HR Technology Conference 2013The HR Technology Conference is always the premiere conference for the HR Technology Space and this year was no different.  There were a number of very interesting and forward thinking sessions, the expo floor was buzzing with new innovations and messaging and the people that flew into Vegas were amazing.

So without delay here are some of my thoughts on the conference:

People, Thoughts and Conversations

One of the biggest reasons I love this event is that it’s a networking dream.  Anybody that’s anybody in HR and talent acquisition is at this event and it’s a tremendous opportunity to create relationships with influential speakers, thought leaders, vendors and practitioners.

Whether it’s at the Cornerstone / HireVue after party, during an event session or walking to and from the expo, I always reconnect and meet for the first time great people that remain friends to this day.  And for me personally, it’s also an opportunity to meet Twitter friends in real life, which is always a fantastic experience.

And while I’ll name a few people below, here’s a better list of all the great influencers that were at this year’s HR Tech that you should connect with: #HRTechConf 2013 Twitter List

Here are some of the best conversations and observations I had this week:

  • The big theme from this year’s event are Big Data and Analytics with every solution had some sort of analytics component.  I think Chris Hoyt said it best, “Big Data is only good if you do something with it.”  So I encourage any buyer to determine what they want to measure (vendors can help a little here), figure out what solutions can measure and then determine the analytics and solutions that work for them.
  • Had a great conversation with Gerry Crispin on discussing with candidates the impact of referrals on their overall hiring.  If a company hires 50% of their workforce from referrals shouldn’t candidates know before they apply (so they can connect with current employees)?  Really interesting thought.
  • Always good to talk with Adam Eisenstein from McGraw Hill Financial.  They are doing some really interesting initiatives with their candidate experience (CandE Award winner this year) and employer branding initiatives.  I love the concept around the “Be Essential” in financial markets campaign.
  • Talking Source of Influence with Bill Boorman and what it could tell us about the quality of the candidates that have applied.  I definitely think this is something that will become a bigger part of recruitment analytics.  For those that don’t know, Source of Influence is the concept of measuring every touch-point that a candidate has with your organization not just the final source of application.  This would include social engagement, Career Site messaging and other recruiting assets.
  • Walking around the Expo Floor it was hard not to see the evolution of the recruitment marketing technology space.  We’ve been talking about “recruitment marketing” for over 3 years and you can really see the market adopting this language and pushing solutions forward.  It’s an exciting time.
  • While I’ll have a more robust session post tomorrow, I love this video shared by Jason Averbook during his ending keynote: It’s Not the Nail
  • Great conversation with Kyle Lagunas from Brandon Hall Group on the growing talent acquisition space.  Looking forward to his research on the space as it should be very insightful!
  • There are a number of interesting booth constructions around the hall and while some were more impressive than others, I really liked what HireVue did.  Having customers at their booth to present to attendees was a great way to show the value they provide to organizations.
  • Interesting talks about the recruiting in Australia with Kevin Wheeler and emerging marketplace that is forming down under.
  • I really enjoyed being a guest with Bryan Wempen on the DriveThruHR radio show at HR Tech.  I had a blast talking about what I was seeing at the conference, important things to think about when looking at recruitment marketing solutions and general tips when evaluating vendors.  You can listen to the conversation here.
  • Really excited by all the companies that are embracing a better candidate experience that I saw at The Candidate Experience Awards session and reception.  There’s some really great stories here!
  • Boy, would I not like to be a HR technology buyer right now!  Not because there are not great solutions out there but mainly because it’s a confusing marketplace.  Messaging for products overlaps a ton and it’s hard to truly know what’s under the hood of these solutions without making a deep dive.  HR buyers that want to be truly successful need to really focus on their evaluation process and less on making sure the check boxes are all checked.
  • A fond farewell to Bill Kutik who will actually be able to experience the event and engage with attendees as a guest next year.  Bill, you’ve built something pretty special and we all thank you for that.

Next Year in Vegas

It think I’ll speak for most people, when I say that the conference is in good hands with Steve Boese.  Already the team has updated the HR Technology Website with a new look and easier to use navigation and I’m excited to see how Steve and team will take the tried and true conference format and add some wrinkles to it.

I will have a post on the Sessions and the Candidate Experience Awards over the next few days so check back in.  And see you next year if not before 🙂

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