Just a note to let you all know that I may be sporadic in my posts over the next two weeks. I flew from DC to London over the weekend and from London to Prague on Sunday, where I currently will be working for the next week. I am at the Hilton Prague Old Town at the moment with a lovely view of the Powder Tower from my room, and in walking distance from some cute little cafes. Next week I will be working from our London Waggener Edstrom office.
I had a great time attending the Fordyce Forum in Las Vegas! As I mentioned in my post shortly after I arrived, the city itself was intimidating for me as a conservative Midwest gal. But I enjoyed my time there. I have stayed in touch with a former candidate (lesson there J) who lives just outside of the city, and as we have become friends outside of our professional relationship, she invited me to hang out while I was in town. We went to the Red Rock Canyon about 30 minutes outside of Vegas and went rock climbing. She also treated me to Mama Mia at Mandalay Bay – what an awesome friend!
The conference itself was an experience! I ran into people left and right that I hadn’t seen in awhile, that I hadn’t expected to see there, and who I’d met through social networks but never in person. I posted about running into Julia and Lisa, but I also had the pleasure of seeing both my former employers, Jon Bartos and Tom Johnston, at the conference. In addition, I got to meet some new Twitter pals – Nick Jimenez and Mike O’Brien of Climber.com. I also got to meet the crew from ERE who’d been so awesome about making arrangements for the conference – you guys did an incredible job!
As far as the content goes, I personally was quite impressed with the presentations. I attended Shally Steckerl’s pre-conference workshop on applying today’s technology to find A+ candidates. His presentation was a thorough overview of internet research – from “this is a search engine” to how to use Boolean search strings to find online resumes. I found it interesting that a question came from the crowd asking why we would need to search the Internet, as all resumes can be found through online resume databases like Monster and CareerBuilder. I believe this lack of knowledge only further solidifies the need for dedicated research AS WELL AS good research training in order for those of us in the recruiting industry to have a good grasp at the vast amounts of information out there, and how to scale it.
I was particularly impressed with Jeff Skrentny’s keynote on Thursday morning. Admittedly, I didn’t know who Jeff was before the conference, but I am glad that I got to meet him! He brought so many good nuggets forth on how to be successful, and even though his presentation was geared toward the recruiting profession, I know that everything he talked about could be applied in our everyday lives. A couple of my favorite bullet points from his talk on the 9 lessons he learned in his best year ever:
- Don’t let email interrupt your day (makes me think of Pavlov’s Dog)
- Build a structured calendar – 55 minute power sessions regularly scheduled into your day
- Exercising regularly helped him achieve his best year to date
- Regularly attend training sessions and get educated
As well, Jon Bartos’ keynote on Friday was also very informative. Jon talked about the generational differences between the Baby Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Gen Y’ers (or millennials) and how it all fits into recruiting as well as retention. Jon shared an interesting perspective of mentorship, that Baby Boomers would make good mentors to Gen Y’ers, because the millennials see them as a sort of grandparent figure and someone who is to be respected. He said that the Baby Boomers could teach them professionally, while the millennials could teach the Baby Boomers about technology. A good trade-off! Jon’s presentation was devoted to how each generation must be approached differently in the interview and hiring process, as well as in work environment and retention. He did a very nice job covering this from all angles and there are plenty of lessons in his presentation that can also be brought back for client education as well.
I sat in on several presentations over the week – Doug Beabout, Mark Berger, Joe Pelayo, and I wish I’d been able to sit in on more! I heard that Stacy Ethun’s presentation on learning from hearing things that you don’t want to hear was great. There’s just a good lesson in that – I think some of the best lessons learned are the ones we know we need to hear but it hurts to hear them. And I have to say, I was surprised yet pleased with something that Doug Beabout said: he said that if he had to choose between firing a researcher and firing a recruiter, he would fire the recruiter first! I think that speaks volumes about the value that research brings to the whole recruitment process, and it’s great to know that our peers are starting to see this.
I received good feedback for my presentation as well. Those of you who know me will understand when I say that I feel I could have done better, but it’s the audience feedback that counts the most. I spoke about things to consider when you are thinking about hiring a researcher – how personality characteristics play a big part, knowing what functions you want performed by a researcher before you begin interviewing, and also some thoughts on how to help a researcher be successful once they are on board. I am happy that several people came to me afterward and mentioned that the information I shared was helpful! Just in personal reflection, I had sort of talked myself into being nervous so the next time I do something like this, I’ll make sure NOT to do that J While talking in front of crowds is not the most comfortable place for me to be, I do love what I do and I want to do whatever I can to help educate people on the research function and the benefit it brings to an organization.
Make sure you check out the post event tab on the Fordyce Forum website – many of the PPTs from the presentations are available to view there, as well as some video snippets from the presenters. And keep an eye out for the next Fordyce Forum as well – I was pleased and honored to be invited to participate in this one, and the next one is sure to be even better.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Bill Vick of “Big Biller” and “XtremeRecruiting.tv” fame. Bill put the video of our talk up in a few locations, including the Fordyce Letter and XtremeRecruiting.tv. Check it out!