Monday, September 14, 2009

ERE EXPO--A Recruiters Dream!

Just sitting here on the airplane (using GoGo wireless) and reflecting on all that is being accomplished in the recruitment industry and in recruiting at adidas. I’m going to forewarn you that this post is going to seem a bit random but that’s where my head is at right now. Spinning with reflections and ideas!

I’m returning from a recruiting industry event called ERE Expo ( I know there are tons of industry associations out there but anybody who is in the area of recruiting can most likely attest to the caliber of individuals you meet at ERE. This one was a favorite. Beyond my favorite industry guru hall of famers like John Sullivan, Gerry Crispin, Kevin Wheeler and John Sumsner we also had our super innovators like Jason Davis ( , Joel Cheesman ( just sold to , Neal Bruce (, Shally Steckerl ( & one of my favorite industry rookies of the year and industry MVP Josh Westover (

In addition to being able to network with some of my industry favorites I got to co-present, sit on panels with and meet many talented industry professionals. A few that really stood out to me were…Marvin Smith (Talent Community Evangelist at Microsoft), Mike Grennier (Sr. Director Corporate Recruiting at Walmart), Brian Schaffer (Recruiter at DaVita), Sejal Patel (Project Manager Staffing Marketing and Channels at Intel), Chris Hoyt (AT&T) and Angela Guidroz (Sodexo). In addition I got to see many industry friends including Grant Hubbard with Qualigence, Sarah White with HRM Direct, Master Burnett with and too many more to mention here. And last but not least I have to call out my partner in crime Steve Bonomo—Global Head of Recruiting at adidas He is a great friend and leader. I’m truly honored to work under his leadership at adidas. I also need to mention my direct supervisor in Portland, Jochen Eckhold, for his support and leadership in allowing me to come to these events, learn and grow.

There are a few themes and trends I would also like to call out that I see in the industry. Everybody seems to like to recap themes at these types of events. I actually enjoy reading these because everybody seems to bring their own twist…so here is mine:

Advertising—Traditional advertising in our industry is officially dead (dead of course is relative because dead things in industries don’t always die right away but can take many, many years simmering along with small beacons of success in niche areas—you don’t need to quote me examples of where it’s used). But the reality is that we will start seeing more and more shifts in advertising spend to pay-per-click and web advertising using contextual targeting, rich media, social networking, guerilla, word of mouth, PR. It’s been happening for a while but new players in this space will dramatically speed this up.

Media Fragmentation—With traditional advertisers threatened many new up and comers are emerging. Some are great and others offer false hope. Some show great ROI and others appear to be money traps. It’s becoming imperative to get educated on who the players are and what’s effective. Those that don’t will waste valuable organizational resources. There is a ton of hype in this space so practitioners will need to be more discerning than ever on which channels they choose.

Employment Branding—Is finally getting the respect it deserves in the industry. While companies may not totally be there yet they are getting the importance of it and are starting to look beyond the basics. I’m seeing more and more recruiting departments hire Marketing people from the business side. This is very intriguing and promising for the industry.
Integration—Everybody seems sick of the lack of integration in our industry, both from a technology perspective and a cross departmental perspective. Companies are starting to work hard and put more emphasis on this. There was a great article by John Sullivan today on on this topic.

Social Recruiting—You can’t find a conference these days that doesn’t focus at least 25% of it’s sessions on this topic. This is hot, hot, hot and more companies than not seem to be experimenting with how to best harness it’s power and show ROI. There are many promising stories in the industry right now. There are still a lot of hurtles in this space but progress is being made. In my opinion there is no turning back in terms of the importance of this in our space.

Candidate Experience—Still suffers in our industry. Candidates continue to feel that they don’t get the respect they deserve from organizations. This one is sad in that it’s been an age old problem we have not cracked yet as an industry. Those that due though can show true competitive advantage.

Employee Engagement—is a hot topic for organizations right now. With organizations becoming leaner and meaner it’s even more important to engage the current workforce. Internal careers plays a major role in this so more and more recruitment leaders will need to turn their focus internally over the coming months and years.

Conferences—less people are going but most of those that are going are creative, innovative and hungry to learn. This makes the experience of going much more exciting. This last ERE proved to be one of these cases. It was a fantastic conference all around. That said I still see many disengaged people at many of the conferences I go to. I also see a lot of disbelievers in industry advances and innovations. My prediction for these people—find another industry to get into because you will most likely not survive with that approach.

Industry News and Networking—I’m blown away by how learning, networking, conference going is combining so many forms of community, technology, communication, etc. At this ERE, the events and sessions were set up and advertised using social media, changes communicated real time. Events were streamed live. People were Tweeting what they liked real time. Highly organized events were intertwined with guerrilla events and parties are turning into charities and vice versa. And all of this is weaved together in this way that just seems to make sense—maybe it’s the freeing nature of the internet and technology. There are not a lot of rules and so it becomes thoughtful and human. This is one trend I love!

Hiring—Is picking back up. Almost everybody I talked to tells me they are seeing an upswing. This is one of the many things I love about the recruitment industry. It’s my personal barometer for how the market is doing. This is the greatest news of all! When the market is hot recruiting is HOTTER!

Final Thoughts—I want to thank Dave Manaster and his team for putting on such a fantastic event and for the opportunity to keynote at this event. I also want to say that if you are out there reading this and you haven’t ever attended an event like this in your industry or raised your hand to present at a conference consider it. There is no better way to give back to your craft and to learn from others.

At this event Steve Bonomo and I got to tell our Employer Brand story and share what we have learned in recruiting. The questions we get from the audience inspire us greatly. The fact that people care and are willing to take a stand to make our industry even stronger is profound. And the opportunity to inspire others is a chance of a lifetime. The one comment I won’t forget is when someone walked up to me afterwards and said that he wasn’t an adidas guy but is going to buy his first pair. He said that during the videos it made the hair on his arms stand on end. If we can touch one person like this, create one better candidate experience or inspire a recruiter to want to learn and grow it’s all worth it to us.


mgPHOTO said...

Steve - it was great to meet the "Steves" from Adidas (said in the European way). Keep up the great stuff you're doing for your company and our industry.

You rock, my man...

Great summary too. I second.....

jjbuss said...


Great post and thorough re-cap. It was great meeting you @ the conference. I look forward to future events!


Laurie said...

Great summary!

Anonymous said...

Great wrap up and thanks for the mention!

PRITCH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PRITCH said...

Steve you guys are amazing. You are doing what most people dream about. Your thought leadership uber-cool style and entire presentation is one I can only aspire to achieve. (sidebar - I have BIG dreams like my stomach :-), which by the way I spend large amounts of cash to get, I consider it a large investment with no return. OH well...Next joke please.) You are insightful on almost accounts...can;t agree with everything :-)

Michael said...

Great post, Steve. could agree more with your comment on education and learning

Jenny DeVaughn said...

Loved your comments and the insights you shared while at the ERE Fall Expo, especially during the last session.
As I mentioned, I would gladly help you discover, build and maintain a community regarding my passion for Nascar and Dale Jr.
Impossible is nothing,
Jenny DeVaughn

Jennifer McClure said...

I really enjoyed your presentation at ERE! Both you and Steve did a great job of representing your culture and employment brand well - as well as sharing some of your successes. It was great to hear you talk about asking forgiveness rather than permission in order to be bold and make things happen. I'll be continuing to keep an eye on adidas and "the Steves" to see what's new and innovative in the recruiting space in the future!

David Manaster said...

Thanks Steve! I enjoyed your session, and breaking bread on Friday. I'm also glad that I sat on the side of the table not discussing strategic use of ATS!

RecruiterGuy said...

Good stuff, Steve. It was great to get some time with you and I certainly appreciate the mention.

Looking forward to staying connected and hearing from you soon.


aka: RecruiterGuy

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