Well for those of you who follow my schedule on Plaxo, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, (am I missing any? I feel like I need to try and get all my little kids in the van there are so many. . .) you may have noticed that at the last minute I was invited to ERE in San Diego. Since ERE is supposed to be one of those great recruiting conferences where you meet people like Shally Steckerl and Lou Adler and John Sullivan, I (literally) jumped at the chance. So with 24 hours notice, I jumped on a plane and jetted off to sunny California (my home state).
There is a classic story arc in many films (mostly with Emilio Estevez in them) where the silent (shut up I’ve been silent), nerdy newcomer gets invited to the ball/prom/cute guy’s apartment. It happened in Cinderella, it happened in Sixteen Candles and it happened in Carrie (wait, that’s a little off). Anyway, since I frequently wore a mask due to my asthma and an eyepatch due to my lazy eye, I found myself channeling Ally Sheedy a bit when I walked into the cocktail party that kicked off the ERE conference.
If we’re going with the high school theme, I should introduce the cool kids. Jason Davis, head of RecruitingBlogs.com (a great community for anyone involved in human capital) is the guitar playing, sweetly humble guy that knows EVERYBODY. Dave Mendoza is the class clown (but a very handsome one with enviable dimples). I can’t decide if he’s the class president or not. I have to say that were it not for these two gentleman, I would not have been able to go to ERE in the first place. So thanks guys!!
As the kickoff dinner (read the full ERE blog regarding winners and other fun stuff) segued into the evening, other types became clear, Neal Bruce, the self-effacing-but-I-secretly-know-I-live-a-charmed-life-type. The overly effusive newbie who cheers rather obnoxiously when someone points out the Cheezhead. (oh wait, that would be me).
But the real networking happens after hours, at least it did for me. You might wonder (as my husband did when I pitched going to the conference in the first place) “Why would you want to get a bunch of recruiters together? How can they help each other?”
The truth is, conferences like ERE (eerily similar to high school plus brightly colored swag) further promote recruiting as a profession and not just a side-on tag to technology or HR or even consulting. Hearing what recruiters across the country (and those that market to them) are seeing across the industry serves as a pretty cool social experiment. And when you compare what’s happening in say finance recruiting or software talent and you realize that while there are some differences, you’re all solving similar problems and uniquely able to share solutions. Now when you throw a few heartily made mojitos into the mix, it helps.
I also met some brainiacs, guys too smart for me to understand but definitely cool enough to hang out with. They’re the people coming up with amazing tools to make our jobs easier. Ben, Donato, Shally and Charlie, I’m looking at you! Call them the chess club of recruiting. Watching their minds work as they perceive holes in the marketplace and go about creating supercool ways to solve them is a highly interesting thing to watch.
Everybody wants to be in marketing right? The party-hardyingest of all the recruiters/vendors (a tough title to win, Starr Tincup managed with their serious commitment to bowling even whilst on the road. . . ) would have to be the dudes that came up with marketing just for the human capital management space. Can I say if wasn’t such a super awesome marketer myself, I would use them. Joke. I can’t afford them. Yet.
I also want to mention Michael Homula of Bearing Fruit Consulting. He is the smart jock. The one who’s broad smile and enthusiastic exterior hide that the fact that he’s pretty brilliant. No I am not just saying that because he has the best wine stash of any recruiter I’ve ever met. (Nebraska shout-out: He loves 311 so much, he has a tattoo of them on his back.)
And of course on my last day (after oversleeping from the incredibly long poker game the night before) I MISSED the prom queen. The vivacious and funny Penelope Trunk, who’s presence was the reason I was so excited to be there in the first place (don’t get mad John and Lou). Actually, I did introduce myself, and after stumbling through a garbled and surely cantaloupe scented intro, proceeded to drop my blackberry and cards while gushing that Pen was the first person I ever RSSed. You never forget your first.
Especially in high school.
Plus, checkit, I made Dave Mendoza’s Top Ten. Sure, it’s just for the week but it’s my moment!