2013 RecruitDC Spring Conference: A Retrospect by Mike Chuidian

By Mike Chuidian
I don’t have any expectations when I go to recruiting conferences. I’ve always gone in with an open mind and have always focused on learning; not only from the speakers, but from all of the bright recruiters that attend these conferences. RecruitDC 2013 did not disappoint as Artisphere in Arlington, VA hosted the event. Gathering were the DC areas best and brightest recruiters, so quality in-person networking was at its best this day.

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RecruitDC was kicked off by an awesome Tweetup the eve of the conference hosted by my good friends Celinda Appleby, Derek Zeller and yours truly. There’s nothing like an intimate setting where you can mingle with great recruiting minds and talk story with the likes of Ben Gotkin, Kathleen Smith and Susan LaMotte. We are reminded that these networking events are not only a blast, but tons of great info about our industry is shared.

A great conference always starts with great content and RecruitDC did not disappoint with a great line up of speakers and panels. To start things off, a panel of HR & Staffing leaders took the stage for the keynote: What Does the C-Suite Want to Know About Talent Acquisition? Starred by Facilitator: Sarah Halzack – Business Reporter, The Washington Post. Panel Members: Angela Mannino, SVP Human Resources, Inova Health System; Jeff Perkins, Chief People Officer, NPR; Melody Jones,Chief Administrative Officer; CEB and Bridgette Weitzel,Vice President, Organization Development & Chief Talent Officer, BAE Systems North America.

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Filled with awesome insights on what it is the C-Suite needs to do to attain and retain top talent, the panel did a stellar job in addressing current staffing and HR issues. The talent is in abundance, but the competition for that talent is fierce. But when you obtain top talent, what are companies doing to retain them? A lot about employment branding and how employees need to be empowered has been a big topic as of late.

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The breakout sessions were equally as awesome! On one end of the Artisphere we had the Career Development Panel speaking on Taking Charge of Your Recruiting Career, lead by Ben Gotkin, along with veteran recruiting aficionados Celinda Appleby of HP, Conor Nicholson of Nicholson Staffing Solutions and Ian Jones of Fluidhire. We as recruiters learn everyday of what it takes to be a great at our craft and the things we need to do to take our recruiting careers to the next level. Personal branding, being more than just a job board recruiter, leveraging social networks to find top talent were all topics addressed. The information shared was and is sure to be very useful in stepping up your recruiting career.

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On the other end of Artisphere, my man Derek Zeller dropped knowledge on the sourcing game, but with a twist….What are we doing to engage candidates once we’ve sourced them? Just some really rad insight into how we’re engaging with candidates and the most effective ways to do that. Not only is Derek a part-time comedian, but the dude knows what he’s talking about and he does his job very well. I know some of you Star Wars and Trekkie heads were loving the screenshots used in his presentation! Solid presentation to say the least!

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After the wonderful lunch, we were treated to a talk by Major Justin Constantine, who spoke on “Overcoming the bumps in the Road of Life”. Indeed! One of the most inspirational speeches I’ve heard in a great while. To enhance his experience through his journey in Afghanistan, Major Constantine shared with us his personal pictures from his time there. Each one told a story of the struggle, the fear and the hope that engulfed the Middle East. Major Constantine’s will to overcome the odds and leverage that to become an inspirational speaker tells us we need to reevaluate our lives and know our struggles will eventually lead to something beautiful. Truly a great hero for us all! Check out some of the tweets….

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Rounding out the sessions were Geoff Peterson who presented on Advanced Sourcing Tips and Tricks and Pete Radloff who dropped knowledge on Recruiting in Uncertain Times. Geoff offered some very helpful tips on how we can hone in on that purple squirrel. As I was observing Geoff’s presentation from the back and the interaction from the audience, it surprised me how many recruiters were not using some of the sourcing methods Geoff had mentioned. This is why it’s so important to come to conferences like RecruitDC! The learning piece at recruiting conferences are so valuable not only to you, but to your company as well!

From what I hear (sorry Pete, I wanted to learn more about finding purple squirrels LOL), Pete Radloff’s presentation about Recruiting in Uncertain Times was an eye opener for many. Lots of lessons were learned about our local economy and how it affects a company’s ability to hire. Making necessary adjustments in your overall recruiting strategy is an important key in countering the “uncertainty” in the recruiting landscape.

Closing out the RecruitDC 2013 Spring Conference was Jenny DeVaughn and her awesome talk on Employment Branding for Conservative Organizations. Employment Branding has obviously been a hot topic in the HR community and how important it is to have an Employment Brand and to leverage that brand to obtain top talent. Jenny gave such rad insight into employment branding and touched on a number of key elements to help an organization strategize and develop a good employment brand. This was one of my favorite presentations of the day and dang, I have a lot to learn from you, Jenny!

RecruitDC did NOT disappoint!! Great venue, great speakers, great topics, great recruiters and RAD networking opportunity. For someone who hasn’t been to RecruitDC or a Recruiting conference for that matter, it is crucial that you make it out to these events for the learning experience and the networking. I want to give a HUGE shout out and thank you to RecruitDC and it’s board members, Kathleen Smith, Ben Gotkin, Pete Radloff and Kelly Dingee for letting me be a part of this amazing event. I’m looking forward to RecruitDC Fall 2013 and YOU should too!!

This is the Rad Recruiter….Aloha and I’m out!
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Mike Chuidian ( i.e. The Rad Recruiter) is a self proclaimed Social Media junkie, sneaker addict and a Hip Hop DJ with an infinite love for recruiting, employment & personal branding. Hailing from Orange County, he is the Sr. Technical Recruiter for Systems Alliance Inc in Baltimore, MD, and an avid surf nut.