Last week (12/5/11) I had the pleasure of attending the Talent Net Live (TNL) Recruiting Conference in Chicago (Aurora to be specific).  This was a most interesting experience for me personally.  While I am a well travel HR/SHRM conference attendee, this was actually the first full-blown recruiting conference that I have ever attended.

In most if not all  organizations, Recruiting is part of HR.  Part of what I do in my day job is recruiting, but I do not do it exclusively. Most of the people in attendance are recruiters and that i s all they do.  So suffice it to say I was somewhat out of my element, a little uncomfortalbe , because they all swam in the same pond and I don’t swim there.  I was on the inside but still felt like I was an outsider looking in from the outside. To be clear, all of the problem was in my head.  I was treated really well by conference organizaer Craig Fisher and his entire TNL Crew.

The entire event was about recruiting, how to do it better, tricks from pros in the field, the latest and greatest tech tools as well as several sessions on Talent Communities.  Do you really know what this is?  I had a cursory idea before attending this event.  Now I have good handle on the concept – and I think it is a most interesting concept.  My grotesque oversimplification is this.  Find people that want to be in your organization,  engage them through any means, stay in touch follow-up with them and place them in your Company when you find a match (an open position they want and one the Company feels they are capable of performing).  To me it sounds –  a little wacky – but I get it and could easily see how it works.  All of the costs are up front and your time to fill goes way down if you have people cued up waiting for a vacancy.

Joel Cheeseman talking mobile at TNL Chicago

Another matter that got a lot of attention at the conference was mobile.  The whole world is going mobile. And if you are in the business of recruiting employees, you had better have an app for that – and it better be mobile.  Not just a klunky phone sized version of your web page.  The recruiting app needs to be taylored, tweeked and tuned in for mobile.   I attended an excellent session on this with Mobile Social Media Guru Joel Cheeseman.  Joel taught me this; mobile apps go up and down not side to side and they have big buttons.  That is great information.

Another thing I learned is recruiting is moving heavily toward video.  The fact that the even was at JSTN speaks volumes.  JSTN is going to revolutionize the way video is used in recruiting.  Take that to the bank folks.

There were a couple more concepts coming out of the conference that were new to me.  The first was metrics.  Recruiter have a whole set of their very own metrics.  No Voodoo or anything here, just serious straight up definable, measurable metrics.  I am a better HR person for learning more about the metrics this gang uses.

One more thing I got out of the event was some great software tool tips.  There were session titled Cool Tools and Pimp My Profile.  There were probably two dozen software applications I heard discussed.  Most of them are on the internet and have a free version available on the internet.  Most of them also have a super-charged pay version/upgrade that is available.  But I learned these recruiters are a frugal lot and are not interested in paying for things they can get for free.

I learned more at this one day event than I have at many multi-day events.  This event was the first thing that TNL has done outside of their own backyard in Texas.  My understanding is that there will be more of these one day recruiting events around the country.  I HIGHLY recommend that you attend if you have the chance.  The conference fees are most reasonable (remember I told you these recruiters are a frugal lot).  Conference organizer Craig Fisher is well known in the HR and Recruiting space, accordingly his speaker line up will consist of thought leaders  and well known names in the industry.  And given the size of the event you can meet, connect and network with all of these folks.

If TNL gets back here to the Mid-West look for me to help them promote their events.  They have good stuff to offer. Also look for me to attend – because the content is guaranteed to be  good stuff  – and it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to attend.