What to Look Forward to at RecFestOneWorld

At some point this year, we’ve all felt out of our comfort zone due to the massive disruption in how recruiters have had to function. You may be adjusting to new working conditions, like remote working, or new technologies such as video interviewing. There may be more candidates applying for each role, or you may find your lead time has been significantly decreased to keep up with demand. In all probability you’re experiencing most of the above.

We also feel out of our comfort zone, with RecFest going virtual for the first time. However, the heart of RecFest remains the same. We believe in upskilling the recruiters that change people’s lives for the better and forever. RecFestOneWorld strives to deliver the same high-level content that you usually expect from us, but it is now accessible worldwide. RecFestOneWorld also allows you to discuss your challenges with peers from around the world,  in unique networking environments, whilst future-planning for your organisational goals. This year we have divided RecFest into 9 key topics meaning there will be something for everyone so please read on to understand why these topics are especially important to re-examine right now and what to look forward to in September.


When we think of leadership, many different images may come to mind. Perhaps, like me, you think of those famous transformational leaders who inspire others to think of the bigger picture. Perhaps you think of a previous manager who left an indelible impression upon you. Whichever image of leadership you have in your head, 2020 is proving to be an ultimate test of your leadership skills.

Teams are now likely to be dispersed, all working from their home office, spare room or even living room. They are also likely to be more stressed as a natural response to/consequence of the COVID crisis and increasing workloads. In response, our greatest organisational leaders are having to demonstrate flexibility, compassion and crisis management. The day-to-day nature of leadership must change. At RecFestOneWorld, we will explore the nature of leadership now and how we expect leadership to look in the future.

Speaker to look out for: Aditya Singh @ Informatica, who will be exploring how the workforce is expected to transform and how leaders should adapt to these changes.

Emerging Talent

Unemployment statistics in many nations are glum, especially for the many who felt their career was just about to take off, and there is a lot of trepidation around how the pandemic and expected economic downturn will affect the career prospects of emerging talent (whether it be a freeze in promotions preventing growth, or young graduates entering a stagnant job market). While many organisations are planning on going ahead with their graduate and apprenticeship schemes, not everyone has been so lucky. It’s no wonder that 70% of UK 18 to 24-year olds are worried about their job prospects (YouGov, 2020)!

When creating an emerging talent strategy, you’d usually start by planning an organisational 5 to 10-year plan, however this might now be impossible given the giant wrench thrown into all of our plans. We must now embrace uncertainty. Who knows when unemployment rates will recover but,  without courage, you may find yourself encountering an emerging talent crisis once the market stabilises?

Speaker to look out for: Fran Boorman @ Goal 17, (Global Women’s #1 Female Business Influencer 2019) will be discussing the power of mentoring.

EVP, Employer Brand & Marketing

Remember that optimistic & exciting EVP strategy you had planned for 2020? The pandemic has proven to be the ultimate test of every organisation’s values, ethics and overall culture, so how you responded to the crisis will become a key factor for prospective talent. This is further amplified with Gen-Z (and younger Millennials), who are more in tune with a company culture and ethics than ever before.

Your EVP & Employer Brand may not have been at the forefront of your business goals due to the pandemic but moving forward into 2021 it will be essential for candidates and your current employees. What will be the future trends that should define your EVP & Employer Branding moving forward? How will organisations react to the evolving world of work, adopting trends into their 2021 strategy. What people expect from work has drastically changed, so why hasn’t your employer brand?

Speaker to look out for: Adam Posner @ NHP Talent Group will tell his story about owning loss and growing from it, using his perspective as a recruitment marketer.

Candidate Experience & Technology

Certainly a challenge in the digital world of today, many organisations will have had the chance to reflect and understand their candidate experience processes. With many organisations operating flexibly, there are more attractive benefits working for organisations than there have ever been before. Who knows which steps you choose to take next but we have excellent tips for you here.

Hiring has also needed to change rapidly, whether we were ready or not. Exciting new developments in HR technology mean that the adoption of new systems is fundamental. These technologies can improve the speed and efficiency of hiring but must be incorporated appropriately to allow for fair and ethical hiring. Finding that balance is essential to hiring the best candidates.

Perhaps right now is the perfect opportunity to allow technology to take over the monotonous aspects of resourcing, allowing recruiters to do their jobs more effectively and even to create a candidate experience as attractive as the brand itself.

Speaker to look out for: Dr Karolina Kettler, who will be exploring humanistic recruitment and how technology can help you put humans first.

Data & Automation

Data-driven recruitment is gradually becoming the new normal. It has been shown to make the hiring process more efficient, increase the quality of hire, and ultimately save money. No wonder the RL100 described it as the number one priority for future-proofing your resourcing strategy. (2019).

The real question is: why are people so terrified of automation taking our jobs? Have we not learnt the lessons of our past when we thought mechanical farming would destroy the economy? There is, of course, some threat of employees finding it difficult to compete with the benefits of technology.

Using data and automation will not take jobs away from recruiters, rather they will change the nature of existing roles to allow for more human interaction. So let’s stop wasting all that valuable data and put it to good use. Data is the new gold, haven’t you heard?

Speaker to look out for: Chris Wray @ Sainsbury’s, who will be continuing his series on how Sainsbury’s pivoted their whole recruitment strategy to help feed the nation during the pandemic, hiring record numbers in short amounts of time.

Selection & Assessment

Selecting the perfect candidate is the key goal for every recruiter but it is also the hardest metric to master. To achieve this, there’s a diverse range of assessment methods. There are some oldies but goodies, such as in-person interviews, resume analysis, and classic personality tests. Then there are newer strategies, such as video resume analysis, social network analysis and data-driven algorithms, to name but a few. Not all of these strategies are equally effective, and may not align with your organisational goals.

Further to this, we must accept our own biases can unconsciously affect how we perceive interviewee performance. Similarly, over-reliance on a flawed recruitment algorithm can also lead to biased judgements.  As with all things, finding that perfect middle ground between old humanistic style and newer technological approaches will take time, but will ultimately be worth it.

Speaker to look out for: Alastair Cambell @ Arla Foods and peers who will be discussing the use of personality tests in the assessment process. 

Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

There seems to still be a prevailing belief that Diversity is as non-essential as ‘recent graduate’ on a job description that isn’t age-dependent. With many organisations capacity being diminished right now, DEI is even more at risk of being side-lined. However, is it now more important than ever to ensure that you have a diverse workforce with diverse solutions?

Is it not now essential to have every member of your team feeling included at work, to help with the transition to a more distributed workforce? Is it not relevant to focus on equality when inequalities in society are front-page news? With many organisations going through rapid transformation of their recruitment function, it is critical to ensure DEI remains at the forefront of the conversation to avoid reinforcing a cycle of inequality. At the end of the day, we can’t all be in this together if anyone is being left behind.

Speaker to look out for: June Agrawal, who will tell the story that you either know too well or never had to think about: changing your name to ‘fit in’.

Pipelining & Engagement

If you have not yet made steps to nurture your talent pipeline, now is the perfect opportunity. In the coming months, as the job market is in flux, you may find yourself encountering a ‘talent drought’ in some fields. Conversely, you may find yourself inundated with candidates but finding it harder to pick out the high-quality individuals.

At the end of the day, a successful pipeline ensures you have the right candidates ready, willing and engaged, so the rest of the process can naturally follow. So if you are just starting your pipelining process, or readjusting to the new way of working or just in need of novel ways to improve it, RecFestOneWorld is the place to be!

Speaker to look out for: Guillaume Alexandre who will be exploring how to make your pipeline both sustainable and engaging for this candidate-driven market.

Main Stage

It is in RecFest’s nature to continue evolving year upon year and, in true RecFest fashion, 2020 is certainly no exception. Since RecFest’s inception 6 years ago, it has hosted some huge names from the Talent Acquisition circuit. This year is no exception, with our featured story on Sainsbury’s and how they pivoted their whole recruitment strategy to help feed the nation during the pandemic.

Usually it’s only the UK’s TA community (and international recruiters willing to travel overseas) that have had the chance to experience and enjoy RecFest. Now, the largest independent Talent Acquisition event on the planet will be accessible to every TA professional on Earth to enjoy, as RecFest welcomes TA communities from around the globe to unite in one virtual location: RecFestOneWorld.

Whilst the world may be separated, the talent acquisition community will always be connected. As an industry that has a responsibility to keep the world working, it’s more important than ever that we have a shared platform to inspire, engage and connect talent acquisition professionals.

See you on September 23rd, 24th and the 25th for a day of recognising the hard work you do 🙂