So, last week, the conference that I volunteer with, recruitDC, instituted a new policy…a Bounce Bowl. A Bounce Bowl? Yep – typical fish bowl where a card can be dropped, but in this case it’s the card of a vendor not towing the line of non-solicitation.
So, what’s the deal? No Solicitation? If you’ve ever been to a recruiting or HR conference, you know you’re going to meet vendors within that industry. That’s awesome. Quite often we (aka conference committees) rely on vendors to sponsor these events and they are incredibly appreciated. We try to supply our vendors that sponsor with the means to promote their services and products, not only by sponsoring the event, and setting up a display, but also getting face time with our attendees and getting a few minutes in front of the entire audience to do additional promotion.
The last time we held recruitDC, I saw our usual sponsors, who again were vendors, behind tables, mingling during the breaks, and wearing their name tags that clearly declared their interest. But there were several individuals that were also vendors that had bought a conference ticket and then networked with our attendees. That’s fine. But some of those attendees who encountered these vendors felt their time was monopolized in a take-take situation. The vendors that were in the general attendee population approached them, networked, pushed their product, asked for feedback, and pushed their product some more. And then asked to follow up by phone the following week. These networking conversations were not 5 minutes, they were 30. If your goal as a recruiting or HR professional was to come to the conference to meet more HR or recruiting people, within the DC metro area, you lost your opportunities if you got caught in one of these conversations.
That’s important…very important….recruitDC was created with the idea of developing a central opportunity for recruiters and hr professionals to connect….and enjoy great content. I personally have enjoyed watching people meet, develop connections, and by the time we hold our next event, potentially have built a working relationship. Maybe they’re now at the same employer, maybe they’re working collaboratively. All the Bounce Bowl is about is enabling people to have discussions unencumbered by those looking to make a deal. Totally cool to follow up with someone outside of the conference and maybe someday there will be a session at recruitDC like there is at HRTech…Awesome New Technologies in HR. Until then…beware of the Bounce Bowl.