Recruiting Community

Friday, July 25, I attended one of John Sumser’s Recruiting Roadshow events in Minneapolis. It was a tremendous event. 250 Staffing and Recruiting Professionals spent the morning networking and contributing to an ongoing discussion about the way the landscape in recruiting has rapidly and drastically changed driven by change in the workforce itself, U.S. Demographics, and rapidly evolving technical innovation. Sumser is on to something here. It sounds so simple and obvious (its one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” ideas) to those of us that have ever run a desk – or have spent their careers in the staffing market. The Roadshow events are based on the following four premises (important note this is my perspective – not sanctioned by John):

  1. A majority of recruiters in the market have never attended industry events and have no access to ongoing education.
  2. Recruiting is different state to state, region to region, based on workforce demographics.
  3. Recruiters are hungry for knowledge.
  4. If you give a recruiter something they give back.

Considering the above, Sumser provides Recruiters with a free forum to get together and network, gain access to some high level analysis, thoughts, and information that is usually only offered after investing $$$ and travel time to and from a national event, taking 1 to 3 days worth of time away from your desk, and filtering out the noise from vendor sales pitches. It works.

Point by point – Sumser proved his concept. It turns out that this was the one year anniversary of the first-ever roadshow, held there last year, and it was a great test of his model. I tested Point 1 above asking the audience during my presentation who had participated in a third party certification process resulting in some sort of certification (e.g. CPC, SPHR)… of the 250 attendees we counted 8 in the room that raised their hands. Throughout the day I could find no – that’s ZERO – local attendees that had ever attended a tradeshow or “industry event” like ASA Staffing World, ERE, etc.

Point 2 above was clearly delivered in Sumser’s presentation on the market and the questions/dialogue that followed. If you haven’t seen this presentation there is a copy of it, here although John’s delivery is required in my opinion. Steven Rothberg from talked to the audience about social networking as a part of a broader sourcing effort. Don Ramer from Arbita delivered an incredible presentation that looked each of us squarely in the eye and asked us how we impacted people in this people-focused field? And could we do better? Thought provoking and challenging – rarely do you get to meet someone with that much passion for what they do.

Point 3 was quickly resolved if you were in the room during the networking exercise. I’ve been to TONS of shows and suffered through many a networking exercise shifting seats to the right, or tables to the left… but, I witnessed networking at this show, the likes I’ve never seen. The energy and enthusiasm this crowd brought to the exchange of business cards to further their personal network was something you would have to see to believe – and I’m told this is how it normally goes at the Roadshow.

Point 4 was actually proven the night before the show when I met Paul Debettegnies, who created and manages the Minnesota Recruiters Network. Since the last MN Roadshow, this network has grown to more than 1,000 members strong. Given the opportunity to leverage the Roadshow and provide his members with valuable content and exposure, Paul became a driving force behind this event…. He does so, and invests an incredible amount of time doing it, because it’s good for everyone. He is like a rising tide out there in Minneapolis, lifting all boats. Along with the above, Jason Davis of, and Dave Mendoza of Six Degrees from Dave traveled to witness the show. We discussed how the Roadshow was unique to the market and how Bullhorn, Six Degrees, and Recruitingblogs could work together to keep the spirit of the community going. I’m excited for what might come of that.

All in all, a fantastic day. Time well invested. I highly recommend you attend a Recruiting Roadshow when it comes to your town. You are guaranteed to either learn something that will help your day to day, meet someone that will be a valuable addition to your network, or more likely – both!

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