The magic of a roundtable

I’ve always been a start-up, smaller company kind of gal. I think the largest organization I’ve ever worked for had about 160 employees – and that was big. Many more have been along the lines of the 25-75 range. It suits me. In small companies and start ups there is no time for bureaucracy. Something needs to be done – everybody pitches in and gets it done – not matter your title or official job description.

And that may explain why I like unconferences. There is less (or no) structure and everyone feels comfortable contributing to the conversation. At least if it’s done well.

And last week I attended one that was done well – TRU Boston – put on by Bill Boorman at the great Bullhorn Reach offices. At times it felt more like a meeting of the knights of the roundtable than a conference. I think Arie Ball of Sodexo summed it up best when she said that you don’t come out of an event like this with a big idea but you get lots of smaller ones that you can implement as soon as you return to your office. And I agree.

What I really liked:

It was not a kumbaya event. There were divergent opinions and you got to air them out.
People listened to each other and thought about what was said and then participated. Truly! That just doesn’t happen often enough anymore
I’ve always felt marketing & recruiting shared many of the same skill set. Confirmed by many at this conference for me. But none more than Johnny Campbell and his brilliant take on how to use a webinar to get candidate leads…not sales leads.
Every vendor there had recruiting issues and every recruiter there had vendor issues…we helped each other out with both – albeit warily. Which is why the session who came first customer or candidate was spot on. The answer in my opinion – who cares? We’re all customers and we’re all candidates and both need to be respected and paid attention to if you’d like your business to thrive.
What I took away:

There are those who believe as passionately as I that marketing branding & employer branding can work together and share leads and resources and should do so more often
That there is a science to going viral…and I’m still not sure anyone has it all figured out, but got some good pointers
That workplace flexibility seems to be a no brainer for start ups, burdensome for large companies and that employment laws that vary from state to state here are a difficult concept for international peeps to grasp.
That Facebook communities should absolutely have a recruiting tab to convert those who already love your brand into workers who can help improve your brand and product.
That there is no substitute for old fashioned skills like research, good communication, and the courage to pick up the phone and talk to someone (or maybe even “stalk” them through foursquare to show up at their local Starbucks to talk face to face)
That apparently way more people are much more open on social media than I am…and I probably won’t be recruited as easily as they will be…and I am very much okay with that.
That some people are actually measuring social…and it happens to be in HR at UPS. Nicely done Mike Vangel!
That working in an office might be fun again…I’d actually been heading in this direction for a bit, but some conversations I had at TRUBoston made me believe it may be time to head back into highly-evolved cubeland.
What I didn’t quite buy into:

That an unconference means disorganization. It wasn’t my conference and I am in marketing. But I would have had more information out earlier and promoted more about the conference, who was attending, and maybe built a community aspect for it. I heard about how to build Facebook communities to recruit for the HardRock Cafe…I think a FB community could have been similarly used to inform about this and all the TRU Events.
That Facebook is a great recruiting tool for all. We learned about 3 companies using it…all hiring hourly workers. I’m not saying it can’t be used for higher-end, I just am not seeing the same kinds of success stories there as with hourly workers.
That LinkedIn recommendations are all that. Hearing some recruiters in the room say that they checked LinkedIn first and if the candidate didn’t have any recommendations they treat them as lesser of a candidate. My take – friends ask friends to put recommendations on LinkedIn knowing they will be friendly and happy ones.
That a passive candidate is better than an active one…c’mon, enough now on this one. Finding the right person for the job is all that counts. Who cares what they did yesterday…instead recruiters should care about what they’ve done long term and if they are a good fit for the company.
I don’t get out much with my current work/life fit but I’m glad this conference came to me…and I’m glad I was able to juggle my way into attending.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>