As promised, I’m going to follow up my blog last week with a thorough review of #TalentNetLive and#TRULondon8, which were held on Thursday and Friday respectively last week. However, such was the depth of knowledge gleaned in only 2 days, it’ll be impossible to do so in a single blog.

Let’s start first then with the schedule, and my picks of the presentations and tracks. Both events were coordinated to run consecutively, at the campus of Westminster University – in fact, to complete the experience, I stayed at the pretty swanky (for) student halls on Baker Street, and commuted to the venue by Boris Bike (only £2 for 24hrs hire). Thursday belonged to Talent Net Live, and is closer to the established conference format, with presentations in a theatre, and break out rooms for more intimate talks. Given the 30 degree heat outside, the air-conditioned theatre was extremely popular. I was especially impressed by the following:

Andy Hyatt – Bernard Hodes

Andy is a passionate proponent of the use of mobile devices in recruitment; not only smartphones, but also the vast array of other devices, including all sizes of tablets, touch screen laptops, and even web-enabled gaming devices. Whilst it is essential to consider how the user interacts with the device (touch, stylus or pointer), it is the dimensions of the screen itself which dictate how useful the content of any website can be, or not in so many cases. We have now reached the stage where more people are accessing the internet via mobile devices than by regular computers, but the majority of companies haven’t considered that their sites are entirely inappropriate (and even unusable) in this format. Andy explained that responsive websites can automatically reconfigure existing web pages to display properly on all sizes of screens, whilst adaptive websites can detect the device being used, and deliver alternate and relevant content for each web page requested. Consider this: if 50% of the country were left-handed, would scissors manufacturers insist in only producing scissors which could only be used by right-handed people?

Stacy Zapar – Tenfold Social Media Training

The Most Connected Woman on LinkedIn Worldwide sounds like the kind of hype that gets my cynical nerve twitching. Given the advance PR, I expected to be impressed, but not to be entirely blown away! Despite being very hoarse, and struggling to speak at all, Stacy was easily the most energetic, enthused and engaging speaker I have seen for a very long time. Very approachable, and very chatty, she made everyone (including myself) feel as if they had been good friends for ages. Putting that aside, the delivery of her presentation was frenetic, relentless, and immediately usable. She was firing machine gun bullets of insight into the inner workings of LinkedIn, and how to get the absolute most out of it. She confessed that not only does she have some 39,000 1st level connections, but has another 100,000 in her contacts list. Stacy is not, as you might think, an indiscriminate open-networker, and does not connect with everyone. In fact LinkedIn make it very difficult to amass more than their 30,000 limit, and thereafter you need to rely upon sending invitations, rather than accepting invitations from others. Frankly, by comparison, everyone else in the room (including me) appeared to be in slow motion. More than anything, Stacy Zapar made it clear that as a recruiter she is extremely generous with her time any efforts on behalf of others. She contradicts the terror of many recruiters, who daren’t offer help to unsuccessful candidates, for fear that it might be taken up by “loser” candidates. I agree entirely.

Steve Ward – CloudNine Social Media and Digital Talent

Steve is a recognised expert, not only in the digital world, but recruiting for it too! Entitled “How Social Can an Agency Be?” his presentation was much more inclusive and conversational with the audience. I agree with his central premise, that for recruitment firms to become social and properly engage with candidates, they must allow some brand equity to transfer to their recruiters. Now that recruiters are so visible via social media, the days of faceless (and often replaceable) recruiters have gone. To this extent, that fact should reduce the constant merry go round of recruiters moving from one agency to another.

All this, and it was only the first day, which would go on to include Banksy-spotting, much socialising, Bill Boorman’s favourite ska club in Soho, and a Boris Bike home at 3AM. Day 2 to follow in my next blog.

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Firefish-Logo300x150I am currently working alongside the very excellent FireFish Recruitment Software, in Glasgow, evangelising on their behalf, and helping bring their products to a much wider audience.  

Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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