What’s The ROI When Going To A Recruiting Unconference?

by Etienne Besson on 23 June 2011

in Unconference

Or: How to convince your manager to send you to #TruLondon and pay for it!

When you go to a Recruiting Unconference / #TRU Event, then the immediate ROI will probably be zero. But if you do it right, then the long-term benefits can be huge.

But still, why should your company send you to #TruLondon?

Advantages Of A #TRU Event

The main advantages are certainly:

  1. The Learning: you will not only get new information, but also develop plenty of new ideas
  2. The People: Lots of people who are passionate about social recruitment and are more than happy to share their knowledge and experiences
  3. The Community: after the conference you will stay in touch with some of the people you met, communicate with them on Twitter, read their blog posts and “meet” them again in LinkedIn discussion groups.

And even if you don’t stay in touch on a regular basis, such an event creates a special bond. Trust me on this.

But First, Does It Have To Be An “Unconference”?

Your manager might prefer to send you to a classic conference. After all, an “unconference” sounds a bit geeky. And how good can it really be if it only costs GBP 140? Plus, it’s not organized by a big event company and is mainly promoted via Twitter.

Advantages Of An Unconference

Instead of sitting in a big room and watching somebody’s Power Point presentation, there are up to 3 hourly tracks. So first of all, you can choose the topics that really interest you. If you realize that a track isn’t what you thought it would be, or if you heard enough, then just join another one. And since it’s an interactive conversation, you can jump right in even if you missed the first part.

Before my first #TRU I thought: It’s “just” discussions, so how deep and valuable can it really be? You would (or hopefully “will”) be surprised. The tracks are lead by experts in their field and many of the participants are just as knowledgeable.

Up Close And Personal

But the biggest value is probably that you can benefit from a vast pool of knowledge and experiences. You can ask questions, but also share your opinions and see what comes back. Instead of asking a few questions at the end of a presentation, you can get exactly the information you need all the time. All you need to do is participate.

People Who Know What They’re Talking About

Another fascinating thing is that the person leading a track right now will be joining you as a participant in the next track.

There’s of course Bill Boorman, the mastermind behind the #TRU events, who recently helped Hard Rock Cafe recruit 120 employees in 4 weeks via Facebook and who held the first in-house #TRU at Oracle in Dublin.

Or you might meet Arie Ball, who manages a team of around 90 recruiters who use all kinds of social media channels to recruit several thousand employees per year for Sodexo US. And she’s such an incredibly nice lady!

And I could go on and on. At previous unconferences, I met people who run job boards, develop mobile applications, train recruiters and sales professionals on using LinkedIn, somebody who actually works at LinkedIn, consultants who advise SME’s on using social media, people who own recruiting agencies, marketing and communications professionals, sourcers who use search engines to identify candidates nobody else can find, journalists and publishers, software vendors, of course a lot of recruiters and even a few HR colleagues.

It’s Still Up To You

You won’t get a certificate for attending. But the more you participate, the more you will benefit.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • No matter how much you think you (don’t) know, open your mouth and join the discussion. You won’t regret it.
  • Ask plenty of questions, both during the tracks and in between.
  • Don’t leave when the official part is over. Stay for a few beers or sodas and continue the discussions. Some of the informal conversations were just as valuable, if not more, than the tracks.
  • After the event you will have lots of new ideas. Try to implement at least some of them and don’t hesitate to ask the people you met for advice.

Here’s a list of upcoming #TRU Events. I’ll be at #TruLondon in September (you can buy tickets at Eventbrite).

[update: you can find out about upcoming events with @BillBoorman here]
[update: information about #TruGeneva on 4 May 2012]

By The Way, What Is A #TRU?

If you’ve wondered what #TRU means, it stands for The Recruiting Unconference. The “#” is used on Twitter to indicate a discussion topic and to make the different contributions (tweets) easier to follow. Even without a Twitter account, you can go to http://twitter.com/search/%23truleeds (#TruLeeds is happening right now) or http://twitter.com/search/%23trulondon to see what people are saying.

[Update: and here’s the Twitter stream for #TruGeneva (http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23trugeneva) which will become really active shortly before and during the event on 4 May 2012]

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