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Postcards From the Real World, Part 2

First In-Person Tech Conference In Over a Year

Last week’s post covered the insights and information presented at The World Job Board Forum, the opening program during the first in-person conference in the talent technology industry in over a year. That event – TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum – was collocated with the SHRM Talent Conference & Expo in Las Vegas on August 23-25. This post will recap the content provided during the TAtech North America program.

TAtech North America focuses on topics that advance business success among all segments of the talent technology industry, from conversational AI and programmatic ad buying solutions to video interviewing products, CRM platforms, recruitment marketing services and more. Designed for company CEOs, their direct reports and senior members of their teams, the program includes both strategic intelligence and the TAtech Deal Center for B2B discussions and networking.

Kevin Grossman, President of the Talent Board, Cliff Jurkiewicz, VP-Strategy at Phenom; and Jason Moreau, CEO of Survale, kicked things off by exploring “The Candidate Experience in the Last Normal & the New One.” Their bottom line: the current shortfall in applicants has made optimizing what happens to job seekers in the recruiting process more important than ever before. Because talent technologies drive much of recruiting processes today, a solution provider’s overall market strategy must include the critical candidate experience considerations of communication and feedback. Encouraging and helping employers to collect candidate experience data helps them to identify recruiting-process strengths to enhance and weaknesses to fix.

Their session was followed by a Product Palooza which introduced talent technology solutions from four TAtech Member companies:
Heather Eusterman, VP at Clinch, a Page Up company, spoke about their recruitment marketing product;
Joe Wilkie, VP at JobGet, told us about their mobile-first job platform;
Michael Ang, CEO at Job Elephant, described their recruitment advertising services; and
Pranay Nath, CEO Tutree, talked about their ability to deliver high quality traffic to publishers.

Next up was a Fireside Chat with TAtech CEO Peter Weddle interviewing Matt Baxter and Theo Rokos, CEO and President, respectively, of Wedge. The discussion explored their experience raising money for the video interviewing platform. The intriguing tagline to the chat was “Sold my truck to make payroll, later scored $1.6M investment.” And, the session did not disappoint, providing plenty of advice especially for early stage companies. In the view of Baxter and Rokos, the keys to success are (1) picking the right investors – those who are less focused on financial projections and more on you and your product – and (2) partnering with those individuals who can afford to lose their investment – which means they won’t be constantly pressuring you to make decisions for short-term financial gains.

They were followed by Eric Holwell, SVP-Strategy at Bayard, who spoke on scaling the recruiting function by combining data, software and human intelligence in more meaningful ways. The session featured a case study on digital innovation at Chili’s. As Holwell recounted it, the company’s application process was time-consuming (taking 15+ minutes to complete), manually managed and designed for desk top access. Unfortunately, 80 percent of its applicants were applying from a mobile device, which meant that 95 percent of those who began the process never completed it. The solution was (work backwards), a mobile-first application app. The impact was immediate. Time to complete went from 15+ minutes to 80 seconds, while the number of competed applications increased by 154 percent and the number of hires by 110 percent.

The presentations were followed by three moderated discussions that were open to all attendees:
Cindy Klein, VP at, led a conversation on “Up, down or sideways: which way is the economy heading and what’s the best way to prepare for it?”
Alex Murphy, CEO of JobSync, and Boris Rozman, CEO of, got attendees talking about what issue the TAtech Traffic Quality Working Group should tackle next to build on the group’s successful introduction of the Traffic Quality Declaration, a reporting template designed to promote recruitment advertisers’ trust in online publishers.
Tony Lee, VP-Content at SHRM, moderated a discussion of job market dropouts, the she-cession and early retirees: how will a smaller talent supply affect the talent technology industry? He interviewed a number of attendees at the SHRM Talent Conference and shared 16 trends that predominated among their responses, including (1) employers are struggling to find enough recruiters as well as job candidates; (2) recruiters, on the other hand, are dealing with serious burnout; and (3) the resignation tsunami is being driven by a number of factors, but huge pay increases (30-50%) in competitive job offers may be the most impactful.

Finally, TAtech is already planning its 2022 conferences, so key an eye on our Events page and make sure you budget to attend both our Industry Congress (TAtech North America & The World Job Board Forum 2022) and our Leadership Summits (on AI, Blockchain, Recruitment Marketing, DE&I/Compliance & more) for industry and HR/TA execs.