I attended the inaugural RecruitDC unconference yesterday. My expectations for the event is that it will be similar to the Social Recruiting Summit but with a broader sense on recruiting in DC. 

At first, it didn’t start well since the stage was a rink and had to hold off my emotions. I wasn’t this emotional since my family threw away Pedro the Christmas Tree in the mid 90s, although Lance Haun reminded me the stage look like a scene from Tron and thankfully, I was not asked to wear this.

Anyway, the keynote speaker, Gerry Crispin, spoke about the candidate experience.  This was the first time I met Gerry in person but from others, through blogs and social media, they were saying great things about Gerry…and they were right.  Gerry discuss the candidate experience and how organizations are trying to enhance the candidate experience.  L’Oreal is a great example of how the company uses their site to customize the experience for the visitor.  Gerry has a great understanding of what’s trending in recruiting and the future it holds.

The next session for me was to understand Facebook pages since it is the only social media aspect that I have trouble with.  The session gave me a good idea how should I do, but will have to discuss with the HR department and NPR’s social media guy, Andy Carvin on how to incorporate the careers site to Facebook or be it separate.

The next one I attended was the sourcing panel and I have started committing to sourcing 6 months ago and it has improve my recruiting skills significantly.  The sourcing panel was great explaining their tips and strategies.  The only complaint I have is when they were showing their sourcing tips onscreen, it was very small to read.  Since they had two screens, I would like one screen as the general screen and the other screen to zoom in on what they are typing.

After lunch, it was to the recruiting challenges panel and two big discussions came out of it: One came from the back channel where one of the panelists would like to ask “What Would You Do?” and from Twitter, someone counter with, “What Will You Do?” 24 hours later, I’m still pondering what is a good question.  The other big discussion is ROI.  I will write more on ROI tomorrow but I will say that I’m mixed on ROI and leave it at that. 

Next was the veterans panel and to be frank, I didn’t pay attention because the military is not my strong suit, but I will echo the panel that veterans should have a fair shot at getting a job they’re applying and employers should be aware the conditions the veterans were in.  By tone, the veterans panel was the most passionate and emotional of all the sessions.

Finally, the last session was the recruiter career development panel.  The key point from that panel I got was all the people who were in attendance in that session, not one recruiter raised their hand when they want to move up to HR Generalist.  This means people really love recruiting or we have a bigger gap between recruiting and HR.  My guess is more towards the latter since most companies assume recruiting is part of HR and those companies probably don’t appreciate HR, hence why recruiters want to be their own division.  That was the only key point I got from the discussion.  When someone mentions, “Getting a seat at the table,” you just lost the audience.  Also, I would like to see 1 or 2 people who are in a small HR department to get a different perspective of their career development and not 5 big companies.

Usually I would start with the good, but in this case I want to start with the bad:

  1. I was offended about the last panel on career development when someone mention that if you work in a small company, there’s not much career development.  If you ask me, there is career development if you’re the only HR person in that company.  You can ask yourself to expand responsibilities, you deal with executives at anytime, you play by your own rules along the boundaries you’re given, you can change titles and if you’re stuck on something, you can ask your peers for advice.  There is career development in small organizations, but that person must have the will to do it. 
  2. There wasn’t a lot of networking time, but to be fair, the Metro threw everyone off their schedule with delays on the red line.  What do you expect?
  3. WiFi was spotty, but we were told about that yesterday, so there was no surprise, but it was frustrating at times.
  4. Everything was falling (not a serious negative, by the way).

Now for the good great:

  1. The Woolly Mammoth theatre was a great venue to hold an event.  Balcony seats, the stage, the space was a wonderful choice.
  2. If you measure how much the conference presentations/panels will incorporate to your organization, RecruitDC did the trick.
  3. Meeting new people, old friends, and meeting Gerry, Ben Madden, Kathleen Smith, and the Linkedin crew for the first time.
  4. Being the inaugural event, I was amazed at how well-prepared it was, even the fire alarm warnings, the metro delays and spotty WiFi. 

I’m glad there’s going to be another RecruitDC coming up (maybe one more before the year ends) and hopeful we get a similar venue like Woolly Mammoth but with 3G/WiFi and I want to thank Ben Gotkin, Jessica Lee, Kelly Dingee, Kathleen Smith, and the rest of the RecruitDC committee for setting up the event and I hope everyone learn something that you can utilize for your organization.


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