What is The Recruitment Unconference?

What is recruitment conference? We all know the answer to that. It is a large meeting where a number of people (one by one) speak to the group. There are short breaks in between speakers, for the people get a coffee and network.

 

Who comes to the conference?

Speakers – are people presenting. Sales people presenting how their solutions, products or services changed the industry for the better.

Delegates – people who sit, listen, take notes and have coffee in the breaks. Delegates are quite often people who are looking for a new job. They look around what else is there. Some attendees are there because they are sent there by their employers. They have to attend one or two of those a year. You can see them leaving quickly after the last presentation, to catch some time off for an afternoon shopping or something alike.

 

What is a Recruitment Unconference?

 

Recruitment Unconference is a gathering of recruiters with the social media rules applied. There are no speakers. There are no delegates. Just recruiters who can behave as they do in the social media: lead conversations, contribute, listen, move to another room / topic, network or just have a coffee. Yes there is a coffee here as well!

 

It is list Facebook or Twitter really. Everyone can talk about anything they want to really. Everyone can listen (follow / connect) whoever they choose. Anyone can comment, contribute and even ‘take over’ the conversation. Anyone can change the topic. Anyone can. And everyone is invited to do exactly that! Everyone is asked to contribute. Everyone’s opinion is asked for in a discussion on every topic he is physically present at.

 

Now that we know what the Recruitment Unconference is, let’s check on how the most popular one actually functions in the recruitment industry. This brings us to its founder @BillBoorman and his unconference events taking place around the globe. They are called TRU for The Recruitment Unconference. After the three characters there is a name of the city or country the event is in. So you have TRULondon, TRUDublin and similar. If an event is held multipletimes in the same city the name also gets a number Like TruDublin4. This is to forma a hashtag for Twiter. Why is Twitter important? Well the usual ways of communication like email and phone are one to one or one to many (mailing lists). The Unconference is different because everyone is welcomed to contribute. So social media is a place to look for any info (or post any info!) about the recruitment unconference.

 

Since the recruiters who attend the unconference are (in most cases) the natural users of the social media, they post their thoughts especially on the Twitter, as it is the fastest channel, in real time during the unconference. They all use the hashtag so it is really simple to follow what anyone is tweeting about. That usually is a reflection on what is spoken about. You can usually follow multiple discusions from the same conference in the same time. What is the best about it is that anyone on Twitter can contribute to those discussions by using the same unconference hashtag. This makes the discussions leave the room and go out to social media. There the discussions get the life of their own.

 

The format that Bill has made for this TRU events is the following. There is a quick opening. The bigger the conference the quicker it is, since the larger the crowd is the harder it is to keep them quiet. Remember those are not your Delegates. This people are here to participate.

 

Tracks

 

Bill usually announces the tracks (topics) that will be discussed in different rooms. He also announces who is the track leader for each topic. That is usually an expert in that field. Or a recruiter who wants to share the recent experience with some new tool used for the recruitment, and ask for feedback. Depending on the size of the unconference there are  usually 3 tracks running in parallel. They are held in separate rooms. Anyone can choose any track and even move to another track whenever they choose. Bill himself would for example move quite often from a track to track, hopping from a conversation to another and contributing to each one he hops in. Sometimes he would also bring the relevant points being made in another track that is happening in parallel.

 

As social media is not for everyone, the recruitment unconference is not for everyone as well. Some people prefer to be delegates rather than to participate. Social is not for everyone. The anti-social or traditional confermence is not for everyone as well. People discovered they can apply the social media rules to the conference and that some types of conferences the social conference or the unconference is a much better format. Hence the recruitment unconference TRU that @BillBoorman started 5 years ago in London has spread to a long list of counties on different continents. Recruiters themselves found the unconference format to work better than the speaker-delegate format. Not all of the recruiters that is. But the recruiters that understood the social media and found the way how to use it for recruitment.

 

The #TRU in the City near YOU!

 

The recruitment unconfeence, the #TRU will come to the city near you, if it didn’t already. You will not find a flyer in your post with a list of fabulous speakers. There is not even a list of delegates. To be honest not even flashing your own business card is a welcome gesture. Connection on LinkedIN and Facebook or Follow on Twitter is on the other hand. If you are a delegate type, trust me, it’s not for you. Where you will find about #TRU is in the social media channels, and there only. On Bill’s Blog as well. And from there to hashtags on twitter. While I am writing this the #TruHelsinki is on right now. Guess what it is all on social media in real time as well. You can follow it here: https://twitter.com/#!/search/?q=%23TruHelsinki&src=hash.

 

If you like what you see there we will see you soon on #TRU. If not, that’s OK too.

National Recruitment Federation 2009

National Recruitment Federation 2009The National Recruitment Federation Conference today was far better than I expected. To be honest I was a bit afraid to go there knowing what the Recruitment Industry is going through in the last months. There are a number of people I have heard assessments quoting more than 60% of the recruitment consultants been made redundant in the last 6 months. The figure of about 5000 to 6000 thousand recruiters being laid off was also mentioned today during the NRF 2009 conference.

The choice of the venue was excellent, the service was really good thanks to the number of sponsors of the event. There was even a draw for a big, big shredder!

The conference itself started with a bit of politics, changes in the legislations, status in Europe and similar topics relevant to the Directors and the Business Owners in the recruitment industry. After the (quite good) coffee, it was all concentrated about positive aspects and actually quite uplifting! One presenter after another, and I actually felt better and better. I am really glad I was a part of it, since I did hear interesting ideas and thoughts today.

Here is what I scribbled on my NRF Annual Conference 2009 Block (I am a freak for freebies!). It is just a random collection of quotes from various speakers:

Recession Trend: Get rid of the middle man! – Recruitment Agency is a middle man!?

National Recruitment Federation will:
Reduce cost
Publish a new web site
Do more PR and Marketing
NRF Certificate will be introduced for each recruitment consultant. Pilot will start in June, and the real recruitment certification program in September 2009.

Recruitment Agency Marketing consists of:
B to B – Pass the Gatekeeper
B to C – Brand yourself as a place for a job hunter to go when looking for a new job

Premier Group – Positive News Monitor (helps staff noticing and concentration on the positive news)

CPL – ‘…We will come out as a different industry…’ – A comment that really made me thinking, especially with the ‘Evolve’ message from The Chairperson: Rowan Manahan

There was also an interesting choice of presenters, since right in the middle of the conference we had a very good Stress Management presentation. I was wondering for some time – what is this doing in a National Recruitment Federation conference? Then again I felt it actually relaxed me, and felt it helped the people sitting around me as well. So good choice of the presentations – well done the organisers! Irish recruiters are stressed these days. Half of the people in the industry has been made redundant in the last half a year? Actually I cannot think of a better therapy than stress and anger management.
keithbohanna LinkedIN
The LinkedIN was mentioned as well. There is still about 40ish jobs in Ireland on LinkedIN (only). 2 of those have been from the people in the NRF 2009 audience. I am guessing Prosperity?

There is no Irish Recruiter utilising YouTube.

The Targeted advertising that Facebook enables was mentioned. Want quality candidates? Well you can filter by sex, age (is that even legal?!), country and guess what? The Employer!

Recruitment is in a forced evolution and it ain’t pretty!

Recruiters should ask themselves and even more their clients: What other services could we do for you?

The last presentation culminated the uplifting session really. We even heard about the clear and undisputable signs of the start of the recovery of the recruitment industry. I do not know if it was a too much coffee but it really made me feel great!

On the way out I got a copy of the Irish Times papers, with the sad face of the Prime Minister. The rain was sipping outside. The water feature looked sad in the rain, and empty golf course looked like it is Autumn. Sky was so gray. Stepping out of the hotel from the National Recruitment Conference 2009 was actually a bit shocking. Kind of like falling back into the reality.

National Recruitment Federation 2009 - Sponsors

Anyway, I did bring my camera, and yes I made a few pictures. Thanks again to both the organisers and the sponsors!
(Vicky sais that I am like a stalker! :))

I hope to have a longer chat published here with Frank Collins, NRF President. We spoke today quickly about the changes the NRF is going through in the last five years, and about the plans for the future web site, the recruitment certification announced, and the role NRF is playing now and will be playing in the future.