Going to a Recruiting Conference?

If you are like most recruiting and HR professionals, you will probably attend at least one or more recruiting/HR conferences next year. I have been fortunate enough to attend and exhibit at a number of these types of events, and my experience has given me a unique perspective on how people attending these conferences approach them. There are people who discovered last minute that they were going to be attending the event, so they were quite unprepared. On the other hand, there are the people attending who have been doing their homework and know exactly what they want to get out of the event. Below are some ideas of how to get the most out of a conference by doing a little pre-work.

  1. Plan before you buy. If you are like most HR/Recruiters, you get inundated with mailers from companies who put on HR/Recruiting conferences. If one catches your eye, look it over carefully before you decide to attend. Find out who is speaking and what topics they are going to discuss. It is also important to find out who is putting on the event. There are many companies today that put on these shows, so it is important to find out if they are a reputable organization or not. Many times you can contact the organization that is putting on the event and ask them for some references.
  2. Make a plan. Once you have decided to attend a conference, schedule your time for each day of the event. This is crucial to ensure that you are able to attend the sessions that you are most interested in. There are so many distractions at these shows that you must be disciplined in order to get the most out of the show.
  3. Take good notes. his one is obvious, but you may have questions that arise from a presentation. The unique opportunity that these shows present is that the speakers are usually available to speak with privately after their presentation. This will give you the opportunity to not only ask questions, but also get a better understanding of their perspective on other related topics that may be important to you and your company.

<*SPONSORMESSAGE*> Now that you have your plan in hand for attending the educational sessions, you can turn your focus to the exposition part of the show. The expositions at these shows bring together hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of the top service providers in the industry. Now is your chance to look at the latest products and services available on the market. Below are some tips to ensure that you get the most out of the exposition.

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  1. Conduct a needs analysis. Determine what products or services your company needs. Is it an applicant tracking system? How about background investigations? These are just a couple of examples of the types of products or services that you will see at these shows. If you know what you want going into the show, you will waste a lot less time trying to find out what each exhibitor has to offer.
  2. Review the vendors. Prior to the event, most conferences will send out a list of vendors and the services they provide. Take the time to review the list and do some initial investigation into the product or service that they provide by checking their website. This will give you valuable insights prior to attending the conference.
  3. Make a list of questions. Whatever your needs may be, go in prepared with questions. Decide what is important to you so that when you are speaking with vendors you can compare apples to apples.
  4. Don’t be shy. This is very important. Don’t be timid when it comes time to approaching a booth. If you have done your homework ahead of time, you should be prepared with questions. Each exhibitor should be able to answer your questions to help you with your decision-making process. If it is a company that you are not familiar with, ask them what they do. Who knows, they may just be that new technology you have been looking for.
  5. Network. This is also a great time to network with other HR professionals. Who knows, you may find someone who can give you a recommendation on a particular product or service that they are currently using.

When it comes to attending a conference my best advice is be prepared! If you follow some of these suggestions, you should get the most out of this event. Don’t be shy, talk to as many people as possible; you never know who you will meet!

Scott Hagen (shagen@recruiters-aid.com) is a graduate of San Diego State University, with over 8 years of high tech corporate recruiting experience with industry leaders such as Qualcomm, Cymer, and Pyxis. Scott is also a co-designer of the Recruiters-Aid PERS (Proprietary E-Recruitment System). Recruiters-Aid provides Internet candidate sourcing and screening services, and guarantees results-or the clients do not pay. Recruiters-Aid manages one of the largest free recruiting resource sites (http://www.recruiters-aid.com/kit.html) online. Recruiters-Aid services were created specifically for recruiters who don't have time to source the Internet themselves.

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