I attended the 2008 HR Tech Conference and Expo in Chicago last week. I've attended this show, on and off, for almost 11 years now. I haven't been to an HR Tech for 3 years before last week... Prior to joining Arbita recently I was more focused on the 3rd party Staffing and Recruiting side of things for those 3 years - So, I've been on the StaffingWorld, NAPS, NACCB circuit for a while.

It was like I never left. Don Ramer calls this market an "echo chamber" - and this year's HRTech reinforced that for me. All the same vendors - even all the same people - saying all the same things they were when I took a different path about three years ago. "Talent Management" seems to be less of a category these days and more of a "catch all". EVERYONE is doing , or saying they do, talent management.

I really felt for the attendees - you would have to spend 30 minutes with each vendor to figure who really does what.

It seems that all of the vendors in the space have agreed that the true opportunity in the market is in helping companies source, select, and retain talent. Hard to argue with - it's a broad set of capabilities that cover that spectrum. The issue is, regardless of how small the sliver they provide in that spectrum they spin their way into overall talent management. It seems that no one wants to differentiate themselves.

I think this, along with some other experiences, may have driven my friend Donato Diorio from Broadlook on to a really interesting side project at the show. He went from booth to booth with a video camera, giving the vendors 30 seconds to tell the camera who they are, what they do, and what value a customers gets from their product and/or service. Generally deliver a quick elevator pitch. I'm very interested to seeing what Donato learned from the process. Did everyone say the same thing? Did anyone sound different at all? Donato promises a blog post with his findings very soon. He got me on the camera - I'm curious to see how I did.

I'm very proud to be at a company that has put great effort into defining exactly what it is that we do - and exactly how we're different. We say we have the customer's best interest at heart and I think that starts with making it easy to understand what we do and how we can help.

All of that being said, it was a good show overall. The economy didn't seem to impact attendance in a big way, nor did it impact the projects the attendees were there to explore technology for. At least, not yet.

We launched our OneWorld offering - the first full suite of products and services leveraging the full complement offered by the Arbita/JobMachine merger. It was met with great interest and validation. It was fun to be a part of something that exciting.

I haven't seen any other posts on the show. Curious if anyone else attended and what they thought?

Views: 66

Comment by Jerome Ternynck on October 24, 2008 at 7:56pm
George, I agree. I was there as well. Felt a bit like a "who's go the biggest booth" contest among vendors. Useful for me looking to meet my peers but indeed confusing for buyers. Time for a new approach ? if we can't sell it anymore, we might as well give it away for free. Check out www.smartrecruiters.com :-)
Comment by David Pritchard on November 22, 2008 at 8:29am
Hi George, Great to meet you this past week. Well, I think you know what I thought. I look forward to finding out more. Don Ramer and his message were VERY powerful. Wednesday night I had dinner with your friends, Doug, Yorit, Kelly, Shally, Dave etc.... Have a Great Thanksgving and Merry Christmas. Dave


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