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One in hand vs. Two in the Bush

I am sure we are all familiar with the old story/proverb of the value of having one of something vs. the potential of having two or more of the same “something.” In many countries this is known as A bird in hand is worth more than two in the bush.  Essentially, the lesson learned is that having something in your grasp or in fact, something that is “yours” is far more valuable than the potential of having more things but with the risk of having to give up what you already have.

bird-in-handI have found this proverb to be very applicable to modern day recruiting and dealing with hiring managers. You see, at the end of the day, hiring managers are always looking at the value of two in the bush. Meaning, while they may have a candidate presented to them by you as the recruiter that meets a significant portion of the job requirements, many of them are always keeping an eye out for that other potential candidate that meets all of the requirements, requires no training, is a superstar, comes from an identical industry and doesn’t mind working 40 hours of overtime a week with no extra compensation. I am being a bit facetious here, but you get the point.

This is a constant struggle for recruiters – managing hiring managers – and the acceptance of a highly qualified candidate is probably at the top of the list. I know we have all felt the frustration of a hiring manager’s indecision. You source, recruit and present a great slate of candidates. The hiring manager interviews and is impressed, especially with one in particular and indicates to you that they would be a great hire, but…they want to wait “to see what else is out there.” WTH? It is at that point in time the recruiter snaps and wants to put the hiring manager in the rear naked choke hold .

How can recruiters avoid this scenario from happening? Well, the tough answer is that generally speaking, you can’t. Hiring managers often suffer from decision-making paralysis. They have been brought up thinking that there is a “right” hiring decision to be made and all other decisions are wrong. They have been led to believe there is a perfect candidate out there and they want to wait (for you) to find that candidate, because, well you know, they EXIST (yeah right).

How can you minimize this from happening? Well, this is the good news. You can control this a bit.   A lot of this occurs at the intake meeting. Make sure you get a hiring commitment up front from the hiring manager – this works best when it is in writing (can be as simple as an email). You want the hiring manager’s commitment/agreement on:

  1. Providing you with an accurate performance profile: what a person in the job needs to be able to do (this is different form a job description). The reason this is key is because if a hiring manager gives you a job description, it will simply be a laundry list of wishes of things they want in the perfect candidate. Don’t fall for this trap.
  2. Their availability – get a commitment up front as to when they will be interviewing for the role, because well, you WILL find them good candidates. If possible, schedule some dates in advance. This way, you can progress with your screening and your hiring manager has to review potential candidates efficiently as they already have interview times set up.
  3. Agree in writing as to what constitutes a good candidate vs. a great one and get commitment on hiring any “great” candidates. This should be done before the interview and scored immediately after the interview. That way, if a hiring manager agrees that a score of 4+ overall is a “great” score, anyone that scores a 4+ will be made an offer.

Point number 3 is a key one because you are getting the buy in before you meet candidates. This will help you avoid the scenario where you have a candidate interview, they get scored a 4.5, and the manager (despite loving the candidate) still defers and wants to see more candidates. You then need to ask the manager: “So, Bob, you agreed going into the interview process that anyone that scored a 4+ would be considered a GREAT candidate based on the performance profile. Therefore, we were looking for 4+’s during the selection process. We have found you a 4.5 – which is better than the 4+ considered to be great…why would we not be hiring this person? Has the selection criteria changed? Is a 4+ not great? Have the expectations/standards changed? What have we missed here?” It is at this point in time you have to remind them of one in hand vs. two in the bush. “Bob, we can certainly continue to source for you. It may take us another 2-6 weeks to present more candidates that may or may not be as good as this one. In the interim, it is highly likely you will lose the candidate you scored a 4.5. Are you willing to take that risk? This means your job will have been open for over 2.5 months? If you are willing to take the risk, we are willing to continue to source for you.”

Above all, you need to get the manager to understand that THEY were the ones who identified what they were looking for and what GREAT looked like. They have found GREAT and now GREAT is no longer GREAT. What has changed? At the end of the day, the pre-commitment approach will work with many managers. There are still others (who shouldn’t be managing or hiring) that will want to look at other candidates regardless. My advice, if you are an agency recruiter – work closest to the money. If you are in-house, you will need to focus on other clients reqs. if you have them. If you don’t, you still have to suck up the hit to your time to fill metric and soldier on…or move into HR. As always, I welcome your feedback and comments.

Photo courtesy of Pezibear/Pixabay.com

I Want Them Now!

One of the biggest challenges that recruiters face is dealing with managers with unrealistic hiring expectations. Typically it has to deal with things like the hiring manager’s expectations that recruiting will find the “perfect” candidate, but more often than not the biggest challenge centres on how quickly the manager expects to have a candidate hired by you as the recruiter.

Temper TantrumThe irony of all this is that if you ask recruiters what their top challenges are with hiring managers, they will often cite manager (lack of) decision-making in their top three. Quite the dichotomy isn’t it? I have typically seen the first scenario as being more prevalent. That is, due to some combination of poor workforce planning, poor communication, lack of departmental integration, lack of foresight and vision, reactive management style or just overall poor planning, the common scenario we see is that of a hiring manager running to recruiting with a requisition demanding that they hire them four network security specialists “this week.” (You can insert whatever hard to find, specialized skillset you are required to hire for here!)

Sadly, I see and hear these horror stories all the time where managers think/demand that a qualified skilled professional position can be sourced and hired within a week. My advice to others, and my typical response to “requests” like these, is to take a deep breath and fight the urge to respond with why that is a completely insane request and can’t be done. I then fall back on the three legged stool of business which is: Of Fast, Cheap, & Good…you can have two of these things. So that is how I tackle things with a hiring manager who wants someone sourced and hired in a week. In other words, when I hear a request like, “I want them now,” I pull out the old three legged stool.

GoodFastCheap_Pick2In the cast of the example for this blog post, obviously the manager has already picked “Fast” – so if they want someone good, it isn’t going to be cheap. In other words, we will have to throw copious amounts of money at a candidate to get someone committed in that short a time period (perhaps a specialized subcontractor.) We will also need to spend a lot of additional resources to source, pre-screen, interview, test, reference check, etc. within a week. Staying with this theme of already having selected “Fast”, if they also want to minimize costs, (and won’t/can’t commit to the resources required to do this) then quite frankly, you just aren’t going to be able to provide them someone good.

Here is the thing, whether you are in recruiting and/or HR, the worst thing you can tell your business partners, from a credibility perspective, is “no” or why you “can’t” do something. It takes discipline to respond and think differently and respond with the mindset that you can do something and provide options. Likewise, there is no rule that says you have to respond with a “yes” and blindly try to meet the manager’s request – you aren’t in the military!

Provide your manager’s with options and leverage the three legged stool – it can be a very eye opening experience when they truly see what needs to “give” in order for them to “get” what they want. It has been my experience that most rational managers will understand that they can’t, in fact, have it all – that is, a fantastic candidate, hired quickly and at a cheap salary and/or without spending additional monies on the resources required to execute. Clearly spell out what it will take to meet the hiring manager’s demands and then ask them how they would like you to proceed with the campaign.

Here is the other important element to consider – you will also need to clearly identify with the manager what you need from them to make this “Fast” hire happen. That is, they will need to block out most of their own calendar that week for interviews and commit to making a hiring decision as soon as the interviews are done and a candidate is found (from the current pool). More often than not, the “Fast” element will change for you and perhaps you can, in fact, take some more time to hire someone and the request to have someone now will move out a bit.

Better yet, with some basic analytics and reporting, you can show the hiring manager the turnover rate and cost to replace staff that have been hired on short timelines/quick recruiting campaigns – I can pretty much bet the success rate of these campaigns is pretty low. Once the manager sees that they will be going through this same exercise again, or hiring staff, in a month due to the likelihood of attrition, they may change their thinking. Over time, the more you revert to this approach, the better and more reasonable expectations hiring managers will have of you as a recruiter. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Little Golden Nuggets of Recruiting

As Talent Acquisition Specialists/Recruiters, we have many tools at our disposal to help us find the right candidate(s) for our client(s). Setting aside technology/social media, the greatest “tool” at our disposal is our ability to build relationships. That’s right, news flash, if you are in recruiting you are in the relationship building business. Great recruiters actively grow and cultivate their networks and actively work to maintain these relationships within those networks. Candidates want to work with recruiters that they know and trust. The only way you get there is by building relationships.

Golden NuggetNow at this stage, I know I am not telling you anything that you don’t know. In terms of tools and sourcing tactics, there are far more qualified folks out there that you can follow and read about that will provide you with a TON of great information. Folks like Glen Cathey, Will Staney, Lars SchmidtMatthew Jeffery, Stacy Zapar and Jeremy Roberts. These folks are recruiting rock stars. What I can tell you though, is what has worked for me. I have probably conducted hundreds, maybe thousands of recruiting campaigns in my career. By far, the single most effective tool at my disposal has always been employee referrals. Depending on what/where you read, referrals seem to be often either overhyped or undersold. In my opinion, there is no such thing as overhyping the effectiveness of referrals. Most people know that (your) talented employees know other talented employees. It has been my experience that talented people don’t just refer someone because they want to receive some sort of monetary referral bonus. No, they refer because talented people want to work with other talented people. If your employees are engaged in what they do and they believe in your talent brand, they will refer others.

The beauty of referrals is that it is like having 50, 100 or even 1000+ recruiters working for you. My first stop on any campaign is to leverage my internal networks. I make it a point to constantly be speaking with employees about current and upcoming hiring needs. That way, we can manage the (passive) referrals proactively and then the (active) referrals during an immediate campaign. You need to make it a point to get the word out to your employees about EXACTLY what it is you are looking for. You should be doing this for all levels of positions; however, typically the more difficult the skillset is to find, the more effective a focused referral campaign probably will be.

Case in point, we recently ran a campaign out on the west coast of Canada for a very unique skill set. We knew that typical sourcing and recruiting tactics would not give us enough reach and access to the types of candidates we needed to be speaking with. Our first step was to get out in front of staff. We spent days spreading the word across our offices about the type of person (knowledge, skills, ability, performance profile) that we were looking for. We also honed in on our employees whose backgrounds were most similar to the type of individual we were looking for. (Thank you HRIS!) By knowing our employees’ backgrounds as well as being able to identify our best performers, we were able to leverage this referral/recruiting campaign with a great deal of success. The end result was that we were able to hire the majority of the individuals through referrals – no other recruiting costs involved. This couldn’t have been done just using LinkedIn ads/searches, internet searching, etc.

So, to come full circle, as I mentioned earlier, recruiting is about building relationships. However, these relationships are not always externally facing. You must look inside your organization at your current employees. Build these relationships and continue to nurture and foster them. Better internal relationships mean better referrals for you the recruiter! As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Photo courtesy of Les Haines/Flickr.com

You can’t always win on pure talent

One of the things in my personal life that I am very passionate about is the coaching of my daughter’s basketball team. I truly enjoy working with her and the rest of the team as they enhance their fundamental basketball skills and come together as a team. One of the things that we, as coaches, did very well at the start of the season was set the expectations as it pertained to the type of team culture we wanted to have. We were very clear with the girls (and their parents) that we expected them to show up for practices and games on time, be prepared to give 100% at practice/games, listen to what the coaches were trying to teach them and to treat each other and their opponents with respect.  We indicated to them back in October that if they bought into these expectations we would establish a supportive culture of performance that would lead to success (not quite in those “HR” words but you get my drift!)

People concept imageAs the season commenced, we lost more games than we won; however, the girls bought into what we were teaching, they gave 100%, they treated each other with respect and supported their teammates for the betterment of the team.  At the last game of the regular season, we ended up playing the top team in our division (who hadn’t lost a game all year) and we defeated them. Two weeks after that, we played that same team in the league final and beat them again. So what are the lessons learned here as it pertains to HR and business?

Let me be clear, on talent alone, the other team was/is superior to our girls. Generally speaking, their girls are more athletic and are better overall ball handlers and shooters. So on talent alone, they are superior. So what is/was the difference? It was the sum of the parts playing as a team. Our girls came together as a team and played a better team game. They bought into the culture, the expectations and were all very coachable. They bought into the team concept and how equal ball distribution translated into more points for everyone. They understood that it wasn’t about individual success but team success and at the end of the day, they enjoyed winning more than being the person on a losing team with more points.

So what does this all have to do with HR and business? Well, based on my experience, I think the same can be said about our organizations. Often in the war for talent (I still despise that expression) companies (i.e. Talent Acquisition folks) get so caught up in hiring the best talent that they can assemble (skill and experience-wise) that they lose sight of the fact that they should be building teams not collecting talent. With organizations, much like a basketball team, if you have too much “top talent”, there aren’t enough balls to go around to make everyone happy. If you simply have a collection of talented individuals working for you, but there are no expectations set for them, no culture established and no reason to come together as a team, then you will have talented people working in the best interests of themselves and not your company.

Much like the previously mentioned team we defeated, a collection of talented individuals is not going to be a competitive advantage if you can’t harness the power of the group to focus on the team outcomes. One of my favourite bloggers, Tim Sackett, wrote a post last year on his blog – “It’s Not a Talent Contest” that I think really hammers things home. Tim writes, “It’s not a ‘talent’ contest. It’s a ‘winning’ contest!” He further brings home his point by indicating that:

“…it doesn’t matter how talented the other team is, it all comes down to winning the game. Great, you have the best talent, but if you’re losing the game your high level of talent means nothing! …….in reality, the best talent might not help your organization ‘win’….business isn’t a talent game. It’s a winning and losing game…you don’t always need the most talented individuals to win. What you need is people who are willing to give that little bit of extra effort, over those who won’t. This discretionary effort gets you the win, over talented individuals who aren’t willing to give such effort. You need individuals that put the goal, the vision, first. They believe in what you are doing as an organization, and do what it takes to make those goals reality. You need individuals who want to see those around them succeed and are willing to sacrifice themselves, from time to time, to see their peers and coworkers succeed. This sacrifice has nothing to do with talent…..it’s about hiring the talent that will make our organizations successful.”

My apologies to Tim if he feels I edited this incorrectly (I can only hope that he is reading my blog!); however, I feel he is 100% bang on with this assessment. Your team has to have people that put the organization’s/teams goals first. We need to focus on hiring and retaining the right mix of talent that will make our organizations successful. As HR Pros, let’s agree that we should be advising and acting based on that principle. Let’s stop focusing on collecting talent as if we were trying to assemble a complete set of baseball cards. A collection of (top) talent is nothing if collectively they can’t make your organization better/successful. Much like the complete collection of baseball cards, once you assemble them, they typically stay in a box on a shelf collecting dust – they are of no use to you. We need to bring together that optimal mix of individuals that buys into your team concept – they are the ones that will help you to win…whether in business, or basketball. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Top Recruiter – Hype or Reality?

Several months ago I got hooked on watching Top Recruiter: The Competition Miami.  For those of you who are not aware of the show, it is a web-based reality TV show that pits a group of recruiters against each other in team and individual based (recruiting) competitions.  Each episode, there is a recruiter selected as the individual winner of that week’s challenge.  There is also a viewer vote each week that goes towards establishing the overall winner of the competition.  The program is produced and developed by Lavoie Entertainment (Chris Lavoie) and also features several prominent members of the recruiting, human resources and HR technology industries such as Rayanne Thorn, Jer Langhans and Jessica Miller-Merrell .  They function as advisors to the recruiters and in some cases (as with Jessica) they are providing input into who gets chosen as the episode winner(s).

Top recruiter logo-homepageThere has been quite a bit of coverage and exposure of the show on social media and online in general.  There are some in industry that have spoken out (blogged) about the show, questioning the viewing numbers and also indicating that it doesn’t accurately represent the recruiting industry.  The show’s detractors have commented that it focuses too much on the monetary benefits of recruiting – that is, these elite recruiters all drink expensive champagne, drive Porsche’s and wear $3000 business suits.  So, to say the least, it has provided a bit of fodder for those of us in the industry.  When trying to figure out for yourself whether or not the show is all hype or in fact is reality, you need to go into it with your eyes wide open to what it is.  That is, it is a TV show that is meant to entertain and to a secondary degree, inform – not the other way around.  If recruiters and HR Pros watch Top Recruiter and expect it to look exactly like their everyday job(s) they will be disappointed!  Quite frankly, the last thing I would want to watch is a reality show that is filmed at my office!  So, the location of Miami and the Top Recruiter mansion are quite lavish and scenic – there is not doubting that.  But boy, do I enjoy seeing these locations and they make for a great backdrop to the show!

Now that we have established what to expect (it is a TV show and entertainment first) one can now formulate their opinion as to whether or not they think the show is in fact reality or just hype.  Personally, after having watched all of Seasons 1 and 2 and now the first two episodes of Season 3, I think the show does a great job overall of showcasing the recruiting profession.  Sure, some of the personalities are (portrayed) as being a bit over the top, but hey it is  television.  The challenges that they are put through are an accurate reflection of what top recruiters need to be able to do: source using the latest technologies, leverage social media, effectively network and establish credibility, find a candidate on short notice who possesses a unique skill set, interview and assess, pitch candidates on a client’s corporate employment brand, etc.  The recruiters are judged on their ability to be creative, innovative, think on their feet, be professional and credible and how they represent the overall recruiting industry and profession and be able to provide solutions to their customer(s).

Setting aside the glamourous locations the show is shot at (in Miami), I think the show brings far more reality to the recruiting profession than hype.  That is to say, I feel it does a really good job representing what it is like to be a corporate or agency recruiter.  It gives a nice flavour as to the types of scenarios recruiters are faced with and it does shine a nice (positive) light on the necessary skills required to be a successful recruiter.  While not everyone who is in the recruiting business flies around on jets, drives a Porsche and lives in a mansion, the show does highlight that being a successful recruiter can translate into high degree of personal success if you choose it as a profession and in fact, it is a worthy profession to get into.  The show works hard to dispel some common stereotypes that recruiters are all used car salesman types that would do anything for a buck.  Ultimately, the show uses the tagline #themovement.  It’s ultimate aim is to change the way people look and feel about the recruiting profession and I do think they are succeeding (positively) in achieving this goal.

As far as the entertainment value goes, the show has a very high production value.  It is expertly shot and edited.  The challenges, interviews and behind the scenes looks are all spliced together seamlessly.  I find myself feeling that the 20-30 minute episodes aren’t long enough!  So, based on the fact that I feel Top Recruiter shines a nice spotlight on the recruiting industry/profession as a whole, I highly recommend that anyone interested in the profession takes the time to watch.  You will be entertained and you will learn.  Overall, I recommend the show and do feel that Top Recruiter is far more reality than it is hype and I am looking forward to the rest of Season 3 and hopefully a Season 4!

What about you? Have you watched?  What do you think?  Does it accurately portray the profession?  As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

 

What separates good from great in the recruiting world

Back in January of 2013, I wrote about the top 5 attributes of exceptional recruiters.  I cited things like working with a sense of urgency, ability to downstream candidates and being reachable as key attributes that recruiters need to possess.  In hind sight, I probably shouldn’t have shot for such a superlative (exceptional) but my thinking was this, I have seen such a gap in skill sets among recruiters that those who had those attributes stood out in my mind as being “exceptional.”  Maybe I should have simply described those recruiters that work with a sense of urgency, downstream their candidates and communicate well as being “good.”  I mean, at the end of day, if you can’t do those things well, than you probably shouldn’t be in the business!  So what truly makes a GREAT recruiter, or better yet, what do the very best, the “expert” or “exceptional” recruiters do?

RecruiterThe very best recruiters use the telephone – yes, I know that everyone knows how to “use” the phone, what I am getting at is that they use it as the #1 tool in their toolbox.  They are skilled and adept at picking up that phone and sourcing and closing candidates.  They don’t rely on email as their main communication tool.  The very best recruiters also have that uncanny ability to know when to pick up the phone and touch base with a candidate that is going through the recruitment funnel – whether it is to provide reassurance that they are still moving through the process or perhaps to keep them on the “hook” after having accepted an offer so that they are not influenced by a counter offer.  Either way, it is almost like a 6th sense or super power that they possess!

The best leverage social media – of course in today’s social media driven world, great recruiters need to be skilled at utilizing social media to enhance their digital footprint and enhance their professional “brand.”  No, you don’t have to be an expert on every platform; however great recruiters are skilled at utilizing LinkedIn to find great candidates.  (It doesn’t even have to be the Recruiter platform).  They know how to leverage the power of joining and participating in Linkedin groups, they are adept at providing content to these groups and balancing this vs. just putting up job postings. They also know how to run a company page, take advantage of Linkedin’s search functionality and provide their own relevant updates that will drive traffic to their profile.  The very best also have a Twitter presence – they are adept at creating and sharing relevant content so as to enhance their overall SoMe (social media) presence.  Lastly, the very best typically augment all their recruiting efforts through some sort of writing/blogging effort.  They may write content for a Linkedin page, a company/corporate website or perhaps their own blog.  One of the very best at doing this is Tim Sackett – he runs his own blog, The Tim Sackett Project – in addition to running his own recruiting company.  His witty, cutting writing style drives a lot of  interested readers to his blog and overall it enhances his SoMe presence and his “position” as a subject matter expert in the recruiting and HR fields.

Know how to conduct a Boolean search – at the risk of making this blog post a lesson in Boolean searching, all I will say about this topic is that if you are a recruiter and DON’T know what a Boolean search is or don’t know how to run one, then you need to find out how.  Check out Glen Cathey’s blog, Boolean Black Belt, to find out more – you will be glad you did!  This ability truly separates good from great in the recruiting world.

Act as a consultant – whether you work for a 3rd party search firm or a corporate recruiting team, the great recruiters act as recruiting consultants.  They aren’t simply order takers that then march out into the field of battle to find the latest purple squirrel.  Recruiting consultants engage in dialogue with their clients to ensure proper expectations are set and that the recruiting campaign maintains ongoing alignment with these expectations.  Roadblocks, obstacles and delays need to be discussed in a consulting (solutions focused) manner.  Recruiting consultants also coach and guide their clients through the process at all times so that they keep campaigns on track and obtain repeat business.

Finally, the great recruiters are salespeople at heart.  Let’s not try and fool anyone here and call recruiting an HR role.  It may report into HR, which is fine, but it isn’t an HR role.  Great recruiters are great sales people.  They know how to open dialogue, identify a problem and apply a solution, overcome objections, negotiate and finally, CLOSE.  Recruiting is sales through and through – in this case, it is the selling of talent that solves an organizational problem.  The great recruiters know this – which is why/how they seperate themselves from good recruiters.  Their talent lies in the ability to overcome objections, negotiate and close.

So, there you have five key differentiators they separate good from great recruiters.  Feel free to use it as an acid test to compare where you or your team are/is in this spectrum.  The good news for the good recruiters is that all of these areas can be learned/coached and you can become great yourself – as long as you are a recruiter at heart and not an HR Pro in disguise!

What do you think?  In your experience, do these five areas capture recruiting greatness?  Do you have anything to add?  Any disagreements?  As always, I welcome your comments and feedback

Image courtesy of SOMMAI/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In Preparation for LinkedIn Talent Connect

It is hard to believe that it is that time of year again – that is, time for LinkedIn’s annual Talent Connect conference in Las Vegas from Oct 15-17th.  Last year was my first time at the event and in a word, it was awesome.  However, in retrospect, despite my level of preparedness, I think I was still a bit of a deer in the headlights due to the sheer size and awesomeness of the entire conference!  Having “been there done that” a year ago, I feel a bit more prepared heading into this years’ conference.  For those attending for the first time, and in the spirit of Las Vegas, here is my Top (lucky) 7 List of things to do in preparation/advance of Talent Connect:Talent-Connect-Banner

  1. Plan your track: The LinkedIn website has a detailed overview of all the sessions being offered.  For the concurrent sessions, you really should have a plan of attack.  You need to determine what specific areas are of key importance to you.  If you go there and just “wing it”, you may not get as much out of the sessions.  I strongly encourage you to take a look at what is being offered and at the very least, plan a 1, 2, 3 strategy.  That is, pick your top three sessions and whittle down from there.  The pace of the event makes it difficult to make multiple mid-stream adjustments.
  2. Tweet & Re-Tweet:  If you are not on Twitter, there is no better time to get started!  Many of the attendees tweet at the conference providing nice little note-taking nuggets from their sessions.  Often, you are able to attend one session while also gaining valuable info from someone tweeting from another session.  I can tell you this, whatever sessions Jennifer McClure attends, you will be sure to get lots of great info from her Tweets – you should follow her!  You can follow the conference hashtag: #intalent for all the info from the Twitter feed.  Last year, I found that by Tweeting from #intalent, not only was I able to make some great connections, but it was also a great way for me to “take notes” and maintain a digital diary of key info.
  3. Reach out in advance to your network – work your LinkedIn network to see who is going.  Reach out to those 2nd and 3rd degree connections to arrange an in person meeting.  There are many opportunities during Talent Connect to meet up – whether it is at breakfast, after the sessions end during the day, or during the evening parties.  Regardless, the opportunities are there; however, if you don’t arrange some things in advance, you may be disappointed to find out people’s schedules are full already!
  4. Reach out to your account manager – if there is anyone else you are looking to meet up with, whether they are in your network or not, don’t hesitate to reach out to your LinkedIn account manager.  I have dealt with some great folks at LinkedIn over the years, and all have been very supportive in helping me reach out to anyone attending that I wanted to meet with.  They are a great bunch that really gets the value of this conference and the value of connections.  Believe me, when they say they will make it happen – they will!
  5. Arrive on Monday – while the meat and potatoes of the conference starts on Wednesday, LinkedIn offers some awesome (product related) sessions on Tuesday.  To maximize the value of the conference, make sure you arrive on Monday so you are ready and rested to start in on things on Tuesday.  I was a late(r) arrival on Tuesday last year and I really regretted it – of course, part of that problem was me being an East Coast’er misjudging just how long it takes to get from Halifax to Las Vegas (it was my first time!).
  6. Pimp your profile – take advantage of this session that is offered to you as part of the conference fee.  It is a great opportunity to improve, polish, etc. your profile as well as to get a professional picture taken that you can use on your profile.  Word of warning – the lines can be long for this, so plan ahead and book an appointment when you get there.
  7. Bring back action items – trust me, when I tell you that you will have a lot of ideas to bring back to your company/practice after Talent Connect.  Make sure you take notes during the sessions and when you come home; be prepared to take action on things you have learned.  This is not a “pie in the sky” conference; you will learn and take away tangible, practical advice/learning’s that can be applied IMMEDIATELY!

I will be tweeting from Talent Connect next week, so if you are interested in finding out more about what occurs at the conference, you can follow this blog and/or follow me on Twitter at @hr_scottboulton for updates.

Image courtesy of LinkedIn.com

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