Every day when I pick my kids up from school, I ask the age-old mom question: “What did you learn today?”
Of course, they roll their eyes, but it doesn’t matter. The best way to make sure that you retain interesting and valuable information is to talk it over with someone. That’s the theory behind so many industry conferences.
The theory is the same post-conference: I always try to find the high note and the Social Recruiting Strategy Conference had many. Ready to get schooled in recruiting?
The Been-Here, Done-That
I spoke to several recruiting pros who wanted to know how to attract factory workers, not gamers. Let’s face it: While most branding presentations are inspiring, they aren’t practical to people who aren’t in sexy industries like entertainment, social media and music.
While the Brendan Browne presentation on how to build a scalable recruiting process had fewer exciting videos and cubicle shots, I left with way more information on how to actually build a world-class recruiting function. From using readily available data to set expectations at the beginning of a search, to using a simple SWAT graph to determine the best approach for the each candidate and dividing the work among a team, the information was applicable to literally any business in the room.
The Theme of One-to-One
Customizing your recruiting pitch to individuals was a big theme this year, and with good reason. These days, the tools do exist to make recruiting more about the ask than about the search. Bryan Chaney pointed out different ways to customize your message depending on company standards, and ways to use search tools to “not be so creepy.”
As automation continues to creep into our daily activities as recruiting professionals, it will take more marketing and nurturing skills to stand out from the pack, especially to candidates. In the same way Anthropologie knows I was looking at that floral sweater, recruiters can find information about where candidates fell away from the process or what jobs they were most interested in, even if they haven’t yet applied.
The Tools, Tricks and Hacks Recruiters Are Using
I learned about a ton of new tools and tricks that I’d never seen before. Joel Cheesman spoke on mobile and gave some exciting examples as to how NFC (near-field communication) could work for recruiting, particularly retail and restaurant staffing.
Finally, in my own session, I introduced recruiters to the beauteous wonder of marketing automation and lead generation, plus some “get these today because they are free” tools like Rapportive.com, the Buffer app and advanced LinkedIn analytics.
The Truth About Big Data
There were quite a few high points, but No. 1 for me was the takedown of Big Data by Dave Mendoza. A longtime advocate of what data can do within the enterprise, he dismantled the mystery around Big Data and put the onus squarely on the recruiting and sourcing team by focusing on process and complete records. The advent of social, said Mendoza, allows talent-acquisition teams to create records that age far slower than those dependent on work email addresses or company phone numbers.
The Overall Takeaway
Nearly every session had one key takeaway, but the underlying theme was that of being better. For years, recruiting has been on the receiving end of tools that make it ever easier to search and locate, simultaneously making our jobs easier and more difficult.
The tools have changed the core competencies of those who win in recruiting to more soft skills, like the ability to have a conversation and use their applicant tracking system and the data it contains to their advantage. It’s almost as if we’ve come full-circle, with that customized 3-by-5 card, a phone and a desk being replaced by a CRM record, a Skype number and a stand-up desk.
In essence, while plentiful, industry conferences help me to regain my focus on what recruiting practitioners actually are struggling with, and it is as varied as the industries and companies they represent. The solutions that will solve these problems don’t just exist within vendor brochures or advanced training classes, as much as the common sense and desire to serve both our organizations and the people who work in them.