Last week, I left the frozen tundra and icy sidewalks of New York City for the 72-degree weather in Atlanta to attend SourceCon 2014. While I’m no novice to the various HR and Talent Acquisition conferences out there, this was my first time at SourceCon. I walked away very impressed with the event. It was well executed by the staff at ERE, with just the right mix of high-caliber sessions and networking opportunities primed for information sharing.
After taking the weekend to reflect on the sessions I attended and the interactions I had with the talented and knowledgeable sourcers and recruiting professionals on hand, here are my top 5 key takeaways from the show.
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- Sourcers are Sorcerers. No doubt, technology is a key component to successful sourcing. I was impressed to learn about some of the sophisticated tools and techniques tech-savvy sourcers use to find the right candidates to fill requisitions. They are plugged into the latest offerings out there that give them an edge. I couldn’t begin to keep track of the various technologies I learned about at the conference, but the sourcing community is on top of them all.
- “Talent Community” is a dirty word. I attended a talent community session that was derailed very quickly into a debate about the value and very existence of talent communities. Without going into the specifics of the session, I think there are some very interesting things to consider here. Namely, why do we call it a talent community or network when people aren’t interacting with each other? Doesn’t the word “community” imply more than a 1-way street of communication? That’s how talent communities are perceived today, but ongoing discussions like the ones hosted at SourceCon seed the ground for the next generation of solutions that appropriately engage with candidates and offer true value to its participants on both sides of the hiring equation.
- Mobile is a must. This almost goes without saying at this point, and covers the entire spectrum of recruiting, from initial sourcing all the way through to onboarding. The fact of the matter is, today’s candidates are mobile. Not only is it their platform of choice, increasingly it’s the only platform they own. Mobile technologies, including search, apply, alerts, and interviews, are critical for sourcers and talent acquisition pros alike. You need to go where candidates are, and some of the best technologies available today can help you with this. If you haven’t thought about how to enable mobile to your advantage, you are going to lose out to your competitors.
- The line between sourcing and talent acquisition is blurry. The end-goal for a sourcer is ultimately the same as that of the talent acquisition professional: To find top talent and make good hires. There was much discussion throughout the conference about how much engagement a sourcer is truly responsible for, and while the debate wasn’t resolved, it’s clear that the line between sourcer and talent acquisition pro is blurrier than it once was. (By the way, can we still talk about blurred lines without referencing Robin Thicke? No? Ok, fine.)
- Sourcers know how to party. My colleagues and I stopped by ‘SourceCon After Dark’ to check in on the Source-a-Thon. Attendees seemed to be having a great time networking and kicking back after a long day. We also enjoyed hearing The Rad Recruiter spin some mad jams from the DJ booth. I won’t comment on the lack of attendees in the morning session the next day.
Overall, SourceCon 2014 was a fun, informative experience. I enjoyed meeting so many smart and interesting recruiting professionals, and if you’re not going to the next SourceCon in Denver, all I have to say is…