Today's follow up to the RBC Daily - Why do you attend recruiting related conferences?
Training (or lack of)?
If you don't attend share your thoughts as to why that is as well.....
I'll be following this thread with interest, Tim. One thing though - It would be helpful for those of us who run the conferences if people are specific about which events they attend for what reason. The strengths and weaknesses of each event are unique and the more specific everyone is, the more useful the feedback will be.
I use to attend recruiting related conferences. After five years of hearing the same speakers say the same stuff over and over, I decided it was not the "training" place for me.
I also noticed that many firms came as a group and that other solo recruiters sometimes had a problem interacting with other recruiters not in their firm or "group" so networking was not an option. This was surprising to me as I would think many solo recruiters there - and there were many - would want to network with some one that worked in the same discipline or industry. So the conference wasn’t a “networking” place for me.
The last conference I attended was in the 1990s. I went to a “Big Billers” session. These were people from the Pinnacle Group or Society, or whatever they call themselves, who were going to tell what they do differently from everyone else and how they work and how they focus on niches to make as much money as they supposedly do. During the self introductions one of the women told what kind of car she drove and that started (seriously) a 14 minute discussion on what type of car they each drove and why they chose that particular one and the features and benefits of each car. REALLY? I was in the third row and got up to leave after 14 minutes (could it possibly go on longer?) and one of the great Pinnacle members asked why I was leaving – ‘I said I’m from Detroit, I don’t need a lesson on cars. If that’s all you guys know about I’m better off somewhere else’. The room clapped, the “great’” recruiters looked shocked that we weren’t impressed by their choice in cars and discussion. I continued to leave the room along with others – have no idea if they ever got down to saying something relevant.
I have never had the desire to attend a recruiter’s conference again. I now sometimes participate in online recruiter training webinars if the subject matter is of interest.
I try to attend one or two per year. If we have a realistic opportunity to meet interesting new people, learn something new and share things our team is doing, then it should be on our radar. From there, it's simply a cost benefit evaluation. Those with interesting or leading edge agendas are preferred. Here's a few comments on recent/past conferences:
I attend recruiting related conferences because they are the one time I get to interact with like minded geeks who are working on solving similar problems to me. It is great to see what others in the space are doing so I can adopt and adapt to make them work for my company,
I go to one every year or every other year. I look at the agenda of speakers first and that determines whether or not I attend. If it's the same speakers saying the same things I've heard already, I'll pass. If it's new speakers or speakers I've heard and enjoyed who have new topics, I'll go.
I go for the training, to pick up a new idea or two, and get a pulse on what others are seeing out there, what's working, what isn't.
So far, I've only been to NEAPS, which is a local conference for New England. I've looked at Fordyce and may go to that one y ear possibly, but so far the speakers and topics have mirrored NEAPS so it hasn't made sense to go...especially as it's a more expensive conference too and usually on the West Coast.
I'm not as interested in networking, if it happens great, but it's not why I attend. That's why I never attended recruitfest. The idea of an unconference didn't appeal to me because I look for more of a structured agenda and specialized content targeted at the third party/agency side of things.
I'll admit - I don't go there to learn a thing. Heck - if I simply did what I already know how to do all day long I'd be a billionaire. So the learning thing? Nah. My glass is full.
I get out once a year to meet people who might be in a position to use my recruiting/staffing services. I'm there to shake hands with decision makers and show them I'm a great guy and that I'm someone they should give a shot to.
As far as the current tour of ex-this/ex-that discussing brand/talent community/mobile/blogging/social blah blah blah - that might be interesting for newer recruiters but not me. I find myself wandering the hallway looking for people to quietly connect with.
I am interested in more "regional" events also. Not at all interested in convincing my wife a 3-day trip to Sin City is all about business. Yes - I'm scared of that town. Hopefully we can see more events in Chicago (I went to The Recruiting Conference this year) or perhaps even Indy, Detroit, Cleveland, etc.
I'm sure that there are more people who feel the same way about location.
So as far as the kind of conference I'm looking for? I just can't pass up a hotel full of Fortune 1000 HR/Recruiting folks.......
I go to technical and business career conferences rich with potential candidates rather than conferences rich with recruiters.
Though I do befriend many a corporate recruiter standing in their recruitment booths I cherry pick the technical, marketing, IT and financial professionals and managers who come to meet with potential employers.
I also critique recruitment displays; booth layouts and coach recruiter effectiveness in the job fair & career conference setting.
Relative to recruiter related conferences I occasionally attend them but mostly on the corporate side of the equation because there is where the clients are, e.g., SHRM & NACE.