidates who are looking for meaning and purpose from their work. Marino highlights how Hueman's four core values guided them through the coronavirus's most uncertain times and helped them reaffirm the meaning tied to their EVP.
Both Marino and Silbert stress that the process of testing and reassessing your EVP include surveys to find out what your employees want and matching up their answers with your current EVP messaging. "I think it's so important that organizations start to have some dialogue about understanding where the employees are today," Silbert said.

The tragic death of George Floyd triggered organizations in all industries to stand up and take notice of their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within and without their walls. Both Silbert and Marino stress the importance of tying an authentic DEI message to your EVP message.

Marino describes Hueman's DEI journey that highlights practical tips for you to start thinking about how to go about creating a DEI strategy at your company. You'll also find out why even if you're not where you want to be with your DEI efforts, it's essential to include that information in your EVP messaging.

Optimize Human Use of Technology to Control the Roller Coaster of Demand for Talent

Session: Agile Hiring and Dealing With the Roller Coaster of Demand for Talent
Moderator: Erin Peterson, Global Talent Acquisition Consultant with PeopleResults, Host of the podcast Big Fish In The Talent Pool
Panelists: Cory Kruse, President at Orion Talent RPO Solutions; John Hess, SVP of Operations at Advanced RPO; Jason Krumwiede, SVP of Client Delivery at Broadleaf Results

Let us say you're an HR and TA leader who wants to transform the way your company does its recruiting and hiring, but your company furloughed your team because of a slump in demand for talent. Now that the economy is showing signs of recovery, you can start rebuilding your team.

As you begin reimagining your team and thinking about how to change talent acquisition for your company, you know you want to make the recruiting function agile. You've heard people whisper agile and recruiting in the same sentence, but you don't fully understand the connection. You want to know more about how agile fits into your recruiting function, but you need a mental nudge to understand their relationship to each other.

Well, you're in luck because, in this informative and optimistic session, Erin Peterson talks with RPO leaders Cory Kruse, John Hess, and Jason Krumwiede about how RPO firms call upon the agile methodology to serve the recruiting needs of their clients in new ways.

The agile methodology encompasses the following three tenets:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

In this session, Kruse, Hess, and Krumwiede speak to these tenets as they relate to:

  • Workforce Planning
  • Recruitment Technology
  • ROI with Unclear Hiring Costs

As you listen to these three knowledgeable RPO leaders, you'll hear all three agree that HR and TA leaders need to optimize technology's human use to control the roller coaster of demand for talent. After this session, you'll understand more fully how the agile methodology can transform your talent acquisition function.

Expand Your Talent Search Across the Whole Internet

Session: The State of Job Seeker and Hiring in the COVID-19 Era
Moderator: Thad Price, CEO at Talroo
Panelists: Jennifer Terry-Tharp, SVP of Strategic Initiatives at Joveo; Garret Friedman, SVP at Jobcase; Chris Forman, CEO of Appcast

The COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted the world and the world's economy. On February 28, 2020, the global markets experienced their biggest fall since the 2008 recession. After the WHO declared on March 11, 2020, the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, the labor market plunged off the cliff. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that on March 3, 2020, the number of unemployed persons leaped from 1.4 million to 7.9 million people.

To bring this disruption into a sharper view, pioneers in programmatic job advertising (PJA), Thad Price, the moderator, lead the panelists Jennifer Terry-Sharp, Garret Friedman, and Chris Forman, provide a data-driven picture of the impact of COVID-19 on job seekers and the hiring landscape.

Just so you know that this session isn't a big doom-and-gloom fest, the trio of panelists also shares where they see bright spots in the labor market.

Each panelist also highlights the benefits of PJA. If you're new to PjA, it's a novel data-driven recruitment marketing technology that helps recruitment partners target your ideal group of candidates across the entire internet. In other words, this is recruitment marketing technology that allows you to expand your talent search across the whole internet. As a result, PJA can:

  1. Keep your cost per application down (CPA).
  2. Create a better fit between your job ad and job seeker.
  3. Expand your marketing reach to all populations and all communities.
  4. Enhance your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategy.

If you're looking for inspiring information and new ways to expand your recruitment marketing reach, you need to watch this session.

Laugh Your Way to Increased Energy and Improved Health

Happy Hour: Laughter, Yoga!
Laughter Yoga Ambassador: Slash Coleman, Founder of Laughter Yoga, Virginia
Laughter Assistants: Michelle Krier, SVP at ClearEdge Marketing; Joe Matar, VP Marketing at Brazen

Four years ago, while on a national book tour, Slash Coleman's right lung mysteriously collapsed. He spent a month in the hospital and went through three surgeries. As he left the hospital, his doctor recommended laughter yoga to help heal his lung. The doctor told him that laughter would push oxygen into new places in his body.

He didn't immediately embrace laughter yoga. It took him a year to heal, and during that year, Coleman said, "I kind of went through, you know, I just kind of self-isolated during that time. I felt like I had the flu for a year."

After he healed up, Coleman decided to try laughter yoga. He went to a small laughter yoga session. And ten minutes into the session, he started feeling better. "I…felt all that isolation I felt for the year leave me. And I felt really strangely connected to all 12 participants," Coleman said.

During this Happy Hour session, Coleman uses laughter to energize you. Jokes or humor don't trigger the laughter. It's a different and exciting way to laugh to improve your health and attitude. This Happy Hour session is a real joy.

We hope this recap has whet your appetite to watch the Talent Acquisition Transformed Conference. If you want to get fully fed on making positive changes in talent acquisition, we invite you to take a look at RPOA Conference 2020 on demand. You can access the sessions at your leisure.

Access all sessions of the Talent Acquisition Transformed Conference 2020 on-demand.


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