Saturday, April 21, 2007

ERE Expo - The Pictures

ERE Expo Spring 07

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Friday, April 20, 2007

ERE Expo - Day 3

Day 3 kicked off for me with an early workout, providing me much needed energy for the day. The conference continued with a presentation by Jeff Bonrey, CEO of Trovix. It's funny, at conferences like this, you often hear many conflicting messages as to what is most critical in the talent acquisition space. Some of the speakers are very strong and convincing, and sometimes, they are not. Mr. Bonrey has an interesting product, he told us to change, but didn't offer much new to think about. I also disagreed with him that recruiting is all about amassing resumes. It's about building and cultivating relationships. Arte Nathan emphasized that on Wednesday, and Michael McNeal emphasized that further with the presentation that followed.

Michael truly is one of the best in the business. I first heard Michael speak back in the late 90s when he was still with Cisco. He was funny, provocative, and incredibly innovative then. Little has changed over the years. Intuit is lucky to have him now. Michael's presentation focused on building out a strategy that focuses on the Employee Experience. Can't wait to go back to the details of his presentation, this was really good, relevant stuff for me and my firm. He said that he was instructed to get everyone motivated. Mission Accomplished!

After taking care of some business, I rejoined the conference for the afternoon sessions. The first session was with Kevin Wheeler, who asked if Social Networks were hype. Kevin's grasp of technology and it's effect on the emerging workforce is fantastic. Are Social Networks hyped? He argues that the hype is overinflated now, but many of these networks will endure and eventually become the norm of recruiting. It's all about building a Talent Community and Social Networks are the key.

Next came the Bloggers panel, a Q&A session with Jim Durbin, Joe Grimm, Heather Hamilton and Dennis Smith. I got a seat front and center to blog about the bloggers. Todd actually has a great synopsis of the session on the ERE Expo Blog, so no need to be repetitive here. Got some pictures though, which once again should be up by the weekend.

The show wrapped up with the always entertaining and insightful Dr. John Sullivan. Dr. John was controversial as usual (heard a few gasps from the recruiter next to me), but this talk was different. It was really a fantastic view into the do's and don't for building a Career Website today. Perfect timing for me as we are in the process of redesigning my firm's website right now.

And then, it was done. It went by way to fast, as most good things do. I did hook up with Jason Davis and Cheezhead for a great meal and even better discussion before calling it a night. Time to head home now. I'm tired, yet energized. Several of the sessions were excellent, made some great new connections, found some very relevant vendors at the Exhibit Hall, and as always, the networking was priceless. Kudos to ERE for another great show. And kudos to ERE for bringing the fall show to my home town, Washington DC. If I didn't see you here in San Diego this week, I hope to see you in DC in October!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

ERE Expo - Day 2

Started the day very early (which typically happens when I travel to the Left Coast). This was OK because I had a 7AM conference call anyway. After the call, I headed down to the conference where Jason Goldberg kicked things off once again, this time with his review of Web 2.0 and what it's implications are for recruiting, including a brief sales pitch on Jobster. Towards the end of the event, he invited Joel Cheeseman up for what was promoted as the "Main Event". Joel had some very direct, biting questions, and Jason was very smooth and 'political' with his responses. Turned out to be quite tame actually, no blood was spilled, and honestly, there were likely many in the room who probably didn't even know what the feud was about anyway.

After some helpful hints from the Conference Chairman, Jeremy Eskenazi, Arte Nathan took the stage and wowed the crowd with his energy, colorful humor and 'cut-through-the-BS' attitude. He was a true pleasure to listen to, and repeatedly made the point that what we do in recruiting is all about the people. IMO, I think he undervalues the importance of technology, especially as it relates to Gen X and Y, but his overall point of valuing personal relationships over technology was well made.

I was able to catch up a little work thanks the the free wifi access here, then headed off to the Exhibit Hall for lunch and to chat with some vendors. Dennis Smith and I then trolled the hall with an interest in chatting with a few specific vendors. Got to see the new premium product that The Ladders will be rolling out soon too. Looked very interesting. I plan to spend more time in the Exhibit Hall today.

The afternoon sessions were interesting, I took in the Google Staffing Analytics session (oh my, to have the resources they do to do what they do). They are truly making the selection process a science over there. Following the Google session, I took in some of Shally's International Sourcing training, then headed next door where I was to be a facilitator during the 'Speed Brainstorming' session on the topic of Direct Sourcing. We had a group of 11 recruiters, including Microsoft sourcing-guru, Glenn Gutmacher. We had a lively discussion around what sourcing was, what techniques we were using, what sourcing resources are available, and issues around connecting with sourced, passive candidates. Oh, and we will all be getting 'LinkedIn' with each other now too :-)

Had a great evening out with The Newman Group, who took a group of us to the Padres game. Huge thanks to Ed, Kelly and Elaine for a great night at a great ballpark. Finished the evening back at the hotel where I sat in at the ERE Charity Poker Tournament. A great time was had for a great cause. Pictures from the ball game and the Poker Tourney will be up by this weekend.

Time to get ready for the final day of the conference. Michael McNeal and John Sullivan presenting on the same day, should be fun!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ERE Expo - Day 1

Finally escaped from the dreadful Mid-Atlantic 'spring' yesterday on my journey to the ERE Expo in sunny, but only slightly warmer, San Diego. This is the 3rd straight year I have made it out to this great conference, the best recruiting show around.

The flight out was relatively uneventful, oh, except for the fact that I was one swallow of my soda away from ending up in the hospital! About halfway through the flight out here, I was finishing up my soda, chewing some ice when I felt a small metal object in my mouth. Turned out to be a metal clip, the type used to fasten bags of ice! I took the clip in the cup back to the flight attendant. The one who served me the drink said "Sorry, but I wasn't the one who put the ice in the bin." Later, when he came through the aisle offering more water (which I refused), he said "You know, once I was eating fish and found a bone in my mouth, It's an imperfect world." The fact that someone made a mistake resulting in a metal object being in my drink wasn't what bothered me at this point. What did was the fact that rather than apologize and promise to be more careful in the future, he felt it more important to cover his backside. I thought Southwest was better than that, guess not :-(

Made to the hotel around 3PM and quickly found a number of friendly faces, including Gerry Crispin, Kevin Wheeler, Dennis Smith, and the ERE staff. The awards dinner was very nice, sat with Gerry, Jeff Hunter and the EA team, a couple recruiting leaders from Nationwide and others. It was good to hear from Gerry (an awards judge) about what set the winners apart from the rest.

This being my 3rd year attending this event, I am now running into people I know at every turn. After dinner, I quickly hooked up with Mendoza, Jason Davis and Heather Hamilton. The networking just keeps getting better and better. I have some nice pictures so far and hope to have them up by the weekend.

Today got off to an early start, and it's going to be a busy one. More on that tomorrow.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sorrow for Hokie Nation

I grew up in Virginia. I applied to Virginia Tech (but went to Univ. of Maryland). I spent alot of time in Blacksburg recruiting VT Engineering students from 1998-2000. I have numerous friends and colleagues who are VT Alumni. I have a connection to Virginia Tech, and today, my heart aches for Hokie Nation.

Virginia Tech is a beautiful school, nestled in a small town in the hills of Southwestern Virginia. It's the last place you would ever expect something like this to happen. But in this day and age, you just never know where something like this could happen, do you. A sad statement on our society today unfortunately.

Today, my only hope is that those connected to VT can heal from this senseless tragedy with time. A Terp's heart is heavy for the Hokie Nation today.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Riveting Rosie suggested that PWC had an even worse video? I had to see for myself, and this is what I found. Not quite as bad as E&Ys, but still, why???

Note: Haven't found any embarrasing videos from my firm yet. Hopefully we can learn some valuable lessons here and stick to our day jobs :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Words can't describe how bad this is. Is it a recruitment video? A teambuilding video? Who cares? What were they thinking???

Tip to Kevin and Johnnie Moore for this :-)

A Few New Blog Links

I'm adding a few new links in the Recruiting Blogs section thanks to a nice article in this weeks WSJ. Check 'em out!

Brazen Careerist
the CHAD
Resume Hell

Monday, April 09, 2007

Name Recognition in a Green Jacket

First of all, big time congrats to this year's Master's Champion, Zach Johnson. Zach just happens to be one of three Golf Pros sponsored by my firm. It was a thrill to see him hold on for such a career boosting victory, and an honor to see such a fine, modest competitor wear our firm's name on his vest throughout his march to victory (he was also kind enough to mention us along with his two other sponsors just before he received the Green Jacket).

I like golf. I played for a few years (not much since the kids came along though) and have an appreciation for the game. And I always try to watch at least some of each Major tournament. So one of the reason's why today was a thrill was to see one of 'our guys' win it. It was awesome to see our firm's name every time Zach was on camera. It was also nice to see the firm's name emblazed on his shirt on the front page of today's Washington Post!

Name recognition is a big concern for our firm, especially in Recruiting. We recognize that we are not a household name, surely not as well known in our industry as we would like, even though we are the fifth largest accounting, tax and business consulting firm in the country. It doesn't help when our Recruiters are making calls and our prospects say, "Sorry, never heard of you".

The firm has been around for 80 years, but most of our growth is recent. Name recognition will come, and our Golf Sponsorships should continue to make the necessary impact over time. Our name has never been in the public spotlight like it was yesterday though. The hope then is that anyone who was paying attention to The Masters saw and heard the name, and will put two-and-two together if they hear from a Recruiter of ours in the future. Name recognition opens doors, it gets people interested in us, and we need that to compete for great talent.

Are most of our prospects golf fans? Will the fact that Zach won translate directly into any hires for us? Hard to say. These sponsorships are designed more for attracting clients than candidates. But there is an impact from these sponsorships, and today's victory by Zach Johnson should continue to help grow our name with clients and candidates alike. Zach is such a great fit with our firm too. He's an up-and-comer from Iowa who no one saw coming. Our firm is also an up-and-comer from Iowa. Hopefully, the difference from now on will be that prospects now and in the future will see us coming.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

No, I'm not a headhunter

It seems that whenever I tell someone for the first time that I'm a recruiter, their response is typically, "So you only find people to work for your company then?" with a quizzical look on their face. It's as if the concept of 'Corporate Recruiting' is such a foreign one; that all recruiters are headhunters. Maybe part of it is that the firm I am currently with (and those that I have worked with prior) are not household names. If I had said, "I am a Recruiter at Microsoft", then maybe they would get it? For the Corporate Recruiters out there, have you ever run into this? And if so, why do you think that concept of being an internal, corporate recruiter is so misunderstood?

Nothing against headhunters, it's just not what I am. I take alot of pride in being a corporate recruiter and have always enjoyed working on the 'inside'. I tried the headhunter route very early in my career and it wasn't for me. I need to feel a part of something, something bigger than me. Even though I've changed employers about every three years or so, I've been fiercely loyal to those organizations (and still am in most cases), and often thought of myself as one of those organizations' biggest cheerleaders. It's not about putting people in jobs. It's about connecting great people with great opportunities in great organizations. It's about having a direct impact on the growth and future of an organization I am a part of. That's what I'm about. So why is it that there are some who apparently don't seem to understand that this role exists in corporate America today?

BTW, how do you like the new 'Snap' link preview I've added in. There are so many cool new blog widgets and tools out there, I just had to add this one.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The MLPF Experiment

I'm a big fan and avid user of LinkedIn. That said, I've been very deliberate in how I've been building up my network. For the most part, I've only been connecting with those who I have had some level of prior interaction with. I have also been strongly encouraging our recruiters to start using LinkedIn, and to connect with me to take advantage of my 1st & 2nd degree connections.

To keep my network growing, I have been committed to adding at least 5 new connections a week, but my ability to do that with those who I have had prior interactions with has become limited. My extended network, although at almost 2 million now, has also slowed in its growth. I have wanted to keep this growing, but how?

Several months ago I signed up with the MyLinkedinPowerForum (MLPF) to learn more about how to maximize my networking through this great tool. People use MLPF for a number of reasons, primarily to bounce ideas off each other or to identify specific opportunities to connect. The forum's moderator, Vincent Wright, does a great job of keeping this forum on track, and in addition, added in a formatted way for new members to introduce themselves. I was hesitant to do a 'Micro-Introduction' myself as I was not ready yet to expand my network beyond those I 'knew'. Yesterday however, I took the plunge.

As you can see from my intro, I have tried to keep the intent of my intro clear and direct. As a result, this morning I have been able to connect with a number of new LinkedIn members who I otherwise might not of connected with otherwise. The key for me is keeping the new connections relevant. I actually had to write back to a couple of those who wanted to connect to ask them how they felt the connection would be mutually-beneficial, as their message to me, and their profile, did not make that clear.

The power of LinkedIn IMO is it's ability to expand your network based on trusted 1st degree connections. This step moved me beyond my initial strategy, so it will be interesting to see what the end results of this action will be. Any way I can help facilitate connections, or connect with others who have mutual interests is a benefit. Have we linked yet? If not, and you feel we should, lets get LinkedIn today!

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