Sunday, October 21, 2007

ERE Expo Fall 07 Recap - Day 2 & 3

Holy cow, what a week! This was my fourth ERE Expo and I don't think that any of them went by as fast as this one did. What makes this even so great? The speakers and the sessions offer a good variety of strategic and tactical content, and I typically get a few nuggets of new knowledge there. But more than that, this event brings together the best-in-the-business time and time again. I learn just as much if not more in my networking at the Expo, get to meet alot of interesting people in the process. I had been looking forward to this for over a year, and now it's come and gone .

When I left you last, the events of Thursday evening were about to begin. We started with a CareerXroads dinner at one of DC's best restaurants, Cashions Eat Place in the nearby Adams Morgan neighborhood. It was a great meal with great company and conversation. Gerry and I had to cut out early though to get back to the hotel for the Charity Poker Tourney. I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by to play at the 'high-rollers' table. I didn't do so great there, but won a couple hands and had alot of fun. Big time congratulations to Jason "The Dynasty" Davis who won his third straight ERE Charity Poker Tournament. Also a big congratulations to the ERE Foundation, that came out big raising over $9K in donations. Job Target and ZoomInfo also deserve recognition for their sponsoring this event. It was a great time for a great cause.

Got home late again, slept fast again, and got back to the Expo Friday morning just-in-time to hear Dan Pink's keynote, which was fascinating and entertaining at the same time (especially with his 'startling factoids'. Dan amazed us with alot of relevant information, including his view that offshoring is overhyped short-term, underhyped long-term, and that routine work is destined to go away in this country the same way that manufacturing has. Gerry led a panel of MBA students/graduates next where they gave us their insight as to what they appreciate and look for in the recruiting process. It really all boiled down to the need for a personal touch in the process.

After lunch, my former boss, Gary Cluff, showed off the recruiting branding video game that he helped develop at MITRE called Job of Honor. I saw a brief demo of this a few months back, but this was the first time I saw the complete version. What MITRE has developed is truly innovative and should go a long way to help educate potential candidates as to what MITRE is all about. The game is available live on MITRE's website (see link above), I strongly suggest that you check it out.

Any regrets from this year's conference? Well I would of liked a little more time to interact with some of the vendors. As the conference went by, everything felt a bit rushed. I was able to reconnect with alot of old friends though and made few new ones as well. The networking gets better everytime. I also would of liked to take more pictures, but just got caught up what I was doing too much and missed alot of opportunities. The pictures I did get though are linked below.

Another great ERE Expo is done, and time to look forward to the next recruiting conference, which actually comes up this week with a trip to the CareerXroads Colloquium in Jersey City. More to come later this week on that event. Until then, just catching my breath, and getting ready for more learning, networking and fun!

ERE Expo - Fall 07

Thursday, October 18, 2007

ERE Expo Fall 07 Recap - Day 1 & 2

The week I've been looking forward to for over a year is finally here! I arrived at the Wardman Park mid-afternoon yesterday to get started on the heavy-duty networking that makes this conference great. Almost immediately, I was able to reconnect with Joel Cheesman, Jeremy Langhans, Mendoza, Ed Newman, Gerry a former colleague (Suzanne), and numerous others. Joel and I had a particularly useful conversation regarding SEO. Soon, the networking spilled out to the welcome reception hosted by The Ladders, which was very nice, but dinner was still necessary. So a group of us headed over to the Adams Morgan neighborhood for a very nice dinner at the rooftop restaurant, Perry's.

Got home late, slept fast, got up early, and headed back to the conference again this morning. Got to reconnect right away with my old team at MITRE, a nice start to the day. In regards to the Expo itself, I won't go into too much detail here regarding the sessions, you can get that at the ERE Expo Blog. I enjoyed most of the sessions I attended today though. Learned a few interesting things from Anne Ceruti from Disney, including their heavy Accounting recruiting efforts in Burbank. I knew that Jim Larranaga's session would be great as I've heard him speak before. He energized the room and was a hard act to follow.

I was off then to check on some email and to start work on this post, when I ran into Steve Levy, who I've exchanged communications with many times before, but was now meeting for the first time. Lunch soon followed in the the Exhibit Hall with Steve, Mendoza, and Steven Rothberg, another blogger who I was able to meet for the first time.

After lunch, sessions followed learning about the Dell Talent Acquisition Academy (very timely since we are planning our own recruiters conference coming soon), and about how American Express is building their talent pipelines. Most of this I am writing as I'm listening to Mark and Gerry wax poetic about everything from SLAs to data integrity, trends, recruiter requisition load, and more.

Soon we will be heading off to a great dinner, followed by the Charity Poker tourney. More on that tomorrow, and pictures will be up soon as well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Welcome to DC ERE!

I'm so excited! We are a week away from my favorite recruiting conference in my home town! I'd like to offer a heartfelt DC welcome to David Manaster, ERE and the hundreds of recruiting professionals and vendors attending this week's ERE Expo. This most certainly will be an exciting event, chock full of thought leaders, cool technology, energetic speakers, and more.

Hopefully you will get the opportunity to look around DC while you are here. Last year, I put together a local guide for those coming into town for the 2006 SHRM convention. Check it out for suggestions on museums, monuments, restaurants and more. Honestly though, this is the best time to be in DC. The summer months are hot, humid (actually, it still was up until earlier this week!) and mobbed with tourists. Complete with torrential downpours, the SHRM conference experienced all of that. Fall in DC is my favorite. The leaves are turning, the weather is cooler, and tourist season is over. A hotel room overlooking Rock Creek Park should offer a stunning view. The historic Wardman Park Marriott is also in a great part of town.

Looking for great restaurants? DC has one of the hottest restaurant scenes in the country right now. Adams Morgan is chock full of great ethnic restaurants and is only a short walk away. Cleveland Park is a long walk/short Metro ride away and offers a number of great restaurants including one my favorites, Palena. Others restaurants that I did not list last year include:

- 2 Amys (great pizza)

- Cafe Atlantico/Minibar (a culinary adventure)

- Citronelle and City Zen (got a REALLY big expense account?)

- Kinkead's (best Seafood in DC)

- Sushi-Ko (not a sushi fan myself, but this is supposed to be the best.

- Vidalia (DC is a southern town at heart you know...)

Looking to explore on foot? Within a short (or long) walk, you have the National Zoo (free of course), Rock Creek Park, and the National Cathedral. Or, take a short cab ride to Georgetown. Take the Metro to the Smithsonian Museums (BTW, the American History Museum is closed for renovations), The Mall and the Monuments. In fact, one Monument that I didn't mention last year was the FDR Memorial. This stunning Memorial is a short walk from The Mall by the Tidal Basin. I was back there for the first time in years and forgot how beautiful it was, unlike any other Monument in DC. Oh, and if you can, check out the Monuments at night, truly the best way to see them.

I love DC. My Grandfather, my Father and I were all born within it's city limits. I'm proud to call DC home with all it has to offer. So enjoy the ERE Expo for sure, but also be sure take some time while you are here to see what DC can offer you. I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Over the course of this blog, I have documented the growth of my LinkedIn network. I've been an evangelist of LinkedIn with my employers and colleagues alike. The strategy for growing my network has been deliberate and targeted, to the point where I can say that I actually 'know' over 75% of my 1st degree connections. Even with this strategy, I've been able to grow my network at a relatively steady and brisk pace.

Back in July 2006, I made it to 100 connections (1 Million 3rd degree) and thought I was all that. In April of this year I grew my network substantially via MLPF. In May, I was at about 350 1st degree connections and was concerned about the integrity of social networks. Then, in July, I hit 400 (2.6M 3rd Degree).

Today, I hit what is essentially the landmark number for LinkedIn, 500 1st degree connections. Fittingly, my 500th connection is none other than Dave Copps, the pioneer who is revolutionizing semantic search for recruiting purposes, specifically the enhanced ability to easily source from what he terms the edge of the web, places like blogs and social networks. I'm a big fan of Dave's, so thank you Dave for accepting the invite and I hope we cross paths again soon, at ERE next week perhaps?

As for now, when you see me on LinkedIn, you will see that nice '500+' in my profile. And if we haven't connected on LinkedIn yet, and you see a mutual benefit to connect, send me an invite today. I've said it before and I'll say it again, LinkedIn is the greatest business networking tool around. And if diamonds are a girl's best friend, if dogs are man's best friend, then LinkedIn is most certainly a Recruiter's best friend!

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Busy Day In The Big Apple

Heading home on the train from NYC as I'm writing this post after a long, long day visiting our New York office, and attending the Select Minds CONNECT Conference. The day started with a productive strategy session with our local recruiters, and I think we came away with some ideas that should raise the bar and generate more candidate flow. After lunch, I headed a few blocks over to the Sofitel Hotel for the Conference.

I've been keeping my eye on Select Minds for a while as I like what they are doing in the alumni portal and corporate social networking space. There were several good presentations, including the always interesting and entertaining Mark & Gerry. Also got to meet our new sales rep and the charming CEO of Select Minds, Anne Berkowitch, in the process. It was nice to see Jennifer from Bearingpoint again too.

Much of what I heard confirmed things I already knew. But there were a few juicy nuggets that I was able to walk away with too. Will we go with Select Minds as a vendor? Hard to say right now as we are in the early stages. But the clear consensus from some of their key clients was that it would of been much more costly to build out similar functionality on their own. Up until last week, my scope in this space was solely focused on building an alumni program. But I'm becoming more convinced that an alumni program is just part of a larger corporate social networking strategy, one designed to more effectively leverage knowledge, relationships, career growth, retention efforts, and business development opportunities. Corporate Social Networking is anything but a fad IMO, it is becoming more and more of a component of overall business success.

Thanks again to Doug at Select Minds for convincing me to attend today, and thanks to the crew on Sixth Ave. for a productive morning and a nice lunch.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

It's a Matter of Source

I haven't written here in about a week because I've been working on something else that has taken up much of my time and effort. I believe that a fundamental shift is needed in our overall talent acquisition strategy. A shift that requires us to move away from reliance on traditional, 'reactive' recruiting sources and practices, and towards more 'proactive' sources and long-term strategies. The competition in our industry, and what the future holds, demands no less.

Over the next few weeks, I will be developing Source Utilization whitepaper for our Firm. This whitepaper will explore our past and current source utilization metrics and strategies, which will in the process make the case for a realignment of resources to better enable our firm to improve the quantity of quality candidate flow.

The biggest challenge in undertaking this effort is the data. Data integrity is critical, and for a variety of reasons, the data we have up to this point is not what I would consider to be highly reliable. Then there is the whole issue of how to gather this data in the first place. Mark and Gerry at CareerXroads make the valid argument that candidates often arrive at your doorstep via a variety of sources, not just one source, which is what most organizations (including ours) track. Or even worse, they don't know themselves the true source, or select the wrong source by error. For example, I saw a few examples just last week of college students who selected 'Employee Referral' as their source. Yes, they may of been 'referred' by an employee, but they will be involved in the college recruiting process, and therefore don't qualify as 'employee referrals'. Getting this right in the long run will require great diligence by our organization to identify the one, most relevant source for our candidates, especially our hires (even though the selection of one source may continue to be a flawed measure).

The data we have today though will have to be sufficient. Even it isn't highly accurate, it should be reflective enough to show where were we are now, and where we need to get to. Our management needs to be educated as to where our candidate flow comes from, the cost, quantity and quality related to those sources, and which sources moving forward will best support our talent acquisition needs.

I believe that the source utilization metric, as flawed as it may be, is the singular most critical metric needed to chart one's recruiting strategy. It's all about maximizing quality candidate flow in the most cost effective manner possible. Check back as I'll share what I can from this effort.

Also coming this month will be recaps of the Select Minds Conference next week in New York, ERE in DC in mid-October, the CareerXroads Colloquium the following week, the story of the launch of our new RIMS, and much more. October is going to be a VERY busy month...