There’s a lot to unpack following the recent RecFest 2019 in Melbourne. With so many interesting takeaways from “Australia’s biggest in-house Recruitment Festival”, we wanted to make sure you get a detailed overview. Whether you missed out on the event entirely or simply want a refresher, you’ve come to the right place.
This article builds on our previous one about “What happens when Australian recruiters get together – RecFest 2019 Recap“. But instead of simply sharing our highlights, we thought you might like to get the inside scoop from other delegates too…
So, we reached out to five RecFest 2019 attendees:
Rich Lewis-Jones, Accounts Lead APAC at SmartRecruiters
“There has been lots of talk about Diversity and Inclusion but people aren’t doing a lot about it because:
1) People are fearful about tackling the subject. This was pointed out by Joanne Lockwood FRSA – Inclusion and Belonging Specialist. She co-presented a talk with Bill Boorman on how “Gender stereotypes will kill us”. Their point was that businesses need to realise that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they are addressed appropriately.
2) Many businesses feel that talking about the subject of D&I is enough to show they are “doing” something about it. It’s been interesting to challenge folks by asking them “what are you doing on this topic?”
3) SMEs are keen to make a difference. But with lack of resources for projects like these, their efforts are hampered.
I got a sense of confidence building in the room when attendees were hearing from Joanne who has transitioned and gone through the motions of dealing with her challenges in the workplace, that it’s okay to talk about it and be wrong, make mistake. Doing nothing is much worse.”
The prominence of Candidate Experience was also a major highlight for Rich. “What caught my attention was all the talk about candidate experience post-application where experience is key. However, there are so many businesses in our region that are still providing poor candidate-application experiences and people seem to accept that as okay. It’s not. Candidate drop–off rates at the application stage are huge. So SmartRecruiters are doing a comprehensive piece of research on exactly this. The scores coming back are staggering and not in a good way. Application is still part of the process, in fact, I would go as far as to say it is the most important in current talent market we are in.”
Master of many trades, Mark had some interesting comments about RecFest:
“What was RecFest for me? It was a great opportunity to reconnect with amazing TA professionals I hadn’t seen in person for 12 months. It was a chance to share stories about what we had been doing both in our work lives and personal. There was a festive vibe to the event. Stacks of tweets, photos, videos, photobombs, but just an overwhelming sense of positivity in the venue,” Mark recalls.
If you didn’t go to RecFest, you missed out – this is Mark’s main point. Unlike many industry events, there was no hard sells at RecFest. Plus, presentations were informative and entertaining.
Matt Saxty, Director of Strategic Relationships at Alcami Interactive
“It was my first time at RecFest and what stood out most was the attendance, people’s willingness to mingle and the diverse content of presentations,” says Matt.
“There’s a common myth in the Talent Acquisition space that the UK and US industries are moresophisticated and that technology adoption is much greater, but the content and conversations I had at RecFest just reminds us of the contrary.”
Matt’s favourite speaker was Derek Redmond (who started the day’s agenda on the main stage). In his talk, entitled “Setting yourself up to be a hero,” Derek shared his experience of overcoming adversity. “It was both inspiring and sad – I remember watching the race as a teenager.”
It was Melanie’s first RecFest event too and she, like everyone else we spoke to, was “very impressed by the turnout and enthusiasm of the group.”
“Hung Lee was my favourite presenter… I enjoyed the thoughtfulness of his presentation on Tricks or Trust, which covered candidate engagement in the attention economy.” Hung’s talk centered around the idea that the current challenge of recruitment has moved from “candidate discovery” to “candidate engagement”. As recruiters become forced to be more creative around how they get candidates to engage, Hung explained that they have two options: either trick the candidates into an interaction or simply build trust with them over time – through common courtesy and mutual respect.
Tamara Di Veroli, Recruitment Team Leader at Ventia
“I had no idea of what to expect since it was my first time at RecFest. I arrived with a sense of excitement that was kicked straight into 4th gear as I sat down to listen to Derek Redmond’s talk about setting goals and the championship mentality.” The audience was taken on an emotional journey and left with the message to “never give up,” Tamara recalls.
“Throughout the day it was just inspiring journey after inspiring journey from the values-based attraction of FlyBuys and their onboarding, to RMIT and their focus on gaining one’s true self as well as the impact on the community, the world and each individual. The journey of Jo Lockwood & Bill Boorman of diversity and transition and Hung Lee on Tricks versus Trust.”
Echoing what so many other delegates told us on the day, RecFest left Tamara feeling inspired and with “an enormous amount of respect and admiration for some of our industry’s best.”
Building on the success of the Australian RecFest events, the organising team also announced that 2020 will see the launch of RecFest New Zealand. With the recent local event covering everything from “changing problems into challenges” to “removing barriers for job seekers,” we’re keen to see what learnings the 2020 events will bring.