We don’t need #Recruitfest


The camera friendly Charlie Judy (Source: Smartblogs.com)


I was commenting on Charlie Judy’s excellent post, “The Recruitfest Drive By Shooting” when I got the urge to write this post. The over-riding message I took from the 9 hours of Recruitfest streaming, and I watched it all, was that Recruiters and HR need to brush up on candidate care, and give a good candidate experience.

No S**T Sherlock!

It’s great that we have a conference streamed to 3000+ people.

It’s great that we have an active twitter back channel that creates its own set of conversations.

It’s great that I can phone in and speak to a presenter 1000’s of miles away and ask a question in real-time.

It’s great that #Recruitfest happened and created a whole new type of event: ConferenceTV

It’s great that a big part of #Recruitfest talked about the real candidate experience

It’s  sad that we had to have that part of  the conversation in the first place.

It’s not rocket science. We don’t need the great and the good to give us solutions. Why don’t we all just stop talking about it and agree:

  • To acknowledge all applications received
  • To agree, communicate and stick to a timetable and method for feedback.
  • To communicate “decline” decisions as soon as they are made.
  • To give candidates constructive feedback. Not war and peace, but something they can work on in the future.

It’s not rocket science, it’s not hard and its basic human decency. We can automate 80% of it.

Lets cut the excuses. We shouldn’t need to waste the #Recruitfest opportunity (or any other conference/unconference including #tru,) talking about things we should really be doing.

We should be talking about the future and how we can make the most of it. Talking about new developments and where they can fit in.

Start thinking #BrandRecruiter and do the simple things to clean up our act!

Be ambassadors for common sense good practice! Don’t make decency the exception.


Links Mentioned In This Post And A Must Watch Video

The Recruitfest DriveBy Shooting – Charlie Judy

#Recruitfest Speakers Charlie Judy & Gerry Crispin Talking Candidate Experience

12 comments on “We don’t need #Recruitfest

  1. It all sounds so good in theory and I agree with you 100% in principal. In a perfect world it would be a great way to deal with candidates. But the reality of corporate recruiting (my point of view) it would be difficult if not impossible to implement the detail type of feedback suggested.
    Hiring decisions are not as cut and dry as we might like and communication to a candidate that is not moving forward or receiving an offer is critical and just good business. However I would never want to offer a point by point reasoning that could be disputed and would guess most HR legal groups would agree to keep the communication simple and basic.
    When I’ve coached and mentored staff on the recruiting process one of the most critical points I drive home is that all Talent / Candidates / Prospects should feel so good about our process that if they are turned down they want to refer a friend for the position.

  2. Ok, I accept that, but couldn’t a half way house be 3 points on interview technique? surely anything is better than nothing

  3. Bill – thanks for once again playing the contrarian. and thanks for using my blog as the platform…honored. if i know Charles Greco, and i think i do, i know his experience is spot on in surfacing this huge issue of practical vs. ideal. we’re really good at talking “pie in the sky” at conferences, but so much of it is impractical to most of the audience. consultants will say “so what, think bold.” i think there’s something there too. we just have to find the balance. but one thing is for sure – and i’ve rung this bell before – we need more trenchHR trenchRecruiters at these conferences and that’s why i like your unconference. here’s the problem: we don’t need reality TV either, yet people are drawn to them purely for the entertainment value. is this merely the genesis of a new form of entertainment…Conference TV?!?!? If so, God help us all…

    • Charlie,
      I don’t know Charles, although I would be glad to get to know him. Having implemented quite a few candidate care programmes for recruiters, I know this is not “pie in the sky.”
      What i’m proposing is to introduce simple steps, they can even in some cases become a new revenue stream.
      It should not be pie in the sky to acknowledge a resume. You can automate this through any ATS. Gerry Crispin talks of only 3 in 100 in his test/mystery shop. That is shocking!
      I don’t think it is pie in the sky to give interviewed candidates a feedback date and stick to it. You can automate this if you want to within the ATS. It is as simple as reject/accept and pushing a button. If I told you I was going to call you by Friday on a business matter and I didn’t even send you an e-mail, what would you think? Why should job seeking be any different to normal life?
      In terms of feedback. I use a rejection pack that contains resources for job seekers in the sector. Things like useful links, job boards, other recruiters, job search tips etc.
      You can extend this with a product like http://www.myjobsearch.com in the UK and http://www.mygetaclue.com in the US. This is free in the UK , and sends job seekers 2 assesments which suggests where they might be going wrong and if they are applying for the right type of post. All of this can be an automated response, and if you choose to, you can include personalised feedback if you wish to. Presented constructively, this can be very positive for the job seeker at the time of bad news.
      None of this is hard, expensive or time consuming. It can be kept within the guidelines of the law (the usual reason given by Charles and others as to why feedback is a risky business.)
      Why aren’t people doing it? Reality, they can’t be a***d to do it.

  4. The power of social media can turn a zero into a hero in literally a day and also do wonders for existing businesses and organisations.

  5. Bill,

    Thanks for the follow up posts on RecruitFest. I’m going to assume that you mean to say “People shouldn’t need common sense advice about candidate care, like that which was covered at RecruitFest” and not the title of this post which is, “We don’t need RecruitFest.”

    But I would really challenge you on this assertion too. The profession needs to cover very human and important problems and relationships. To move toward this requires conversation, like that which happened at RecruitFest. Even though candidate experience seems basic, you can’t make assumptions and then move on – the problem is so far from being solved, it’s not even funny. The profession needs inspirational and in depth conversation about core issues – this is what the track leaders at RecruitFest did so well.

    But also, RecruitFest covered so much more than candidate experience. If you want to talk about the future and “new developments and where they can fit in,” check out Susan’s talk on the future of talent acquisition…

    When someone writes a blog called “We don’t need RecruitFest,” I feel the need to write a grumpy comment. 😉 I think we need RecruitFest in a big way, I only wish we could have brought it to 38,000 people instead of 3,800.

  6. Miles,
    you’re right on the blog title. If I caused any offence, it wasn’t intended. I continue to make my views known on #Recruitfest and the whole experience. I haven’t been negative about the event.

    I would draw your attention to part of the post:

    It’s great that a big part of #Recruitfest talked about the real candidate experience

    It’s sad that we had to have that part of the conversation in the first place.

    It’s not rocket science. We don’t need the great and the good to give us solutions. Why don’t we all just stop talking about it and agree: etc

    It was right that you talked about it. I think it is sad that we talked about the same topic, and Gerry crispin talked about the same research and the need to do more for candidates at the last #Recruitfest. I spoke for most of the day on the subject.

    I have hosted 5 #tru events since then when candidate experience has been a busy and popular topic. I’ve spoken r attended aproximately 10 other unconferences/conferences/events where we have talked about the same thing. I wrote a post for Cruitertalk.Com about 12 months ago outlining why we should give the candidate the “Disney” experience. This was much praised, shared and commented on.

    I don’t under value that it is a reflection of reality, what i’m really frustrated about is that after all of this, we are still talking about and acknowledging the same basic problems. They are basic, and very simple to fix. My issue is not that you are talking about it, but that you even need to talk about it. I’d rather we just:

    1: Agreed it was unnaceptable

    2: Took the SIMPLE steps to fix it.

    3: Made acknowledging candidate resumes, giving next step answers to a time-table and gave some kind of feedback at the end of the process.

    If recruiters and those who are responsible for recruiting can not do any of the above, then they should come out publicly and state it. If they really believe it can’t be done, then they should be the speakers at our events educating those of us that keep talking candidate experience why it can’t be done.

    If no one steps up to take that mantle, then we should all get on and make these 3 steps part of standard recruiting process. We have to talk about these issues at events, but we should not NEED to.

    I watched all of Susans talk. I’ve watched #recruitfest twice now after downloads. We need #recruitfest, we need #ERE, we need #tru. Each has a place, but we also need to see action so that we can change the agenda!


  7. Bill – Yes, Charlie makes some very good points in his post. There needs to be some more in-depth conversations happening around those important issues – and trust me, we’ll continue to take care of this!

    It’s amusing to read a title like “We don’t need RecruitFest!”, followed by “…and I watched it all”. The whole 9 hours? Nice.

    We certainly got you and others talking about the candidate experience though – which was the whole point. RecruitFest! doesn’t start and end with a conference – we’re much more than that. But you know that already…let’s not forget that RecruitFest! was the first unconference in the industry (you were there, right?) – and we’re happy to see you (and others) take the idea to different parts of the world.

    We’ve always been about 2 things: conversation and innovation. That part will not change. And if we can stir up discussions at a grassroots level, like we pioneered with our unconference, or if we have the ability to broadcast an event to the biggest online audience this industry has ever seen, then we’ll keep doing everything in our power to keep the conversation going. Call it Reality TV, Conference TV, UnConference, Conference – that part is irrelevant. But one thing is for sure: RecruitFest! is here to stay. Stay tuned for our next format…

  8. Ashley,

    As I posted to Miles, the title is missleading. To quote the post for the full meaning:

    It’s great that we have a conference streamed to 3000+ people.

    It’s great that we have an active twitter back channel that creates its own set of conversations.

    It’s great that I can phone in and speak to a presenter 1000′s of miles away and ask a question in real-time.

    “It’s great that #Recruitfest happened and created a whole new type of event: ConferenceTV

    It’s great that a big part of #Recruitfest talked about the real candidate experience

    It’s sad that we had to have that part of the conversation in the first place.”

    This is in no way a slight on #Recruitfest, but you didn’t get us talking about candidate experience, we have been talking about it as long as i can remember. It’s a shame you got bored of the ERE streaming and turned it off after 5 minutes, you would have seen plenty more conversation there on the same subject. Every event talks about it, nothing ever changes. Why do you think that is?

    That is my real issue. Something that is so easy to fix just never gets done, and we have all done more than our fair share of talking on the subject. Always with the same conclusion, but never with anything actually happening. (As i’ve said in the post, this includes #tru.)

    I wasn’t at the first one, I attended and ran a track at the second. I loved the concept and have evolved it a bit, as have others in either their geography or field. (and we still get plenty of comments from the original unconference folk that believe in free events and no pre-arranged structure or agenda. I take it we are among the people that you refer to in your blog as “The CopyCats.”

    I actually think the semantics of what an event will be is actually quite important. The ticket buyers need to know what they are parting with their dollars for. Different people want different things.
    Those attending Conferences want presentations.
    Those attending UnConferences want much more discussion, no presentation and a reasonably loose schedule.
    Some people are not really bothered, they just want a good party after.

    Whatever an event is, they want an idea before they attend, because different learning styles suit different environments in order to get the most out of the experience. If you care about your customers, you care about your labeling and the expectation you create.

    I thought #recruitfest was a great event, and the streaming you pulled off outstounding. I meant Conference TV as a compliment. That is what it was, closer to TV than anything i’ve seen before, and I watched all 9 hours and have watched the downloads since.

    You did a great job. Dave Mannaster did a great job before that in streaming ERE and The Social Recruiting Conference. I followed both for content, though this new level of production made the watching more enjoyable. Others have commented on the “commercial breaks”. I have no problem with this because it is the “commercials” that pay for my streaming. A small price to pay.

    My issue is with the whole “Candidate Experience Conversation.” Not that you had it, but that you needed to have it. don’t you find that frustrating?

    Keep innovating. Looking forward to what you do next,


  9. […] Yesterday, I posted under the title “We don’t need #Recruitfest.” […]

  10. 1 Agreed it was unnaceptable

    2Took the SIMPLE steps to fix it.

    3Made acknowledging candidate resumes, giving next step answers to a time-table and gave some kind of feedback at the end of the process.

    Hey Charlie J… yes it is me …

    I agree with the 3 points being made, I really do.

    I do think these should be everyone’s goals as it is plain and simple the right thing to do. I agree that everyone should know their resume has been received and that if it is a fit it will be reviewed end of process.
    If the person is phone screened they need to have a yes or no communicated to them in a timely fashion.
    If they have face to face meetings they also deserve to be communicated to that the position is filled or that they are not going to be considered and thanks for their interest.
    What I thought I heard in the video was that we should give point by point feedback on why they weren’t selected, that part of the process is what I was saying could be very troubling.
    In my current position I have spoken to several people that have told me they talked to a recruiter and someone from the line and they were never given a final decision. This is wrong. I’ve been guilty and work to correct that. But when some has been left hanging there is no excuse and it makes the organization look bad.

    • Charlie,
      thanks for responding again. I put the video in as more of a reference to Gerry crispins presentation at #recruitfest and other events.
      Like you, i’m looking for the realistic. there are risks in going to the extent listed in the video. it’s the acknowledgment, feedback and time-table bit that is inexcusable in my book.
      I get annoyed that we are talking about these steps as “a good idea” at global conferences.
      Thanks again, and glad you know charlie,

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