UNLEASH 2024 Recap: Skills-based hiring and AI at the forefront

May 17th, 2024
HireVue Team

The HireVue team traveled to UNLEASH America eager to learn from our customers, partners, and HR tech analysts, and the conference did not disappoint. Skills-based hiring and AI dominated the agenda. One look at session titles shows that organizations are eager to use generative AI throughout their processes, from high-volume hiring to learning and development and even payroll management. Here are our takeaways from the event:

DEI and a focus on potential go hand-in-hand

37% of respondents in our global trends report say they’re emphasizing a candidate’s future potential and focusing less on past experience alone. This movement away from rearview recruiting is good for business and improves diversity, equity, and inclusion; this was reflected in several sessions highlighting how major brands across the globe are investing in the long game for hiring and changing lives.

In his session, “Empowering Change: HR Transformation with a Community Focus,” PNC Bank’s Josh Stewart shared how the company’s school-based career readiness program, PartnerUp, helps them recruit talented students who might otherwise be overlooked or opt out of banking because they’ve never seen a clear career path in the industry.

In the panel, “Fostering Diversity in a Climate of Reduced Funding and Attention,” Takeda’s Global Head of Talent, Jimmy Zhang explained that if you’re doing DEI right, it’s embedded into every facet of your business. And speaking directly to recent challenges facing diversity, equity, and inclusion, he said that if you do the programs well, “it doesn’t matter what you call it.”

Talent acquisition and talent management become talent as a whole

Our very own Chief Science Officer, Dr. Mike Hudy took the stage for a panel, “Revolutionizing the Workplace: Harnessing HR Tech for Transformative Impact” where he described how two previously disparate sides of talent are coming together to overcome the ongoing skills shortage. Whereas previously you had niche solutions for talent acquisition and management, now,

"You can have one platform that accomplishes the fundamentals of hiring: speed, you want to get it right, and you want it to be fair and drive diversity."

And as Chief Data Scientist, Dr. Lindsey Zuloaga explained in her session, “Human Potential Intelligence: How AI is Revolutionizing Talent Acquisition” there has been at least a 25% change in skills and competencies within roles in just the last five years–it is no longer enough just to look for qualified candidates, businesses need to cultivate the talent they need once they have them in the door. 

In one of the soundbites of the day, Wendy Mayer, VP of Candidate Experience at Pfizer said,

“If we’re not recruiting our own people, someone else is.” 

The future of talent is still human-centered

In nearly every panel with AI in the title, presenters reminded the audience that good technology can’t mask poor processes and that people should remain firmly in the driver's seat for success. 

Dr. Hudy suggested always starting by identifying business challenges first rather than beginning with the premise that AI is required. Once the problem is defined, then seek technological solutions to address it. Relatedly, Deanna Jones, EVP of People, Communications, & Transformation at Baker Hughes reminded attendees that 70% of transformations fail due to cultural issues. Successful transformations, even ones built on the best technology, require aligning culture, skills, and values across different demographics.

Ready to put everything you learned at UNLEASH to good use? Book a demo with one of our hiring experts. It’s time to start moving away from rearview recruiting and toward unlocking candidate potential.