Thoughts on ER Expo

We are maturing as a profession. That was what I was impressed with last week at the first Eastern ER Expo in Atlanta. It was clear to me that we are more focused on quality, speed, and good process. The themes that emerged and that energized people were those centered around how our profession is changing. Most of the recruiters who attended ER Expo last week were real professionals and have survived and even thrived during these slow times. They have made it by being attuned to the new skills required of recruiters. While this was the message I gave in my presentation, it also echoed over the two days by others.

The themes I heard repeatedly were of process and quality. Lou Adler reminded us that we have only a 0.5 sigma process today compared to the 6-sigma achievements of our fellow professionals in manufacturing and other areas. His presentation clearly highlighted the need for standards and accountability in our profession. We are moving slowly away from the days when volume made up for quality. Hiring managers expect to see quality candidates ó every time. Lou also released a new edition of his popular book, Hire With Your Head, and gave away free copies to all attendees. Thanks, Lou!

Gerry Crispin (right), nattily attired and sporting his panama hat, did his usual stellar job of shepherding us through the two days as conference emcee. He and his business partner and co-author Mark Mehler continue to impress us with their ability to corral and make sense of thousands of electronic job boards and recruiting resources, published in their annual CareerXRoads book. Gerry is a mainstay of the profession and give generously of his time to the EMA (Employment Management Association) as well as to events such as ER Expo. Their website has all the info about them you need, at

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John Sullivan entertained us as always. But he also gave us lists of practical things we can do to be more professional, produce higher quality candidates, and get more respect. John’s new area of interest is in workforce planning, and he gave a pre-conference workshop on how to set up a workforce planning process. John seems to always be able to find the “next” thing to focus on. This year what is emerging as central is the ability to plan and forecast human capital requirements with greater accuracy and speed than we have ever done before. John’s website ( is full of useful information on that topic.

Tom Janz (left), one of the founders of behavioral interviewing and now chief scientist at Unicru in Oregon, along with Charles Handler (right), another psychologist and expert in assessment, participated in a lively discussion I led covering assessment, selection, and testing, as well as many other emerging issues in recruiting. I urge all of you to log onto the ER Expo website ( and take a look at these presentations as well as the others that were given. Even better: sign up for the next ER Expo coming this spring to San Diego.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at


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