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The most unique and powerful aspect of the HR Technology Conference is the convergence of the HCM space into a single location. Any person or technology that is passionate about HCM is at the event and it’s a tremendous opportunity to witness the key trends that are occurring in the space and most importantly, create relationships with some of the best thought leaders in our space.

This is my 5th HR Tech and with that I’ve seen the HCM space grow considerably. And this year we saw a huge boon in awareness for recruitment marketing, the pre-applicant side of recruiting focused on attraction.

As such we saw an increase in the sessions that spoke about recruitment marketing tactics and strategies at the conference.

Recruitment Marketing Arrives in #HRTechConf Sessions

The two sessions that really excited me at the conference were Marvin Smith’s presentation “Lockheed Martin Accelerates with Total Recruitment Marketing” and Kyle Lagunas’s panel discussion “Laws of Attraction: Exposing the Secrets to Success of Recruitment Marketing”.

Both sessions provided real, actionable information on how to begin building out impactful recruitment marketing strategies and championed the need to bring marketing tactics into the recruiting organization.

To provide insights from the sessions, I’ve created a Storify with the pictures and tweets that stuck with me during the session.  Click on the image below:


Conversations in the Expo Hall and After Hours

HR Tech is also one of my favorite events as I can catch up face to face with connections that are incredibly important to me. The HCM space is full of tremendous thinkers and thought leaders and I treasure the conversations and relationships I’m able to have at the conference.

Each year I learn something new and try my best to contribute to the conversation and innovation happening in the HCM space. Here are the conversations and observations from this year’s conference:

  • I’m always impressed with how well Matt Charney understands recruiting and the amount of great content he puts out. I’m incredibly bullish that his ideas around recruitment automation and inbound sourcing and how organizations can use marketing strategies to better find, attract and nurture the right talent.  Philosophically it’s right up my alley although we use somewhat different definitions and terms. I highly recommend reading his most recent post, by the way.
  • Marvin Smith at Lockheed Martin always provides great insight on what’s on the forward edge of recruiting / sourcing and the technology that helps power it. “Everything is in BETA” is my new slogan in life and I highly recommend reaching out and connecting with Marvin.
  • I think I had the same thought as most people, “Third Eye Blind is still together?” Cornerstone OnDemand and HireVue threw a great event and it was good to reminisce on Third Eye Blind’s first two albums at House of Blues. (Apparently, the lead singer is the only original member still with the band.)
  • I heard a lot of positive feedback on QueSocial during the event especially in how they make it easy for company employees to receive pre-approved content to share on their personal social networks. Also, if you haven’t, it’s well worth talking to Josh Schwede over there. Definitely one of my favorite people in HR Tech and incredibly knowledgeable about the space.
  • Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword. Every vendor does it because we have to check the check-box but the vendor hall definitely can be overwhelming to the buyer. Differentiating from all the “me-too” messaging is a tough task and makes it even more important to ask targeted questions of vendors. If you are looking for ideas on questions to ask, check out our Buzzword Guide to the Recruiting Conference Season. It’s meant to help you understand the deeper dive into terms that every vendor throws out.
  • One of the most interesting conversations we had was with Brian Sommer, as we discussed the changing backgrounds and skills we are seeing being attracted to the HR organization.  If you haven’t, his article “The problem is HR, not HR Technology” is an intriguing read.
  • Looking for a great framework for Talent Acquisition? Check out Bersin’s new research from Robin Erickson and Denise Moulton. It’s a tremendous benchmark for companies looking to understand how they can take their talent efforts to the next level. It was great to talk to both on how recruitment marketing is affecting talent acquisition strategies.  They are building a great Talent Acquisition practice at Bersin.
  • Congrats to William Tincup and John Sumser on their new initiative Key Interval. I fully expect it to be a great success due to their honest feedback and advice.
  • I must have passed Steve Boese 10-15 times at the conference and while you would think running the largest HR Technology Conference in the world would be stressful, I never saw him sweat. I thought his first foray at the conference went very well and I heard many positive things about this year’s event.  Big props to Steve.
  • Excited to meet Will Staney IRL at the conference. He’s a superstar and his domain expertise around recruitment marketing and employer branding is hard to top. He was also great on his panel on “Recruitment Marketing” which you can read more about via our Storify above.
  • “Recruitment marketing” means different things to different people, mainly do to the buzzword use discussed above. When we think of Recruitment Marketing we believe it’s the comprehensive term that details everything you do on the front end (“attraction”) of the recruiting funnel. While this term is still being fully defined, the need for systems and processes on the attraction side of recruiting is really picking up steam.
  • Enjoyed our conversation with Sarah White on next generation CRM’s. If there’s one person to talk to about CRM and it’s future for recruiting, it’s Sarah.
  • Caught up with Jeff Waldman on the expo floor. He has a few Social HR Camp events coming up and speaking from experience, they are great events to make real connections in HCM.
  • More research that I’m incredibly excited for is around the Candidate Experience Awards. As you might know, I’m on the CandE Council and it will be great to work with Elaine Orler, Gerry Crispin, Ed Newman and others to dig into the data and provide accurate actionable insights in how we can better improve the candidate experience.  It should be eye-opening.
  • Big fan of Forrester’s Tech Radar research every year and it was great to hear about Claire Schooley’s upcoming recruiting research in the next 6 months.
  •  Hard to believe I haven’t met Zach Lahey in person before this year’s conference. We had a great conversation on the evolution of talent acquisition and the questions we want answered by recruiting analytics for TA teams.
  • It’s always great to be able to spend quality time with Marisa Zona. She is tremendous with data and I always learn something new when we chat. I fully believe organizations that best leverage data in their strategies are the ones that will win and it’s practitioners like Marisa that will help them get there.

Goodbye Vegas!

Having finally caught up from my week in Vegas, it’s time to think about building out plans for next year. It was a great event and I look forward to making it back to Mandalay Bay next year.


One response to “Musings and Observations from #HRTechConf 2014”

  1. Thanks, Chris. I’m more impressed by the amount of awesome content you put out – this post being yet another example of one of the best writers in the business. I tip my hat to you, sir – and appreciate the shout out.

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