Want to hear more from us?


Reflections from Recfest 2023: Essential insights for recruitment teams

Friday 14th July

Reflections from Recfest 2023: Essential insights for recruitment teams

With more than 100 captivating sessions and the gathering of 4,000 talent professionals, Recfest 2023 was a day brimming with thought-provoking discussions, insightful talks, and innovative ideas from the recruitment industry. The topics ranged from groundbreaking recruitment innovations and the impact of ChatGPT, to the importance of effective employee retention strategies and skill-based hiring. 

Here are the 5 key takeaways from Recfest that your team need to know:



1. Recruitment Innovation isn't going away

Generative AI is undeniably transforming the recruitment sector. It's like space exploration - exciting, innovative… and maybe even a little scary. It offers vast potential and the promise of reshaping how we understand the universe. But it also carries uncertainties and risks.

Some of the many innovative ways that recruiters and Talent Acquisition teams are harnessing this potential to deliver a ‘white glove’ service to their candidates; from writing job adverts and job descriptions to crafting feedback and rejection emails that are personalised, empathetic, and constructive. It's like giving each candidate their own personal career coach, even if they didn't land the job. 

Lots of attendees also spoke about summarising candidate information and identifying skills from various tools like CVs and cover letters – much like a digital detective, sifting through data to find the nuggets of gold that make a candidate stand out. 

But many of the talks also highlighted the dangers of using AI in recruitment. In particular, the threat of introducing unintended bias was a key question from many audience members; with some speakers suggesting that more rigorous ‘ethical AI’ checks will be introduced by buyers in the coming months. 

Despite these concerns, it's important to remember that AI is a tool, not a replacement for human recruiters. When used responsibly and ethically, AI has the potential to revolutionise the recruitment industry. It's about finding the right balance between leveraging AI's capabilities and maintaining the human touch that's essential to successful recruitment.

2. Be creative in your advertising 

The presentation by Tonic on 'Art vs Algorithm' provided a fresh perspective on the application of generative AI and ChatGPT in advertising roles to candidates. They highlighted how the growing reliance on technology in recruitment has inadvertently diminished creativity and human touch in recruitment advertising. This goes beyond ‘good writing’.The job ads we post today have a direct impact on the candidate experience, as well as our employer brands.

That’s why writing an engaging job ad is an art in itself. It's like crafting the perfect tweet - it needs to be concise, compelling and catered to your audience. This is where ChatGPT (with the right prompts from a human) shines; using data and AI-powered insights to create job adverts at scale that not only hit all the necessary points but also appeal to the right candidates. It's like having a seasoned copywriter on your team, minus the writer's block!

3. Attracting Gen Z into your organisation

Employer branding was a recurring theme, as businesses strive to attract fresh talent. However, what truly stood out was the emphasis on the need to captivate and then really engage with Generation Z in order to bring this new talent into your organisation.

Often referred to as entrepreneurial and globally conscious, this younger generation has so much to offer. They are true digital natives, having grown up with technology at their fingertips. As a result, they want organisations to match their level of technological fluency and their need for a different type of engagement at work. The key takeaway is clear: organisations must maintain agility and adaptability to meet the expectations of this new generation who rebel against traditional structures and digital illiteracy.

4. There's a way to tackle the skills-shortage

The RecFest sessions also highlighted the transformative potential of skills-based, also known as potential-based hiring in the recruitment sector. A key insight was provided by Social Talent, who explained how skills-based hiring can expand talent pools by up to 10 times while boosting diversity. They highlighted innovative ways to implement this approach, emphasising the importance of focusing on job descriptions, sourcing, talent advisory, and skills-based psychometric assessments.

Ceipal Corporation's CEO, Sameer, delved into skills-based vs experienced-based hiring methods, highlighting that the main benefit of skills-based hiring is opening up talent pools. He also discussed how AI comes into play in skills-first hiring, assisting in writing job descriptions, resume screening, candidate sourcing, and engagement, thereby future-proofing workforces in the face of change.

5. Internal Mobility has never been more important

Internal mobility emerged as a significant theme throughout the day, especially in light of the prevailing skills shortage. The concept of internal mobility aligns perfectly with the current landscape, presenting a logical and compelling approach to address talent scarcity.

Matt Charney from HR.com, shared some powerful data from a recent UK workforce survey which highlighted that the average salary position will last 3.2 years. However, when an employee is given an internal promotion this increases by an extra 2.1 years. A clear message resonated through the audience: internal hires are a valuable investment, regardless of economic conditions.

What a day!


Recfest 2023 was an absolutely amazing experience! We were thrilled to meet all of you, gain valuable insights into your challenges, and hear about your strategies for future-proofing your talent acquisition processes in the era of ChatGPT. Our session on the Disrupt Stage with Estelle McCartney, Gemma Aldridge, and Jon Turner from Siemens was truly unforgettable as we delved into the hot topic of "Hiring for Potential in the age of ChatGPT". We were captivated by Siemens' success story and how they were able to unlock exceptional talent during a skills shortage. 

If you weren't able to attend the session, don't worry! We have you covered. Check out our *brand new* and updated Playbook for CV-less hiring, where we delve deeper into the Siemens method.


We're already excited about next year's event! Stay tuned for more updates. Over the coming weeks, we'll be breaking down the best methods to capture a candidate's true potential, join the newsletter to find out more.

Sign up for the TA Disruptors newsletter and get insight into the latest Gen AI trends impacting TA leaders in your inbox, every week👇

Read Next

Sign up for our newsletter to be notified as soon as our next research piece drops.

Join over 2,000 disruptive TA leaders and get insights into the latest trends turning TA on its head in your inbox, every week