ATC (Australasian Talent Conference) 2015 – Wrap Up

Sydney clockThis years ATC was held at the Hilton Sydney in June. I was joined by 300 others, including my ex colleague and friend Pip who flew down from Brisbane to attend the event. Here’s some highlights:


Each year at ATC new technology vendors present their wares. There were many choices and interesting new entrants this year such as Universum, WeirdlyHireVue, Workible, Fuel50.

One technology provider decided I wasn’t worth talking to because I didn’t work at Rio Tinto (yes, he said “if you work at Rio I’ll give you a prize”) – hasn’t he heard what’s been happening in Perth lately?

The new ATC app was a fun tool, rather than carrying around a hard copy of the conference schedule it was simply a matter of opening the app – great work @MartinWarren!

Patricia Duffy and Susan Howse – Australian Defence Force (ADF) Recruiting

The ADF recruit for a range of specialist roles, some of which are in chronic skills shortage areas such as medical practitioners.

David Morrison – ex Chief of Army

Diversity is a huge challenge for the ADF, a sentiment echoed by corporates. They gave a fantastic presentation, especially the  landmark speech by ex-Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, to the Australian Army 

Todd Davis – Amazon

Todd gave an excellent presentation including this slide on how talent attraction has changed over the decades for the military in the US. Todd Davis - AmazonMillennials feel an obligation to be always online due to FOMO (fear of missing out). Gen Z see everything simultaneously through their eyes and the eyes of their network.

Todd Davis 1
Todd Davis

I’ll admit I became a bit of a Todd groupie, he’s the Yoda (or Superman) of Recruitment: I wasn’t the only Luke Skywalker wannabe. He talked about how, as a leader, he builds a firm and supportive culture for his recruitment team at Amazon.

Amazon have a program started by Jeff Bezos which designates “Bar Raisers”. It takes about one year to be trained (BRIT – Bar Raiser In Training, must have interviewed at least 25 times) and knighted with the title of bar raiser, and these people regularly conduct interviews with potential new Amazonians and have veto power over new hires. Bar raisers evaluate new hires against the current population. There is such immense pressure on a hiring manager to hire that by having multiple (trained) people in the hiring process interviewing candidates and providing input they can insist on high standards.

Mike Bailen – Eventbrite

Mike Bailen
Mike Bailen

the dream mike bailen

the dream 2

Mike has a dream! It’s every recruiters dream – to hire 99% and reject 1%. Undoubtedly the toughest part of the job is rejecting so many capable people. Great speech, nice guy.


The trusty recruitment funnel made many appearances in slide decks during the conference. Leaders talked about their funnels, how to get more of the right people into the funnel and reduce percentage volumes of the wrong applicants in the funnel.

ADF Attraction Funnel
ADF funnel
Eventbrite funnel
Eventbrite funnel
Telstra funnel

Conference lingo…

  • Don’t mention the “War for Talent”. A general dislike for the term war for talent was expressed: think everyones a bit sick of hearing it.
  • Don’t use the term EVP or brand advocates – it’s so last year. Try brand cult or Community DJ.
  • What connects? Stories, stories, stories. We’re addicted to them, we crave meaning and belonging every day. Make your employees heroes in your company story.
  • Every individual is an aggregator and a gypsy, they are constantly moving, get in their “line of visibility”.
  • Use the term test practice rather than best practice.
  • Recruitment is a numbers game.
  • Tell the punchline early, people have short attention spans now.
  • There are push and pull factors in career change decisions, but the important three are pay, location and flexibility.
  • Recruiting is over-measured, especially time to fill.
  • Recruitment is project management.

Panel discussions

Pop up pannel discussing diversity metrics
Pop up panel on diversity metrics

Diversity can be an emotive subject, taken on with vigour by a pop up panel at the conference. Credit to the organisers for recognising the challenge and aspirations of recruitment leaders to increase the number of diversity candidates in their funnels.

Market insights 

Current hard to fill positions in Australia
Current hard to fill positions in Australia

Indeed had a noticeable presence at the conference, including an 88 slide presentation on market insights. A few were:

  • The job search never ends. Most new hires start looking for a job again 91 days after they have started the new job.
  • Job seekers are more sensitive to negative stimuli than positive stimuli when job hunting.
  • There are push and pull factors in career change decisions – the top three are pay, location and flexibility.


Percentage of hard to fill roles by state
Percentage of hard to fill roles by state

The Future of Talent – Kevin Wheelers’ Fearless Forecast

Kevin Wheeler
Kevin Wheeler

ATC always wraps up brilliantly with predictions from international talent consultant Kevin Wheeler. This year his fearless forecast was about disruptive technology, the rise of talent science, the rapid move to networked collaboration, the growing power of network capital and the changing focus of recruiting.Kevin Wheeler Fearless Forecast

To read more of the action from the conference go to the twitter hashtag #ATC2015. Here’s the website with more information 

Bravo to Trevor, Kevin, Martin, Jenny, Karen, Horace and the ATC team for putting together another quality event. See you again next year!

Pip and I, ATC 2015
Pip and I, ATC 2015


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