I feel like I’ve been a conference junkie as of late. I’ve gone to more conferences in the last nine months than I’ve ever gone to in the last 15 years! It started with #socialrecruiting NYC when Laurie Ruettimann asked me to moderate a panel. And then rolled into TWTRCON DC, where I geeked out and volunteered. I then had the opportunity to visit TruSource, help coordinate recruitDC and moderate another panel, be the official tweeter at TWTRCON NYC and most recently work for my parent company at SHRM10. Sounds exhausting, but it wasn’t. It’s actually been a great ride and an incredible build to my knowledge bank as well as to my Marriott rewards. It’s pretty obvious I’m a TWTRCON junkie, I like to get my geek on and be humbled.
So, along the way, I’ve had the opportunity to meet an amazing group of professionals, listened to a lot of people talk, and participated in a lot of conversations at tweet-ups and regularly scheduled events. After all that, there are some items rattling around in my brain that I feel need to be addressed; I’ve got some concerns to say the least.
Don’t discount technology that has yet to break out in the general population. I’ve been neck-deep in Social Media since January 2008. At times I feel like I’ve been completely overwhelmed by it. Nothing boggles me more than when some recruiting notable looks, or rather doesn’t look, at a site and discounts it as not having potential. I saw it happen with Twitter and now I see it happening with geo-location sites like FourSquare. Greet technology with an open mind. It can go where you want it to go. And if marketing likes it, maybe you just better take a closer look. Turn on your inner geek, join it, take it apart…just what can you do with it?
Drop the “holier than thou attitude.” I see so many people critique others on their lack of social media knowledge, on the right way to source, recruit and/or cold call. This really gets me. There is a learning curve for social media and perhaps some conferences should better vet their experts to make sure they really walk the walk, so they can talk the talk. And, as for sourcing, there is no one way that is the ultimate ideal to source. There is the way that works for you. People who are successful get training and talk with their peers. You should read, learn and test techniques as often as you can. What works for you right now might not work on the next req in your queue.
Refusing to see beyond Job Boards. I had several moments at SHRM10 where I felt like I had hopped in a DeLorean and gone back to 1999. I met so many recruiters and HR professionals who use only job boards. Now, don’t get me wrong, I “heart” Monster and all the wonderful people there, I think their new product is amazing. But, as I said to Tim Sackett, if you only use job boards, you are relying on the job seeker you need with skillset a, b and c, located in your city to magically upload their resume or apply. And the reality is, that’s not going to happen all the time. Sometimes, but not every time. For some jobs, and not for others. Sure talent is abundant right now as our economy recovers, but we’ve done this dance before. So source.
Don’t give me an expert just looking for an ego boost. I want to listen to someone who is really passionate about what they do and I want them to share their insights and best practices too. That’s why I like listening to Gerry Crispin, whatever the topic. That’s why I hopped a 4:30 a.m. train to make Laura Fitton‘s pre-keynote at TWTRCON NYC. Both technically are experts in my opinion, but really they both have a deep level of knowledge and like to talk about their industry, their work, and it always comes across well and is engaging. They continue the conversations after they leave the stage. That’s pretty cool.
There’s the good and the bad with conferences… but I have to admit, I’m booked at four more conferences in August and September, and I am wondering if there’s a 12 step program for conference junkies. Hope to see you at one soon.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.