The Unconference wound down yesterday with an open discussion about the candidate experience. The conversation was thorough, as well as, thought-provoking and completely spurned conventionality. Too often we get caught up while semantics while the typical candidate experience, we all watch unfold, should be evidence enough.

Goodbyes were prevalent and we said "later" to the Second Annual RecruitFest. Toronto would soon be in our rearview mirror. The Indiana Contingency (Jerry Albright, Andy Gregory and I) made our way to the Albright Odyssey and headed down the road. We recounted our separate and joint experiences, laughed about El Dave Bobblehead making his way to Canada without a passport, and cried about the deconstruction of recruiting. We talked about the people we met or with whom we became reacquainted. We gushed over the spontaneous music of two opera singers that burst into song at Slouch's house. Lastly, we joked incessantly about crossing the border and how Jerry might crack, thus leading us down the path of strip search.

But as we approached the border and the wait seemed inbearable, our mood turned somber and we witnessed a car ahead of us being detained. Our turn..., Jerry rolled down the windows, so the officer could clearly see us all. Picture this: Jerry, his rockstar hair pushed up and back by his over-sized sunglasses and his rocker shirt stuttering reasons why were in Canada. Andy, the quiet giant, sitting stone-faced and disbelieving. Me, a slow boil rising within, angry that the officer couldn't fully comprehend what a recruiting conference was or what it entailed.

This displays clear evidence why you practice your pitch. We had approximately 90 seconds and 10+ questions/answers to impress. We failed to impress, as a matter of fact our bumblings were comical. Our instructions were to pull to the left and meet the officers there. We were escorted inside while our bags and vehicles were dramatically invaded as we stood helplessly inside a glass fortress awaiting our fate.

Jerry: "What if they find my banana? I meant to eat it before we got here. Do you think it was my longer hair? (as the Hair Bear Bunch walked past us) Why can't I just have long hair? It wasn't a poofy shirt last night. Thank goodness I didn't wear that same shirt now. Why would Jill tweet that? I don't understand this, aren't our rights being violated or something? "Recruiter" must be one of their code words."

Andy: "I'm just gonna play it cool. I'm just gonna stand here looking tough. Do I look innocent? I do, don't I? You know, we willed this upon oursleves, all the talk, all the tweeting, it was bound to happen. I'm just gonna stand here and rock back and forth. Are they serious? This is just random, it's just "that" day. Ok, now, I'm getting mad. My face is getting red, I know, my face is getting red. Ewww, I'm mad."

Rayanne: "What if I have to read something? I don't have my glasses. Why does Jerry have that long hair? Why is Andy rocking back and forth like he's holding a baby? I know I shouldn't have let Jerry speak. This is why you prepare. Do you think any of these yahoos like their jobs? I like my job. Do you think anyone here has a twitter profile? I'll bet they don't even know what twitter is..."

These officers couldn't possibly comprehend free enterprise, running your own business from home, or making a living helping businesses hire the right people. They couldn't understand how the three of us had even come to know each other. They didn't get what a "Recruiting Conference" was or why we were there or what we could have learned. Why were you in Canada?

It shouldn't be so difficult to explain. Our jobs justify our reason for being friends, for wanting to learn from each other. Practice your pitch. Know your audience. It shouldn't matter if it means landing a fee or avoiding a strip search. Practice makes perfect. Can't wait for next year.

by rayannethorn


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Great job Rayanne. Thanks for the morning laugh as I get into my second cup of coffee and prepare to spend the day doing exactly what should have been so easy to do in "Lane 6" yesterday. Clearly explain to people who don't know me (yes there are still a few!) exactly what it is that I do.

I would have thought a simple "We are recruiters" would have covered it. Why were we in Toronto? A recruiting conference. What was it about? Well - recruiting of course. Who do we work for? Ourselves, naturally, right?

It was that very moment I was reminded - the mere thought of working for yourself sounds half-baked. Especially to a highly trained government employee - no doubt a graduate of many training courses designed for "diversity and inclusion in all forms of potential terrorist identification". I'm sure he felt he was on to something.

How did we know each other? "From the internet" may have been a bad answer on my part. At that point I was starting to break. Would that make sense? We are virtual friends who met on the internet working for ourselves? Coming back from some ambiguous "recruiting" conference? With laptops no doubt?

Oh my.

Next time? "We are HR people". I'm sure that would have worked. Nobody likes talking to HR...............
This post revisiting our harrowing experience is bound to part of Recruitfest lore for some time. I am glad now I was a part of it. Quite a surreal event when you are stoppped, searched, temporarily seized, and somewhat ransacked. Neat.

Clearly, being a part of this self-described Circle of Excellence comes with a cost. The officer at the booth was not having any of it, the myriad of emotions runs through you, the great feeling of anxiety in your stomach, the pit of said stomach is absolutely wonderful and you are wondering who is going to order the code red.

Other than a disruption of our day, we were able to return to the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Just like all recruiters that attended Recruitfest - You can't stop us - you can only hope to detain us.
Next time:

"We just bought this lady in El Salvador. Where is the ACORN office?"
how did you all meet? um, the internet. way too funny

You gotta think those officers just want something to do with their boring jobs. I choose to believe that you were the most entertaining people "officer boredom" had met that day, and just wanted to keep you around a bit longer. Kinda like a science experiment. See how long it takes for you to break a sweat :)

My last border cross from Washington into BC, I was told if I had any pot on my person (ahem, don't even smoke) then I would get sent back to Australia faster than a speeding bullet. Why did they think I was a pot head? I couldn't work out if it was the three snowboards in the back of the car, the fact that I had hot pink hair, or my response to the question "where did you sleep last night?" - "erm, in the back seat?

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