Big Recruiting Conventions: Good for Recruiters?


Most major recruiting conventions aren't for regular, workaday recruiters like US.

I've been to a few major recruiting conventions (and was even a panelist at one), but not many. Most of the people there seemed to be mainly senior corporate, staffing and recruiting professionals, aka, THE PEOPLE WHO CREATE AND OVERSEE THE PROBLEMS THAT WE IN RECRUITING AND HAVE TO SOLVE. Their companies paid thousands of dollars (if you include travel and accommodations) to be told (I would guess) nice, comforting things about how well they were doing, aka, *just what they wanted to hear" and probably making the attendees feel they could actually do something useful, when (I think) very little would change at the company after the con. It didn't seem like there were plain-old corporate recruiters like me. Thus, those of us who (theoretically) could most benefit from relevant, useful information weren't attending it.



1) Do you think that many of the high-level staffing head attendees of them had done, considered, or perhaps even advocated at the con the following alternative action: Spend a small fraction of what it cost to go to a major co on an off-site, off-work hours meeting with food and drinks provided for the PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY DO THE RECRUITING WORK. There, they'd ask US how to improve our jobs, would implement what we needed, and would fight for it against the opposition that would very likely arise. What's rarely considered is that after a few weeks working, the most junior "newbie" scheduler, sourcer, recruiter, whatever knows more how to improve their own job than the most experienced self-proclaimed "Recruiting Thought Leader," SVP of Staffing, or CEO will EVER know, just as those people know more how to improve their own jobs than anyone else ever will.

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Comment by Anna Brekka on May 21, 2014 at 11:08am

Keith – I believe it is not one or the other, it’s a combination of both. Internal review and external exploration that hopefully lead to internal progress.

A conference is all about leaving the 'bubble of work" and going out into the world in order to explore new ideas and concepts to be shared and possibly even implemented with the team back at work. Some companies even have a pre-conference team meeting where the attending member is debriefed  and comes to the conference with a list of "what we are looking for and what we need". But, as with any exploration you might not find what you are looking for. Maybe you will find something you didn't even knew existed, or maybe you learned that you are not alone in this less than perfect recruiting world we operate in.  The peer to peer networking during an event is often where attendees picked up most value.

A good sourcing and/or recruiting conference clearly advertise the conference objective and states who will benefit from attending. The conference program is designed to address specific topics (problems/needs) and often address the same topic with two or more sessions by different presenters in order for the attendees to explore different perspectives.

A good conference experience requires work. Learning is not a passive pursuit. Attendees, presenters and the conference organizers all have to be willing to meet up with an open mind and willingness to share. It’s not just about sharing knowledge or being "talked at" it’s about introductions and interactions with people who might have a good tip or two. A conference is what you make it!

Samples of conferences that are very clear about what they offer and who they are for Talent42;  SourceCon; GPTW; HRTech and a lot of the local SHRM chapters as well.  Make your selection carefully.

Comment by Keith Halperin on May 22, 2014 at 7:53pm

Thanks, Anna. I find very few cons oriented (and priced) toward workaday corporate and contract recruiters, particularly those who work for SMBs.

As the bank robbers said when asked "Why do you rob banks?" and he said "That's where the money is."-       the money is NOT with us (or at least with me and those like me).




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